FOR PATIENTS AND FAMILIES
Hospice is a philosophy of care. It is focused around the patient and their loved family and friends. The goal of hospice is to preserve the quality of life for a terminally ill patient so that they may spend their last days with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice aims to treat the patient rather than the disease; therefore, it involves the patient and family in making decisions. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones dying but it provides with presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process. Hospice care is typically given in the home but if needed, it may be given in a hospital, nursing home, or a private hospice facility.
Hospice care is meant for the time when all other treatments can no longer help you, and you are expected to live 6 months or less. Hospice provides you with palliative care, which is treatment to help relieve disease-related symptoms, such as pain, but not cure the disease. You, your family, and your doctor decide together when hospice care should begin.
Often, patients and families don’t start hospice care soon enough because they believe that by starting hospice care, they are giving up. This is not the case. If you get progressively better while in the hospice program, you can be taken out and go into treatment once again. The decision is always in your hands. Hillcrest Hospice strives to bring back your quality of life and make the best of each day during the last stages of your illness.
Hospice care is a benefit of the Medicare program and is also covered by Medicaid. Most private insurance companies, HMO’s and managed care plans also offer hospice care as a benefit.
Our entire team at Bakersfield Community Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain; therefore, our chaplains are always available for spiritual support for both you and your family during hospice care and up to a year after a loved has passed.
PHASES OF GRIEF
The process of bereavement may be described as having four phases:
1. Shock and numbness: Family members find it difficult to believe the death; they feel stunned and numb.
2. Yearning and searching: Survivors experience separation anxiety and cannot accept the reality of the loss. They try to find and bring back the lost person and feel ongoing frustration and disappointment when this is not possible.
3. Disorganization and despair: Family members feel depressed and find it difficult to plan for the future. They are easily distracted and have difficulty concentrating and focusing.
Most of the support that people receive after a loss comes from friends and family. Doctors and nurses may also be a source of support. For people who experience difficulty in coping with their loss, grief counseling or grief therapy may be necessary.
Grief counseling helps mourners with normal grief reactions work through the tasks of grieving. Grief counseling can be provided by professionally trained people, or in self-help groups where bereaved people help other bereaved people. All of these services may be available in individual or group settings.
The goals of grief counseling include:
* Helping the bereaved to accept the loss by helping him or her to talk about the loss.
* Helping the bereaved to identify and express feelings related to the loss (for example, anger, guilt, anxiety, helplessness, and sadness).
* Helping the bereaved to live without the person who died and to make decisions alone.
* Helping the bereaved to separate emotionally from the person who died and to begin new relationships.
* Providing support and time to focus on grieving at important times such as birthdays and anniversaries.
* Describing normal grieving and the differences in grieving among individuals.
* Providing continuous support.
* Helping the bereaved to understand his or her methods of coping.
* Identifying coping problems the bereaved may have and making recommendations for professional grief therapy.
Grief therapy is used with people who have more serious grief reactions. The goal of grief therapy is to identify and solve problems the mourner may have in separating from the person who died. When separation difficulties occur, they may appear as physical or behavior problems, delayed or extreme mourning, conflicted or extended grief, or unexpected mourning (although this is seldom present with cancer deaths).
Bakersfield Community Hospice Chaplains and Social Workers can get you in touch with grief support groups and make referrals for Grief Therapy. We will be with you every step of the way.
Are you caring for someone who may benefit from our services?
Looking for more information, let us know.
3400 Calloway Dr., Suite 100
Bakersfield, CA 93312
Bakersfield Community Hospice is a
Joint Commission Accredited Organization
Gold Seal of Approval