Hospice Care: What it Means and the Benefits it Provides


Hospice care. Those two little words can make you feel like your parent is slipping further and further away from you. All you want is more time with them, and you’ll take as much time as you can get. Contrary to popular belief, hospice care can actually help with this.

If your parent’s doctor is recommending hospice care, that doesn’t necessarily mean your parent will be gone within a few days. It simply means your loved one needs more advanced care to improve their quality of life.

What Does it Mean When Someone is in Hospice Care?

According to the Hospice Foundation of America, hospice care is defined as “medical care to help someone with a terminal illness live as well as possible for as long as possible, increasing their quality of life.”

While hospice care is recommended near end of life, it does not mean that death is imminent. In fact, research has shown that hospice care can help people live longer. And according to Shelby Morrow, Director of Ethos Hospice, hospice care is crucial for your loved one’s happiness and comfort.

“Really, the sooner hospice gets on board, the better those end of days, weeks or months can really be,” Shelby said. “Sometimes we even end up graduating people from hospice because we get them on services, we get their symptoms really well managed and controlled. For some people, it makes them sort of flourish to the point where they no longer need us or meet criteria.”

Whether your loved one graduates from hospice care or not, it’s an opportunity for them to receive pain management and help with daily activities, improving their life and giving you more time to cherish with them.

How Does My Parent Qualify for Hospice Care?

In order for your parent to qualify for hospice care, your parent’s primary physician and Ethos Hospice’s medical director have to agree that your parent has a terminal diagnosis with a life expectancy of six months or less.

Ethos Hospice can work with your family and parent to ensure all hospice care criteria set by Medicare is met. Once determined that hospice care is best suited for your parent’s needs, our team will be able to walk your family through the hospice care process and develop a personalized care plan that prioritizes your loved one’s well-being.

What to Expect from Ethos Hospice

Ethos Home Care & Hospice is certified by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, holding our hospice care services to an even higher standard than Medicare. This means your parent will receive the highest quality of hospice care.

When your parent is cleared for hospice care, our nurse will do the initial admission and determine how often a visit is needed. We’ll bring out additional resources at this time to walk you through what you can expect to see as your parent’s health changes.

“We are caring for the family and the patient as a whole unit,” Shelby explained. “We are just as much there to help walk alongside the family through this end-of-life journey as we are for the patient where we’re making sure their symptoms are controlled. We are also helping and educating the family through this process.”

Your parent can receive up to seven nurse visits a week, depending on what level of care and monitoring your parent needs. We also have a nurse on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so a caregiver can come out to visit if there is an emergency in the middle of the night.

Your parent and your family will also have access to a social worker through Ethos Hospice. This individual can serve as an invaluable resource during a highly emotional time and even point your family to non-skilled, around-the-clock care if your parent needs it.

“They can be very imperative in figuring out, you know, am I okay to keep Mom home with me or do we need to look at a nursing home placement, Shelby said. “We can help the family jump through those hoops that can be overwhelming and tricky.”

Beyond medical and social work services, your parent can access a range of additional services like personalized chaplain services and home health aides, who can assist with bathing, dressing and feeding. Additional services include:

  • Volunteers: We match volunteers to your parent’s specific interests and hobbies. These volunteers can play games and watch movies with your parent, keep them company, run errands, prepare meals and even aid with household chores.
  • Pet Therapy: We have trained volunteers with certified therapy dogs who can visit your parent. The certified therapy dogs can give your loved one joy, connection and comfort, and can even lower your loved one’s feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Massage Therapy: Our massage therapists use gentle, intentional touch to decrease physical and emotional distress. Massage therapy can help relax your parent’s muscles, reduce any pain and swelling they’re experiencing, and improve their mood.
  • Aromatherapy: Our nurses are trained to use therapeutic grade essential oils to relieve symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety, and low mood.
  • Music Therapy: Our Board-Certified Music Therapists can evaluate your parent’s needs and use songwriting, singing, instrument playing, and music listening to promote physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being.
  • Healing Touch (Reiki): Healing Touch practitioners and Reiki Masters will lay their hands on or near your loved one to move and transfer energy to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain, and promote healing.

Through all the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual services offered, it’s our mission to support your family during this time and help your parent live out their days the way they want to.

Compassionate Hospice Care that Takes Care of Your Family

At Ethos Hospice, we strive to make every day more comfortable and joyful for your parent and family. If your parent is in need of hospice care, our team is ready to help and support you during this time. Please contact us today at 701-356-3803 to learn more.