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What is Hospice? It Puts the Patient and Family in Control

Susan Acocella, a general manager with VITAS, answers the question, "what's the one thing about hospice you want everyone to understand?"

You Make the Decisions

“What we say at VITAS is that the patient and family are always at the center of our care,” says Susan Acocella, a general manager at VITAS.

This means the patient and family make the decisions. They are in the driver’s seat, and VITAS is there to help them through the process.

Our Team Helps

The VITAS hospice team consists of several professionals, all working for the patient and the family:

  • Nurses to assess and manage pain, providing hands-on care
  • Social workers to offer emotional and community support, helping with financial issues and planning
  • Physicians to collaborate with the patient’s primary physician, consult on pain and symptom management and make house calls
  • Hospice aides to help with personal care such as bathing and mouth care, and light housekeeping
  • Chaplains to offer spiritual support
  • Volunteers to help in a variety of ways
  • Bereavement specialists to provide grief and loss counseling

Our team members generally visit one at a time, and always on the schedule chosen by the patient and/or family. They are there to help.

“We focus on the whole patient, the whole concept, from spirituality to understanding what’s going on—and listening,” says Acocella.

Because the patient and family are in control.

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