One of the major goals of hospice care is keeping the patient as comfortable as possible. When dealing with the progression of an illness, comfort goes beyond keeping the pillows fluffed.
What can hospice workers do to help patients feel more comfortable?
Hospice staff receive special training in caring for an array of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The approach differs based on the patient’s needs and diagnosis as well as what is agreeable to the patient and family members.
The hospice staff works with the patient’s doctor regarding medications, therapies and procedures that will keep the patient comfortable and pain free, according to the NHPCO.
Patients are often surprised to find that in addition to helping provide comfort from physical symptoms, hospice services also can provide comfort in the emotional and spiritual areas as well. Many hospice organizations offer the services of a social worker and chaplain who can help provide comfort and grief support for the patient, but also for the family and caregivers, according to the American Hospice Foundation. Patients may find comfort in talking about their past, what their future looks like, or praying or having a prayer said on their behalf.
The approach of hospice places the patient at the center of care, and able to decide what care is enough and what is too much. This puts the patient in control when their illness can make circumstances seem out of control..