Although modern medicine has greatly advanced over the past century, there are certain situations that result in patients being unable or unwilling to pursue a cure for a life-threatening disease, illness or condition. In this article, we will explain hospice and the types of services that hospice care in the Denver area offers, as well as how you can determine if this type of care is a service appropriate for yourself or one of your loved ones.
What is Hospice?
Many who work in the field see it as a calling, while countless patients and families call it a blessing. What hospice really is though, is a specialized area of medical care that provides comfort, while maintaining quality of life to the highest extent possible for patients facing terminal conditions, diseases, or life-limiting illnesses. The focus of hospice care in Denver is on the patient’s overall well-being. It addresses physical condition, as well as social, emotional and religious or spiritual needs as end of life approaches.
Hospice care doesn’t just focus on the patient, but also the family. Hospice services in Denver can offer a wealth of information, support, and resources for the patient’s loved ones. This is particularly important for those loved ones involved in providing care for the patient, as they struggle to maintain their grief, the added stress of caregiving, as well as day-to-day requirements of daily living. Of course, hospice also offers families assistance after death occurs.
It is important to state that although hospice is not a medical option meant to prolong or cure a disease, illness or condition, it also does not quicken death. Instead, it is a life-affirming mission that considers death a part of the natural process of life and aims to assist patients in living out what time they have left as comfortably and dignified as possible.
Although hospice is commonly provided in-home, some patients may be served at a local hospice care facility, such as Divine Hospice & Palliative Care in Denver. Hospice is not 24-hour care, but it does assist family, nursing home staff, or hired caregivers in seeing that the patient’s pain is managed, they are comfortable, and their time left is spent with as much quality as possible.
Denver Area Hospice Care vs. Palliative Care
Hospice, unlike palliative care, is appropriate when life expectancy is less than 6 months. Hospice becomes an option when treatments are no longer working, or when the patient no longer wishes to continue treatment. This contrasts with palliative care, which is available at any point in time during a disease or illness, along with other curative options.
Hospice Services Offered by Divine Hospice & Palliative Care of Denver
A wide range of services are available to patients who choose to utilize hospice care. Divine Hospice and Palliative Care offers the following hospice services in and around the Denver area:
- Physician participation: The patient’s primary physician can continue to provide care in conjunction with the medical director of the hospice care service.
- Nursing services: Hospice typically assigns a nurse case-manager, who will visit 1-3 days weekly. On-call nurses are also available round the clock.
- Home-health aide: These aides routinely assist patients 2-3 times weekly with personal care.
- Medical social services: Social workers are assigned to each patient to help the patient with social and emotional needs.
- Counseling services: It is common for patients and their families to need assistance with pastoral/spiritual support, dietary services, grief counseling, and, after death, bereavement counseling.
- Medication: Nearly all medication that is relative to hospice diagnosis are covered, as well as those used to alleviate or control pain and/or symptoms.
- Medical equipment: The equipment needed to provide safe, comfortable care to the patient is provided by hospice. This equipment may include a wheelchair, oxygen, hospital bed, bandages, etc.
- Laboratory and other diagnostic testing
- Respite care: To prevent caregiver burnout and reduce stress, this temporary form of assistance is available.
- Therapists: In certain situations, hospice services may offer occupational, speech, or physical therapists.
- Additional assistance: Other forms of assistance include charity and volunteer programs.
Is Seeking Hospice Care in the Denver Area Right for You or a Loved One?
Patients with a terminal illness who have been given a 6-month or less life expectancy can qualify for hospice care in Denver. Obviously, estimates are not always accurate, as some patients will live longer, and some will pass on sooner. The general consensus is that the sooner hospice services are started for a patient, the more benefit that patient will receive from the service.
In most instances, the patient is a good candidate for hospice once that patient makes the decision to stop pursuing curative treatments for a disease, condition or illness, and only seeks treatments meant to provide comfort. Hospice care treatments may include medicines to reduce or prevent pain, itching, muscle cramping, appetite loss, nausea, dyspnea, and a variety of other symptoms. In some cases, more aggressive treatments like blood transfusions, radiation and chemotherapy might be a fit if these treatments assist in alleviating pain and/or discomfort but are no longer a means to cure.
If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from hospice care in the Denver area, give our hospice care specialists at Divine Hospice & Palliative Care a call at 303-357-2540 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs.