The hospice philosophy recognizes that every person deserves to live out his or her life with respect and dignity, alert and free of pain, in an environment that promotes quality of life. This concept of care came to the United States in the early 1970’s, at a time when the vast majority of terminally ill people died in the hospital, often alone and in pain. From its beginnings, hospice has focused on the whole person–body, mind and spirit–with an understanding that serious illness profoundly impacts not only the patient, but also family and loved ones as well.
HOSPICE CARE provides compassionate, holistic care that addresses all aspects of a patient’s needs: physical, spiritual, and emotional. It also provides support to family members during and after the dying process. A multitude of healthcare professionals from doctors and nurses to social workers, bereavement counselors and chaplains form a support team to help the patient and the family through this very difficult period. In Indiana, hospice care is available for those individuals expected to live six months or less.
END OF LIFE issues include patient rights, pain and symptom management,health care options, grief and loss, financial concerns of the impact of car on the family; closures of relationships, providing for loved ones after the physical death, and maintaining dignity and respect for the dying patients. Only 5 percent of the dying process is physical.
PALLIATIVE CARE, an approach originally defined and actively practiced by hospice, is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological,social and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of illness in conjunction with treatment.
A team of hospice professionals and volunteers work cooperatively with the patient,family and the primary physician to provide this special kind of care. Hospice addresses the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient while attending to the equally important needs of the family and caregivers.
All licensed hospices in the state of Indiana provide these team services.
In addition, many programs and support groups are available to members of the community who are coping with loss and grief whether or not their loved one was served by hospice.
An advance directive is a legal document that allows you to communicate your health care preferences if you should lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. This advance directive has been developed in compliance with Indiana law to help you document your wishes about health care. It has three parts:
The Indiana Hospice & Palliative Care Organization recommends that you complete the Indiana Appointment of Health Care Representative and either Declaration A or Declaration B, to best ensure that you receive the medical care you want when you can no longer speak for yourself.
These documents are designed to ensure that your wishes are known and followed.Discuss your advance directive with your doctor, family, friends, clergy, attorney and anyone who may be involved in your care. Completing this workbook first can make the process easier. It provides some questions to help you think about your future and make decisions about what is most important to you.
For more information about Advance Directives from the Indiana State Department of Health, click here.