Hospice is a way to deal realistically and compassionately with the end of life. It offers the hope of dignity and comfort. Hospice is a family-oriented program that helps families and friends care for their loved one in their home, in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility. Hospice is not a substitute for the family or the family’s care. Hospice workers help patients make the most of each day. Hospice neither hastens nor prolongs death. Hospice seeks to let nature take its course while managing any pain that might be part of the death process.
The primary goals of hospice care are to:
- Relieve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual suffering of our patients and those who care for them
- Promote the dignity and independence of our patients to the greatest extent possible
- Support our patients and their families in finding personal fulfillment as they deal with end-of-life challenges
The Team Approach
Hospice of Westchester brings together a team of specially trained professionals and volunteers who work with the patient’s physician to develop an individualized plan of care designed to control pain and ease end of life struggles for our patients and their families.The Hospice Team is made up of professionals from multiple disciplines including nursing, social work, spiritual care, bereavement, complementary care and volunteers. All disciplines work under the direction of our hospice medical director. When patients with a terminal illness are supported by an interdisciplinary team of skilled palliative care specialists and volunteers, the last stages of life can become a comfortable and treasured time of new hope and healing. Often, the patient’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual distress can be relieved through effective collaboration among the team and family members. They form a caring community in which patients can find new meaning, restored integrity, and a dignified close to life.
“The team that came in – the nurse, the caregiver, the therapist – I thought they went above and beyond what they had to do...”
When faced with a life-limiting or terminal illness, many of the decisions that must be made can be challenging and emotional. These decisions can involve advance directives, funeral arrangements and other important considerations. Even though discussing these topics may bring up challenging feelings, it is important to be proactive and to use effective communication in order to ensure choice and control during difficult times.At Hospice of Westchester, our social worker is experienced in facilitating a discussion with your family to plan for the future. Following are some guidelines to help you broach potentially difficult subjects.
- Plan ahead for the conversation.
- Be sensitive to the fact that you will be discussing emotionally laden topics.
- Choose a place and time that is conducive to an open conversation.
- Keep in mind that you may have to discuss the same topic on several separate occasions.
- Realize that family members may disagree and that the goal is to allow the patient to have a say in the matters being discussed..
- Use “I” statements to get your view and feelings across to others.
- Do not use this time to discuss old wounds or bring up unresolved issues from the past. Try to keep your focus on the patient.
- Be aware that initial decisions may change over the course of time.
- Be compassionate with yourself and those in your family. Everyone deals with emotions differently and there is no right or wrong way.
Virtual Support Group
During the pandemic many of the supports and rituals commonly used were unavailable, which can make losing a loved one even more difficult. A bereavement support group can provide a supportive environment in which you can understand the impact grief has on your life, learn ways to cope with the loss, and begin to look toward the future with purpose and meaning.