Hospice palliative care focuses on providing relief from distressing symptoms when the disease is no longer curable. Since the focus is on providing comfort measures, the role of invasive medical treatment is limited. Our team of caregivers work together to develop and implement a plan of care specific to each individual. Our team may include physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual advisors, personal support workers and volunteers.
Psychological and spiritual care will be provided. All treatments will be geared toward comfort and every effort will be made to alleviate pain and other distressing symptoms. We believe that advanced and terminal phases of illness can still provide opportunities for existential hope and personal growth.
Palliative care can be defined as “the active total care for patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment”. Palliative care, as a philosophy of care, is the combination of active and compassionate therapies intended to support individuals and families who are living with a life-threatening illness. During periods of illness and bereavement, palliative care strives to meet physical, psycho social, social and spiritual expectations and needs, while it remains sensitive to personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices. Palliative care can be combined with therapies aimed at reducing symptoms related to the illness or it may be a total focus of care.
Palliative care is for all patients with progressive life threatening illness. This includes people with such diseases as cancer, end-stage heart failure, lung disease, renal failure, ALS, AIDS and neurological diseases including dementia.
Interventions such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are not done at the hospice and ventilators are not used. Intravenous medications are not commonly used since more palliative medications can be given by a more comfortable route.
Decreased nutritional intake is a very common component of advanced illness. It is often a great source of concern for families but rarely for the person affected. People commonly feel it is necessary to encourage the dying person to eat in the hope of sustaining life. Rather, promoting food for comfort if the person wishes is more appropriate at this stage of illness. Intravenous fluids are not commonly used since in many situations artificial hydration is neither necessary nor helpful to the patient.