Making the transition to hospice care

hospiceThe final chapter of life can be a delicate and sacred time. As you await the death of your loved one, you may consider hospice care to make this transition easier for you and your family.

Hospice is designed for a person whose illness cannot be cured and who would like to receive care in a relaxed environment. It’s typically provided in the person’s home or in a home-like setting and focuses on both the patient and family.

“We are there for end of life care,” says Scott & White hospice nurse team leader Liz Mortensen, RN. “Our primary role is just to provide as dignified and comfortable death as possible.”

Transitioning your Loved One to Hospice Care

It can take humility to admit that there is no longer hope for your loved one. This can be an emotional time, but is not the end. It may be hard to know when you should transition to hospice care.

“I always feel like it’s a selfless act when you put the wellbeing of the patient ahead of your feelings,” says Mortensen.

Hospice care is designed to make this a time of comfort and curing, emotionally.

“There’s lot of healing that we see, not so much disease healing but family relationships and faith,” says Mortensen. “Those are the things that make hospice care so rewarding.”

How to Utilize Hospice

Before transitioning to hospice care, you typically receive a referral from a family physician. It relieves the burden of office visits, as hospice care will service anyone within a 50 mile radius from Temple.

Providers will visit with your loved one and assist with any medical needs for an ongoing basis, for as long as you need. The typical patient receives hospice care for about 93 days.

“We have a team approach,” says Mortensen. “We have a social worker, chaplain, nurses, aids and volunteers who are all working towards this goal.”

Getting Support through Hospice

If you are assisting in your loved one’s transition, you may be a little apprehensive. You may be grateful for the time you will be able to share together, but helping with the medical attention may make you feel uneasy.

“We want them to know, we’re going to be there to support them,” says Mortensen. “They can call any time and talked to a trained hospice nurse. They will come for a visit or will be there for emotional supportive, whatever is needed.”

Hospice care allows a patient and family to have time together where you are as comfortable as possible and with the support of the hospice care team, you will be able to properly manage the necessary care.

“For me, hospice is a time of many miracles,” says Mortensen. “Where people are able to face that inevitable outcome but with comfort and dignity.”


About the author

Jill Taylor
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I contribute content and skills as a freelance writer for Baylor Scott & White Health. I enjoy improving our connection with our readers, patients and communities by assisting with a wide range of writing projects.

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Making the transition to hospice care