A Nurse makes home visits to assess the patient's condition and teach care of the patient, especially management of symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. How often the nurse visits depends on the patient's condition and the physician's orders. The Nurse is in regular contact with the patient's physician and can help arrange for special equipment and supplies. A 24-hour emergency on-call service is provided for problems or questions regarding the patient's condition that cannot wait until the regular office hours.
Social Work Services
Medical social workers are available to help with emotional support. The social worker visits every family initially to help determine strengths and needs. A plan is developed which can include coordination of resources, problem solving, personal adjustment counseling, family counseling, and referral to other agencies for financial and other help.
Home Health Aides
The aides visit the home at regular intervals to give baths, shampoos, to help make/change the bed, and other homemaker services to maintain cleanliness of patient area, and to provide other types of personal care.
As part of our holistic care, Hospice provides spiritual support for patients and families when requested by the family. Coping with a life-threatening illness may create questions concerning faith, meaning, and hope. Many patients and families find it helpful to talk with our chaplains about religious or spiritual issues as they strive to cope with a life-limiting illness. The following questions and answers will assist you in understanding the spiritual care services offered by Hospice and how to access them. Please let us know how our chaplains can be of service to you.
Support by Volunteers
Volunteers are available to assist the rest of the Hospice team providing care to the patient and family. If desired, a specially trained volunteer will be assigned to provide such services as companionship, respite for family members (usually once a week), and on occasional help with transportation and errands. Volunteers are good listeners and are available to offer emotional support. In addition, volunteers with special skills (such as lawyers and chaplains) may be available for advice.
Patient/Family volunteers may be requested to provide the following:
- Home Visits
- Patient Sitting
- Errand Running
- Telephone Support
Palliative, also known as comfort, care is treatment that enhances comfort and improves the quality of an individual’s life during the last phase of life. No specific therapy is excluded from consideration. The test of palliative care lies in the agreement between the individual, physician(s), primary caregiver, and the hospice team that the expected outcome is relief from distressing symptoms, the easing of pain, and/or enhancing the quality of life. The decision to intervene with active palliative care is based on an ability to meet stated goals rather than affect the underlying disease. An individual’s needs must continue to be assessed and all treatment options explored and evaluated in the context of the individual’s values and symptoms. The individual’s choices and decisions regarding care are paramount and must be followed.
Hospice provides support to family members during the crucial year of transition following death. Support groups meet periodically, and family members may receive help from a follow-up volunteer who is specially trained in helping families cope with their loss.
Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race or illness. While Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance cover the cost of most Hospice services, Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care provides care to all terminally ill patients and their families regardless of their ability to pay.