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Beyond Nursing: Interdisciplinary Hospice Care
Written By : SeniorsList 
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Hospice care is intended to be much more than just nursing care. When you understand the interdisciplinary philosophy behind hospice care, you will better know what to expect for yourself or your loved one who is receiving the care.


The physical portion of hospice care typically focuses on making the patient as comfortable as possible. By the time hospice has come into the picture it is usually not about finding a cure or prolonging life. In most cases, hospice is only put in place when all treatment avenues have been exhausted and the patient has less than six months left to live.

Instead of a cure, the focus is on relieving pain, and helping the patient achieve good sleep, eat and other comforts.


Providing emotional support is another important part of hospice care. This care is not just for the patient, but for the family as well. Obviously, if hospice care has become necessary, it is an emotionally difficult time for all involved. Hospice care providers have been trained in helping the patient and the patient’s family deal with the emotional toll that the impending death brings.

Many organizations that provide hospice care have counselors on staff to help keep the stress levels down and help to ensure that the remaining time that the patient has left is spent in as pleasant a way as possible.


The spiritual well-being of the patient and his or her family is another thing that many hospice providers will consider. Spiritual care goes well beyond making peace with a higher being. It may also include learning to bridge gaps with loved ones or overcoming anger from past hurts.

The point of spiritual care is to allow the patient to experience as much peace as possible as the end of their life draws near. Obviously, for many this will include religion, but it does not for everyone. The services of a specially trained hospice chaplain will likely be offered during the hospice intake process. As is the case with emotional support, the chaplain will be there to help the entire family during this difficult time.

After Death

The services of a hospice organization even continue after the death of the patient. This is usually in the form of grief and bereavement services for the family. Most hospice organizations have staff that is dedicated to this part of the process.

The family may be offered the services of the chaplain, advice on funeral planning and access to grief support groups.

The interdisciplinary approach is intended to provide the patient and the family with the answers and the support that are so needed during what is undoubtedly one of the most difficult times in their lives. During the intake process, the patient will be asked if they want all or some of the available services. Even though some, such as spiritual care or emotional care, might not seem like something the patient would usually agree to, take the services anyway. The support that they provide can help to make their remaining days as full as possible.

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