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WHAT HAPPENS DURING HOSPICE?
The hospice process can begin as soon as a referral is made by the patientís doctor. The hospice staff will then contact the
patient and/or family to set up an initial meeting to review the offered services, perform a clinical assessment of the patient
and sign the necessary paperwork.
After setting up a thorough care plan based on each patientís individual clinical, psychosocial and spiritual needs, the care
team begins to support and care for the patient and the family. At Care Alternatives, members of the hospice team also
specialize in providing holistic care to dying patients and their families - addressing the needs of the whole patient. Each
hospice team is staffed with a medical director who consults with the team members and oversees the provision of the patientís
care plan by the hospice team. At Care Alternatives, nearly all of our medical directors are board certified in hospice and
palliative medicine. The patient's physician remains in charge of the patient's overall medical care and regularly communicates
with the hospice nurse.
The hospice nurse has several jobs, including, but not limited to, managing the patientís symptoms, medications and treatments,
educating the patient and family, providing skilled nursing care, assessing the patient's physical condition and arranging for
special medical services in the care setting. Home health aides assist with the patientís personal care (dressing, bathing,
etc.) and provide companionship and comfort measures to the patient. Social workers provide emotional support to the patient
and family through counseling and offer connections to additional community resources. Patients are also assessed and visited
by a staff chaplain who provides spiritual comfort to both the patient and family.
Volunteers support patients and their families in less traditional roles such as running errands, making friendly visits and
simply providing companionship. At Care Alternatives, many of our volunteers also provide alternative therapies, including
aromatherapy, massage, reiki and pet therapy.