What is Hospice?

Hospice is a healthcare option for people and their families who are faced with a life limiting illness.

Hospice is available to anyone living with an end-stage disease including cancer, pulmonary disease, ALS, heart disease, HIV-AIDS, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and any other life-threatening illness. A primary goal of hospice is to control pain and other symptoms so the person can remain as alert and comfortable as possible.

Hospice includes interdisciplinary services to manage an individual’s plan of care including nursing, medical, and personal care as well as emotional and spiritual support for the patient and family. Hospice stresses quality of life and is an alternative to extended medical, aggressive or curative treatments. Many people live longer under hospice because their symptoms are managed and treated based on their unique needs and preferences.

A multi-disciplinary team of health and wellness professionals including a Hospice and palliative care certified medical director, hospice trained nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, hospice aides and therapists and volunteers work together to address the unique physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family. Hospice of the Foothills does not act as the primary caregiver; rather we support the family, or caregiver, in providing care to their loved one. Our interdisciplinary care team under the direction of a physician enables the patient to live as fully and as comfortably as possible. Your personal physician is an essential part of the team. Hospice care is provided to patients in their own home or a home-like setting regardless of the patient’s age or ability to pay.

Our care team also facilitates services and resources that are available and provided when needed. When staying at home, family and friends are encouraged to participate in the patient’s care as much as possible. When someone doesn’t have family who can serve as caregivers, the team will help identify friends and people in the community who volunteer to help. The hospice team remains available for help and support to the patient and family.

Hospice may be the right choice when:

  • The treatments for a disease are not working or are debilitating in their own right and life expectancy is six months or less.
  • ER visits or hospitalizations become more frequent and result in no real improvement.
  • There is a progressive, unintentional weight loss of more than 10% of the body weight over the past 6 months.
  • Recurrent or intractable infections are present.

If you or someone you know are living with some of the above difficulties, and are ready to choose palliative/comfort care, then talk to your physician or call Hospice of the Foothills at 530.272.5739.

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