Understanding hospice palliative care

Understanding hospice palliative care

Hospice palliative care is often called palliative care, hospice care, or end of life care.

The goal of hospice palliative care is to reduce or relieve patient suffering while improving their quality of life.

It is a type of health care provided by family caregivers, friends, and health care professionals who are caring for individuals who are dealing with a life threatening illness. The goal of hospice palliative care is to reduce or relieve patient suffering while improving their quality of life.

Quality of life palliative care

Along with providing relief of pain and suffering, there are other aspects to providing quality end of life palliative care including:

  • Providing relief of other physical symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, etc.
  • Addressing patient concerns as well as those of the family
  • Supporting and respecting patient privacy and dignity
  • Acknowledging the interprofessional team efforts of the health care team as well as social workers, spiritual leaders and volunteers
  • Respecting the patient’s and family’s social and cultural needs including their emotional and spiritual needs

Palliative care services

Palliative care is a set of health care services provided to address the multiple issues that clients and families face during life threatening or terminal illnesses. Palliative care services may include the following:

  • Symptom and pain management
  • Advanced care planning support
  • Nutritional support
  • Personal patient care (such as bathing or toileting)
  • Providing functional and patient safety support (such as walking or bathing equipment)
  • Spiritual care
  • Bereavement support

Hospice palliative care can be delivered in a number of different locations or settings including the hospital, the patient’s home, residential or long-term care facilities, residential hospices, or other settings.

Palliative caregiver support

Sometimes family and friends take on the role of hospice palliative caregiver, with little or no outside support.

As a family caregiver, you may be the main provider of hospice palliative care, however, it is wise to seek help as this type of end of life care is very difficult to maintain on you own.

For example, there are volunteer, community, and professional agencies available that can assist you to provide not only palliative care for the person you are caring for, but also respite services for you. See our Elizz article on What You Need to Know About Palliative Care Teams.

Acknowledge and accept help from the members of your health care support team, which may include:

  • Family physician and/or specialist physician
  • Community nurse (home care nurse)
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Community Care Access Centre Case Manager/Care Coordinator
  • Personal Support Workers
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Dietician
  • Social Worker
  • Volunteer services
  • Chaplain/Spiritual Leader/Elder

If you are not sure where to find hospice palliative care services, talk to your doctor or nurses who are providing care right now. Speaking with the Elizz Caregiver Coach can also provide you with some useful resources.

See also our Elizz services page, which outlines support services for caregivers as well as for those in your care.

 

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