Transitioning Care From the Hospital to Home
A Team of Hospice Specialists
The transition from curative care to hospice care is an emotional time, especially as families face the reality of a loved one’s condition or life-limiting diagnosis. Once a patient has been admitted to VITAS, the family shifts into “a new normal” way of life marked by caring for their loved one at home, a task for which they’ve often had little or no preparation.
But we make 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 in the convenience of their own home, wherever home may be.
Team members include a physician, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain and volunteer. They are always available. From the beginning of the transition from hospital or nursing home to hospice care at home, team members carefully explain to family members and caregivers what is happening, what to expect and how to care for their loved one. During the weeks to come, hospice 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 Transition to Hospice
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, several medications may need to be administered at different times of the day and night. Hospice team members organize medications, make sure refills are ordered and received, and ensure proper disposal of medications that are no longer needed.
Transitions to hospice care at home can be stressful, whether “home” for a seriously ill patient is a private residence, nursing home or assisted living community home. With a hospice team supporting the transition, they’ll never have to go it alone.