Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of a patient diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. It usually begins right at the time of diagnosis. A hospice offers physical, emotional social, and spiritual support for patients expected to live for six or fewer months.
A team of volunteers and professionals work to make sure the patient is as comfortable as possible during this period. Hospice care has different levels of care designed to meet individual needs in the most comfortable and appropriate setting. Here are the levels of palliative care being offered in Indiana.
Routine Home Care
90% of hospice patients prefer a private home setting surrounded by family and close friends. Hospice care ensures that the patients are pain-free, their symptoms are under control and their dignity is preserved. The family forms a significant part of the patient’s care team. Routine home care also encompasses care at a boarding home, assisted living center, or any long-term care center.
Continuous care supports the caregivers and family through periods of acute medical symptoms. Medical care is provided by a healthcare professional and hospice staff for 8-24 hours during these periods. The treatment can be provided at home or another facility the patient is comfortable in, but not in the hospital.
When symptoms are so severe that patients require a hospital care setting, they are hospitalized and cared for round the clock. Hospitalization typically lasts 3-5 days, after which they return to home-based care. Some hospice facilities have arrangements with hospitals to use particular hospital wings or floors for inpatient care of their patients.
Respite care is designed to give the family or caregiver a 1-5 day break from caring for the patient. The patient is admitted in an institutional setting during this period. The break can be taken to prevent ‘’caregiver burnout’’ or if the caregiver is sick or has to travel for personal reasons.
During the final chapters of a person’s life, staying comfortable and pain-free is crucial. This allows patients to spend their last moments with their family in a familiar and warm setting.