What is hospice and end of life care?
Hospice, or end of life care, is a model for providing care to people who have decided to stop life-prolonging treatment and who are nearing the end of life because of illness or age. Hospice focuses on meeting a person’s physical and emotional needs, as well as the needs of their family and caregivers, by bringing expert medical treatment, pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support to people at home. Hospice care at CVHHH is available to Central Vermonters wherever they reside – at home, in a nursing home, or in an assisted-living facility.
The goal of hospice at CVHHH is to help Central Vermonters achieve the highest-possible quality of life even as death nears. Care is patient-centered and guided by an individual’s unique wishes and goals. Hospice creates time and space for individuals and their families to be together and to focus on what matters most when it matters most.
What are the elements of hospice and end of life care?
Hospice care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of experienced professionals who have been trained to care for individuals nearing death. We work in partnership with a person’s physician and with our Hospice Medical Director to create a plan of care that meets the full range of a person’s medical and non-medical needs. Care is also provided to a patient’s family, who become an integral part of their loved one’s care team.
Scroll down to learn about the members of our hospice team.
You are always at the center of what we do, and your needs and personal goals drive the care that we provide.
Hospice supports patients and families as a unit. We provide guidance to families on how to care for their loved one with a focus on pain and symptom management. When it becomes necessary, we offer spiritual and grief counseling, which is available in advance of and up to 13 months after a person dies.
We work closely with a person’s caregivers to provide education and support wherever it is needed.
Volunteers help with a range of tasks, including providing companionship to patients and respite for families and caregivers. They also run errands, play music, sing, and read to patients. Volunteers must complete a six-week hospice volunteer training course to support patients and families enrolled in hospice at CVHHH.
The chaplain tends to the spiritual needs of patients and their families. This can be done in a variety of ways, and the support is not rooted in a particular religion or set of beliefs. Often, chaplains help people deepen their sense of purpose and meaning and explore their understanding of their relationship to the world. Support is based on each person’s situation and on what matters to them.
Licensed Nursing Assistant
Licensed Nursing Assistants, or LNAs, work under the direction of the hospice Registered Nurse. LNAs provide hands-on personal care.
The hospice nurse is an advocate for the needs of patients and families. They are also a teacher, a friend, a confidante, and a compassionate medical care provider. The hospice nurse oversees the plan of care and works closely with the patient’s referring physician to ensure that the patient’s needs are met and that pain and other symptoms are managed. The nurse helps patients and families understand what is going on, including what to expect as time progresses. Nurses are on-call 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week for hospice patients and their families.
The Medical Director oversees the plans of care for every patient receiving end-of-life care from CVHHH. The Medical Director works closely with a person’s physician and with CVHHH’s hospice interdisciplinary team to coordinate care.
A person’s physician arranges for hospice care by initiating the referral process and certifying that an individual has ceased curative treatment. A person’s physician works closely with CVHHH’s Medical Director and with an individual’s hospice registered nurse to manage care while the person is receiving services.
Homemakers help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and laundry.
The Social Worker provides counseling and guidance for patients and their families. Social workers can connect people with community providers as needed, conduct psycho-social assessments, and provide valuable help with resource planning, billing, and advance-care planning paperwork.
The Bereavement Counselor provides grief and emotional support for individuals and families, including children, after an individual dies. The Bereavement Counselor also offers free Grief Support Groups that are open to the public.
When is the right time to start hospice or end of life care?
Hospice care can begin as soon as a person is ready. If you, or someone you know, has received a terminal diagnosis and is considering stopping curative, or life-prolonging, medical treatment, it is time to consider hospice. Hospice continues as long as a person’s physician and CVHHH’s hospice team certify that a patient’s condition remains life-limiting. If you, or someone you know, is ready to inquire about starting hospice services, please contact Jim Budis, MSN, RN, MPH, Hospice Program Manager, using the form below.