Hospice Palliative Care: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Hospice palliative care provides medical treatment to relieve symptoms at the end of life. The goal is to keep you comfortable, not to try to cure you. Hospice palliative care does not speed up or lengthen dying. It focuses on easing pain and other symptoms. Hospice palliative caregivers want to enhance your quality of life.

Hospice palliative care also offers emotional help and spiritual support when you are dying. It also helps family members care for a loved one who is dying.

Hospice palliative care can help you review your life, say important things to family and friends, and explore spiritual issues. Hospice palliative care also helps your family and friends deal with their grief after you die.

The hospice palliative care team may include nurses, counsellors, therapists, social workers, pastors, home health aides, and trained volunteers. You may get care in your own home, a hospital, in an assisted living or residential care facility, or a hospice or palliative care centre. They may provide advice to your doctor, provide ongoing care together with your doctor, or take over your care completely.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Prepare an advance care plan. This includes instructions to your doctor and family members about what kind of care you want if you become unable to speak or express yourself.
  • Find hospice palliative care programs in your area. People who can help include your doctor and your local nurse call line.
  • Decide what kinds of hospice palliative care services you want. It helps to know what you want before you enter a hospice palliative care program.
  • Think about some questions when preparing for hospice palliative care.
    • Who do you want to make decisions about your medical care if you are not able to? Many people choose their spouse, child, or doctor.
    • What are you most afraid of that might happen? You might be afraid of having pain or losing your independence. Let your hospice palliative care team know your fears. The team can help you deal with them.
    • Where would you prefer to die? Choices include your home, a hospital, a nursing home, or a hospice or palliative care centre.
    • Do you want to donate organs when you die? Make sure that your family clearly understands this.
    • Do you want any religious rites or practices to be done before you die? Let your hospice palliative care team know what you want.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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