Transitioning from Hospital to Hospice Care
A Team of Hospice Specialists
The transition from curative care to hospice care is an emotional time as a family faces the reality of a loved one’s condition. Once the admission orders are in place, the family takes their loved one home and shifts into “a new normal” way of life, one for which they’ve had little or no preparation. But hospice makes the transition easier for both the patient and the family by providing a team of hospice specialists to guide and support them every step of the way.
The job of the hospice team is to make sure the patient and their family are getting the services, supplies and information they need to be comfortable, calm and confident.
Team members include a physician, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain and volunteer. They are always available and, from the beginning of the transition, they carefully explain what is happening, what to expect and what to do. During the weeks to come, team members visit on a regular basis, providing continuous pain and symptom management, personal care, patient care instruction and reassurance to the family.
Helping Patients Settle In
Transitioning to hospice care may also include the use of special medical equipment. Whatever the patient needs—a wheelchair, hospital bed, oxygen—the hospice staff ensures it is delivered to the patient’s home and the family is fully instructed on its use.
Depending on the patient’s condition, there may be several medications that need to be taken at different times during the day. Part of helping the patient and family settle in is helping them to organize medications, make sure refills are ordered and received, and that medications no longer needed are properly disposed of.
Whether a seriously ill patient calls a private residence, a nursing home or assisted living community home, transitions can be stressful; but making the transition to hospice means they’ll never have to go it alone.