When I started in hospice, in its beginnings in the late ‘70s, hospice met all end of life care needs. In fact, hospice was the only healthcare service meeting any end of life needs. However, most people had never heard of the concept. Fast forward 40+ years. Hospice is widely known for providing end of life care. It has grown in size and in its original scope of services. Even its definition of “end of life care” is changing, and 40 years later, hospice is not the only game in town. End of life doulas and palliative care have become part of the end of life care being offered.
Hospice provides end of life care from a medical perspective. Medications, symptom control, pain management, and personal care are key parts of hospice involvement. Social work, chaplaincy and bereavement services are also part of hospice services, but these services are often not well understood and remain underused.
Palliative Care addresses supportive care for those people who are choosing to continue with treatment even though their disease is progressing and not fixable. To qualify for hospice, the patient must have stopped trying to cure the disease.
End of life doulas offer non-medical, end of life support. These doulas are trained in most aspects of end of life and support the family from what will happen to what to do while it is happening. They fill the space left by hospice during the moments preceding and following death. The end of life doula’s gift is the time they have to support families during the dying process. Medicare reimbursement, with its extensive regulations, has taken the original at-the-bedside time away from most services that hospice provides. End of life doulas are stepping in to fill the void.
Now, when it comes to end of life care, it takes a village.
Something More... about When It Comes to End of Life Care, It Takes a Village
If you are caring for a special person at home, you need this- By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home
When looking for hospice care there are questions that need to be asked. Here is the blog that I wrote with questions to guide you through the interview process- Mom Needs Hospice? Here Are Your Questions to Choose the Right One