May 16, 2018

The Inner Workings of a Hospice Team

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a special person to work in hospice”?

That’s because it does indeed take a special person to be a part of the hospice team. And it takes a highly-skilled person. It also takes an empathetic person.

For starters, you might be asking yourself, “What is hospice?”

Hospice is a type of medical care that focuses on caring, as opposed to curing. This specialized approach to care has an alternative goal: To manage pain and symptoms caused from an illness that is no longer curable. Discovering comfort, relief from pain and quality of life is what hospice is here for. And it’s the hospice team that makes that happen.

Providing quality hospice care is a joint effort, dependent upon an entire group of dedicated individuals to ensure the best care possible for patients and their families. One of the reasons why Unity Hospice is unique is that it extends beyond medical care to include emotional, spiritual and psycho-social care at the core of its services.

There’s the hospice nurse, who plays an extremely important role in a patient’s comfort and care. Their primary responsibility is to manage the pain and symptoms of someone who is enduring a terminal illness. They’re especially knowledgeable about how the body is interconnected, and how it operates at every stage. This knowledge enables them to enhance comfort and quality of life specific to each patient they come in contact with.

Aside from medicinal care, the nurses at Unity Hospice also connect with patients and families on an emotional level by providing companionship, emotional support and even end-of-life education to coach families on how to care for their loved one. There is no limit to the abilities of the hospice nurse.

There’s the medical director, who works closely with a patient’s own physician to ensure there is continuity in their care.

There’s the equipment manager, who delivers medical equipment to patients so they can live comfortably in their home, wherever that may be – a private residence, a nursing home, assisted living facility or even hospital.

There’s the hospice aide, who tends to a patient’s basic needs: Personal care. This includes, but is not limited to, bathing and oral care as well as dressing, eating and other activities of daily living that serve as the primary foundation of our comfort and dignity.

There’s the social worker, who provides emotional counseling and access to community resources as needed. Hospice social workers are overall trouble shooters. Often times, this means finding a caregiver when family members work full-time. Sometimes it’s helping a patient apply for Medicaid or other insurances, or helping prepare funeral arrangements, living wills and other advance directives. It could mean finding suitable housing for patients.

Many times, it’s creating meaningful experiences for patients and families so they understand that hospice isn’t just about dying but about living last days to the fullest.

There’s the chaplain, who cares for a patient and family’s spiritual needs throughout the end-of-life process. This is a time when many people turn to their spirituality, so the role of chaplains in hospice is very important in helping patients and families find peace during this sacred time.

There’s the hospice volunteer, who helps with the “little things in life that mean the most”. By sharing their time, energy and expertise, volunteers bring compassion to the lives of patients and families in need. Hospice volunteers bring companionship, music and activities to patients – and sometimes all a patient needs is hold of their hand; comfort in knowing someone is there with them.

Unity Hospice provides care to a patient’s loved ones as well.

There’s the bereavement team, who provides grief support to surviving loved ones and friends. Unity Hospice also offers pre-bereavement counseling to support patients and families throughout the disease progression.

All of this and more is offered at Unity Hospice, and the care is tailored to each patient’s individual needs and wishes. These varied roles, and often times shared roles, have one goal in mind: To keep patients and their families comfortable and at peace.

Unity Hospice has been serving patients Illinois, Indiana and Missouri for over 25 years. The Unity team is top-notch, providing premier hospice care that is professional, compassionate and filled with integrity. They understand that it’s not the product that matters, but the experience. From the care to the patient-centered programs, the staff at Unity Hospice continuously create memorable experiences for every patient and family they meet.

For more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us via our Contact Form.

The services provided by Unity Hospice are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, and no person is turned away because of an inability to pay.

Ultimately, Unity Hospice is there to help you help the ones you love.