What is Hospice?
“Hospice is really human. It’s not a building, it’s not a place ... It’s a team to support you. Like a second family”
Family Member of a VNA Hospice Care Patient
Hospice is not a specific place, but rather a philosophy and overall approach to care that helps provide comfort, self-esteem and peace of mind to people in their last days. Hospice does not view the end of life as simply a medical experience, but rather a human life experience aided by medical professionals and personal caregivers.
Hospice is focused on LIFE. The philosophy of VNA Hospice Care holds that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our loved ones deserve the necessary support to allow us to do so.
Although death is a natural part of every life, many are understandably frightened by the thought of dying. If you are considering hospice for yourself or a loved one, please know this is NOT about losing hope. When a cure is no longer possible and aggressive treatment is no longer desired, hospice can provide a compassionate approach to your end-of-life needs. Hospice recognizes dying as a normal part of life and affirms the patient’s choices for the end of life, neither hastening nor postponing the end. The focus of hospice is maximizing the quality of life.
Levels of Care
There are four levels of care provided by hospices in the United States. Which level of care a patient receives varies with each individual case, and it’s not uncommon for a patient to move from one level of care to another and back again as his or her needs change.
Routine Home Care — Patients at this level usually reside at home (a private residence or a facility) and their symptoms are not out of control.
Inpatient Care — The hospice patient may require inpatient care when symptoms have worsened to the point they can no longer be managed at home. In order to do this, the patient may be temporarily placed in a skilled nursing facility or an acute care hospital.
Respite Care — Respite care allows a patient to be temporarily placed in a facility with 24-hour care so the family can rest. Respite care can last for up to five days.
Continuous Nursing Care — If the patient’s symptoms worsen to the point they can no longer be controlled by the caregiver, and the patient chooses to stay at home, hospice nurses will provide continuous, around-the-clock nursing care until the symptoms can be controlled.