What Does Hospice Care Mean and What Benefits Does it Provide?
Your guide to hospice care
Hospice care. Those two little words can make you feel like your loved one is slipping 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 can actually help with this.
So, what does hospice care mean? If your loved one's doctor is recommending hospice, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be gone within a few days. It simply means your loved one needs more advanced care to improve their quality of life. In this article, we will dive deeper into the meaning of hospice, qualifications, expectations, benefits, and more.
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 the end of life, it does not mean that death is imminent.
Scott Holm, Director of Ethos Home Health Care and Hospice states hospice can be crucial for your loved one’s well-being and comfort. “The sooner hospice gets on board, the better the patient's final days, weeks, and months can be,” Scott said. "Hospice is an opportunity for them to receive pain management and help with daily activities. This improves their life and gives you more time to cherish with them."
How does my loved one qualify for hospice care?
For someone to qualify for hospice care, their primary physician has to refer them with a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of six months or less. Ethos Hospice can work with your family to help receive a referral and to ensure all criteria set by Medicare are met.
Once you determine hospice care is best suited for your loved one's needs, our team will walk you through the hospice process. We will also develop a personalized care plan that prioritizes your loved one’s well-being. Take our free online assessment to learn if hospice is an appropriate consideration for your loved one.
What to expect from Ethos Hospice
When your loved one is cleared for hospice care, our nurse will do the initial admission assessment 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 loved one's health changes. “We are caring for the family and the patient as a whole unit,” Scott 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.”
Your loved one can receive up to seven nurse visits a week, depending on what level of care and monitoring they need. We also have a nurse on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, in the case of an emergency.
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. “They can be very imperative in navigating difficult decisions and determining the best course of action." Scott said. “We can help the family jump through those hoops that can be overwhelming and tricky.”
Additional hospice care services and benefits
Beyond medical and social work services, your loved one can access a range of life-enriching services including:
- Volunteers: We match volunteers to the patient's specific interests and hobbies. These volunteers can do things such as play games, watch movies, talk, run errands, prepare meals, and aid with household chores.
- Pet Therapy: We have trained volunteers with certified therapy animals who can visit with patients. Animals provide connection, joy, and comfort to patients, and can even lower 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 muscles, reduce any pain and swelling, and improve mood.
- Aromatherapy: Our nurses are trained to use therapeutic-grade essential oils to relieve symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety, and low mood.
- Therapeutic Musicians: Our therapeutic musicians evaluate patient's needs and use music to promote physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. This might include songwriting, singing, instrument playing, and music listening.
- Healing Touch (Reiki): Healing Touch practitioners and Reiki Masters will lay their hands on or near patients 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. It is our priority to help your loved one 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 our patients and their families. If your loved one could benefit from hospice care, our team is ready to help and support you during this time. Please contact us today at (701) 809-9319 to learn more.
Meet the Author
Scott Holm is the Director of Ethos Home Health Care and Hospice. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education and Exercise Science. He also holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of North Dakota.
Scott began his professional career at Altru Health System in Grand Forks where he spent 11 years building on his knowledge. He held multiple positions such as Inpatient Physical Therapist, Supervisor of Outpatient Therapy, Lean Facilitator, and Practice Manager of Surgical Specialty Clinics. Scott joined the Ethos Home Health Care and Hospice team in October of 2022. He began as the Regional Clinical Manager in Grand Forks and was promoted to Director in June of 2023. Scott demonstrates excellent leadership, care, and compassion. He is passionate about serving North Dakota and Minnesota communities.
In addition to his professional career, Scott is married to his wife, Grace, and together they have 4 children. He enjoys golfing, running, and spending time at the lake with his family.
Last updated January 30th, 2024