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What is Hospice? It's a Service, Not a Place

Loved ones are not "sent away to hospice," Maite Hernandez RN explains.

Hospice Services Go to the Patient

“Hospice is a service that goes to the patient and family no matter where they live,” says Maite Hernandez RN, VITAS representative.

Whether a patient lives in a family residence, an assisted living facility or another type of home, hospice services come to the patient.

At VITAS, we say we “bring hospice home.” Our goal is to maximize comfort and quality of life for our patients so they can spend time with their loved ones.

We Take Home Care Seriously

“They’re inviting us in, so we take that care very, very seriously,” says Hernandez.

Our hospice care professionals generally arrive one at a time, and always on the family’s schedule. This team of professionals can include a chaplain and social worker along with a hospice aide, nurse and doctor.

“Hospice comes to the patient’s home and makes sure they’re surrounded by their family, in their bed, with their pictures, with their pets,” says Hernandez. “We can come into that setting and care for them there; it’s a beautiful thing.”

Hospice is Not a Place

In meeting with members of the community, Hernandez often educates patients and families about hospice services.

“One misconception we find is they feel like hospice is a place that you go live in, where their loved one is going and they’re never going to see them again,” she says. “It’s a myth that I believe really holds patients and families back from making the decision on choosing hospice.”

Inpatient Units

While the vast majority of our care is provided at home, in some situations (often when symptoms become too difficult to manage in at home) it may be necessary to transfer a patient to an inpatient unit. The goal then is to manage the symptoms so the patient can return home as soon as possible.

Many of our patients never require admission to an inpatient unit and remain comfortably at home for as long as they receive hospice services.

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