21 Jan Understanding Hospice and the Hospice Care Team
Hospice is a philosophy of care, treating the person rather than the disease and focuses on quality of life. It surrounds the patient and family with a team consisting of professionals who not only address physical distress, but emotional and spiritual issues as well.
At Aegis, we believe that hospice care services should be patient-centered, that the needs of the patient and family should drive the activities of the hospice team.
Physician: The physician can identify the patient’s need for end-of-life care. They are encouraged to remain involved as a member of the patient care team, and to actively participate in the hospice plan of care.
Hospice Medical Director: The Aegis Hospice medical director provides oversight of patient care and supports the hospice team. The hospice medical director attends a team conference to discuss the plan of care by assisting in establishing goals, and participating in decisions regarding patient care.
Registered Nurse Case Manager: Our registered nurse case manager coordinates the plan of care with the physician and hospice medical director through initial and ongoing nursing assessments. The nurse visits the patient two or three times a week, or as needed, to ensure all distressing symptoms are effectively managed and that patient and family needs are being met. The RN supervises all care provided by the licensed practical nurse and home health aide, and coordinates care with the other members of the hospice care team to ensure patient and family spiritual and psychosocial needs are met.
Social Worker: Hospice social workers provide initial and ongoing psychosocial assessments of the patient and establishes a psychosocial plan of care. The social worker normally sees the patient once or twice a month to provide emotional support and ensure patient and family psychosocial needs are being met. The patient/family or any member of the hospice team can request additional psychosocial visits as needed. The social worker can provide assistance and hospice information to patients and families. This could include helping the patient with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, and assisting with locating needed community resources. The hospice social worker can also provide counseling to the patient or family in times of crisis.
Chaplain: Aegis hospice chaplains provide spiritual support to the patient and family as needed. The chaplain visits once or twice per month or more often if requested. The care provided by the hospice chaplain can address religious issues, however the focus of care is more spiritual, in nature, than religious. Care by the hospice chaplain is non-denominational.
Bereavement Counselor: Our bereavement counselors not only support and guide the family through the bereavement period after the loss of a loved one, they can also help the patient deal with the grief associated with declining health. Bereavement counselors can provide bereavement services to the family up to a year, or longer, after a loved one passes.
Home Health Aide: The home health aide assists the patient and family with personal care needs and light housekeeping. They also inform family members how hospice works, and teach the correct and safe method for providing personal care to the patient. The home health aide supplements the care provided by the nurse case manager.
Hospice Volunteer: Our trained hospice volunteers provide companionship and support to patients and families.
If you have questions about hospice, or to schedule an educational event in your community, please call Aegis Hospice at 480-219-4790