A team of professionals
In most cases, an interdisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. This means that many interacting disciplines work together to care for your loved one. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for you. Each of these people offers support based on their special areas of expertise. Together, they then give you and your loved ones complete palliative care aimed at relieving symptoms and giving social, emotional, and spiritual support.
Pain and symptom control
The goal of pain and symptom control is to help your loved one be comfortable while allowing you to stay in control of and enjoy your life. This means that side effects are managed to make sure that your family member is as free of pain and symptoms as possible, yet still alert enough to enjoy the people around you and make important decisions.
Hospice care-givers also tend to your spiritual needs. Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is set up to meet your specific needs. It may include helping you to look at what death means to you, helping you say good-bye, or helping with a certain religious ceremony or ritual.
Home care and inpatient care
Although hospice care can be centered in the home, your loved one may need to be admitted to a hospital, extended-care facility, or a hospice inpatient facility. The hospice can arrange for inpatient care and will stay involved in your care and with your family. Your loved one can go back to in-home care when you and your family are ready.
While you are in hospice, your family and caregivers may need some time away. Hospice service may offer them a break through respite care, which is often offered in up to 5-day periods. During this time your loved one will be cared for either in the hospice facility or in beds that are set aside for this in nursing homes or hospitals. Families can plan a mini-vacation, go to special events, or simply get much-needed rest at home while you are cared for in an inpatient setting.