Senior Citizen's Guide to PIttsburgh 2014 Vol. 1 Winter/Spring - page 40

38
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Historically, hospice services
have been viewed as giving up
on those who are near end of life.
Today many patients are actu-
ally discharged from hospice not
because their terminal prognosis
has been reversed but because
their overall health status and/or
symptoms have improved.
Medicare requirements state
that an individual is eligible for
hospice if he/she has a condition
with a terminal prognosis and a
life expectancy of six months or
less to live. While a patient is under
hospice care, which is an integrated
care delivery systemwhich encom-
passes physicians, nurses, social
workers, nursing assistants, chap-
lains, counselors and volunteers,
the hospice team works with the
patient and their family/caregiver to
develop an individual specific plan
of care to help the patient meet the
goals for comfort and psychologi-
cal well-being. Hospice care is not
to cure the illness but to treat the
symptoms such as physical pain
or difficulty breathing. However,
hospice recognizes that
physical symptoms are not
in isolation and oftentimes
result in psychological
stress, anxiety and fear.
When we take our first
breath, we begin our jour-
ney through life and begin
our transition toward death.
While none of us know
how our death will truly
occur, we all hope that it
will be peaceful and that
we are ready. This being
said, death is a normal part
of life. However, because of the un-
known we struggle to grasp howwe
will personally be impacted at the
time of death. Hospice care begins
when staff work to identify what
symptoms may be most prominent
and important for us to manage to
keep the patient comfortable and
peaceful. The hospice philosophy
is not about dying but about how
we live with our life-limiting illness
Why Does the Word “Hospice”
Frighten Us?
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
The hospice philosophy is
not about dying but about
how we live with our life-
limiting illness and how we
continue for as long as we
can to participate in those
things that bring us the
most satisfaction.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
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