What Hospice Offers
Hospice provides a variety of flexible services based on the desires and needs of both the patient and family. These may include:
Hospice provides palliative medical care. Palliative medicine is a specialty that focuses on the treatment and management of the symptoms of a terminal illness. The aims of palliative medicine are to provide comfort, relieve pain, and improve a patient’s quality of life. It will deliver any treatment or medication necessary to ensure those aims at any stage of a terminal illness, not just the late stages.
In contrast, medical care aimed at curing, stopping, or preventing a terminal disease is called curative care. In order to participate in public health insurance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid hospice agencies can only provide palliative medical care, not curative care. Hospice in other parts of the world, and some private pay hospice plans, may not make this distinction and will provide palliative care along with medications or treatments intended to cure or stop the progression of a terminal illness.
Hospice will usually offer 24 hour access by phone to doctors or nurses to answer questions and offer guidance. If in-patient care is needed to manage pain and symptoms related to a terminal illness a hospice agency can arrange a short-term hospital stay.
In addition to palliative medical care, hospice offers a range of non-medical health services. Listed below are some of services provided by hospice and a brief description of how they may benefit a person with FTD. This list is not all inclusive, and there may be differences between hospice agencies in terms of the services offered. For more information on the professionals trained to deliver these services see other health professionals.
Physical therapy can help manage pain and discomfort, increase mobility, and provide other health benefits associated with routine physical activity. Physical therapy can also alleviate specific muscle control problems and help maintain and extend an individual’s physical independence.
Massage provides some of the same benefits as above and can improve flexibility and mobility. Massage can also have a calming and restive effect.
This can help with communication problems either directly by addressing specific speech problems or by providing alternative communication strategies. A speech therapist that specializes in swallowing can also address problems with eating and drinking to help avoid choking, or breathing food or liquid into the lungs.
FTD can rob people of their ability to be self aware and communicate their feelings and experiences. Art/music therapy provides a way for patients to express themselves and can help maintain emotional stability and some cognitive abilities.
Routine personal care and hygiene
A common symptom of FTD is a decrease in self-care. Help with routine activities such as bathing and brushing teeth can prevent related health problems, especially infections.
Another frequent FTD symptom is idiosyncratic eating habits. Meeting a bodies basic dietary requirements helps maintain general health.
Hospice offers social, emotional and spiritual services for the terminally ill patient and his or her family through a variety of counselors and therapists both religious and secular. Some hospice programs include special services that address the needs of children in the family.
The hospice approach is recognized and valued for its holistic approach to supporting all aspects of the patient’s and families experience at the end of a loved ones’ life. Below is a list of some additional benefits available through Hospice.
Caring for a loved one with FTD is emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining. If the primary caregiver becomes sick, or needs a break hospice can arrange a short term stay in a nursing or assisted living facility for the patient.
Durable medical equipment and supplies
Equipment, such as a hospital bed, needed to allow a patient to remain in his or her own home or current living situation can be provided through Hospice. Supplies such as bandages or bed sheets are also provided.
An extra pair of hands
Many hospices have trained volunteers to help with household chores, like shopping or cleaning.
FTD can raise a host of problems in addition to the health issues. Hospice agencies often provide a case manager to help families’ access additional community resources, and make plans around providing care for a loved one.
Grief counselors are available through hospice after the patient’s death, in some programs this benefit extends for up to 13 months.
Services Not Available through Hospice
Emergency Medical Care
In addition to curative care hospice will not provide emergency medical care not included or contrary to the wishes of the patient as stated in an advance medical directive or similar document. Any emergency medical services provided by hospice must be pre-arranged and addressed in the hospice care plan. This includes ambulance transport to an emergency room, and any emergency medical treatment or in-patient hospital care related to the terminal illness.
Room and Board
Even though hospice care is often provided to people in nursing homes or other residential facilities; room-and-board, and any other cost associated with a residential facility will not be covered by hospice, with the exception of an in-patient hospice program.