Who is the Hospice Team?
The most important member of the hospice team is the PATIENT! It is important for the patient to be in control of his or her treatment and services. The hospice professional staff is there to support and care for the patient. They provide instruction, education and knowledge, but the ultimate decision-maker is the patient.
Next to the patient, the most important member of the team is the caregiver. As the person who is responsible for the day-to-day care of the patient. Next to the patient, the caregiver is most able to see patient needs and subtle changes in the patient’s condition. The hospice staff is also there to support the caregiver by providing support, education, instruction and counseling.
The patient’s physician has the ultimate responsibility for the patient’s care. He or she is kept well-informed of the patient’s condition by the nurse. The patient’s physician remains responsible for oversight of the patient’s treatment. If however, the patient's physician chooses not to follow their patient, our Medical Director is happy to provide this service.
Hospice Medical Director
The hospice medical director is a physician member of the hospice team. He or she is available to the hospice staff for consultation. The Medical Director is also available to patients to write medical orders or to make visits to hospice patients when their own physician is unavailable.
The primary nurse is, in fact, primary to the care of the patient. He or she maintains close contact with the physician as well as with other members of the hospice team. The primary nurse is essentially the “case manager” for the patient, responsible for coordinating the patient’s care and implementing the Plan of Care prescribed by the physician. The nurse is the main contact person for the patient and caregiver and will provide instruction and information as required for optimal care. One hospice nurse is always available for patient needs 24-hours a day, seven days a week if a crisis should occur after regular business hours.
Medical Social Worker
The medical social worker is responsible to evaluate the psychosocial needs of the patient and family. He or she will visit the patient and family and provide counseling for emotional and financial concerns to help them cope with the changes which occur with having or caring for someone with a terminal illness. The social worker will also assist the patient and family by providing information on available community resources, which may be available to help.
Certified Nursing Assistant
The certified nursing assistant (CNA) or State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) is available to patients to provide assistance with personal care. He or she will make scheduled visits to assist the patient with bathing, dressing, shaving, nail care and hair care. The certified nursing assistant may also help with household duties necessary for the care of the patient such as changing bed linens.
Licensed therapists are available as deemed necessary to hospice patients to provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and dietary consultations for the patient’s comfort, and to assist in enabling patients to live to the fullest of their abilities.
The hospice chaplains are available to provide spiritual care to patients and families who want it, regardless of their faith. They remain respectful of the religious beliefs of the patient and family. If the patient or family requests, the chaplain will contact the clergy of their choice to provide them with information regarding the patient’s and family’s spiritual needs.
Hospice Patient Care Volunteers
The hospice patient care volunteers are well-trained unpaid staff members who are available to provide emotional and social support, companionship and caregiver relief. They usually provide services for up to four hours a week and are dedicated to assisting patients and families. Volunteers are assigned to patients upon request.
Bereavement begins long before the death of a patient. An evaluation of the anticipated grief of the family is communicated to the bereavement department during the patient’s illness. The Bereavement Coordinator works with the rest of the hospice team to help make the bereavement process easy as possible. The Bereavement Coordinator and staff of bereavement volunteers are available to offer support and counseling for up to one year following the death of the patient.