Your Hospice Team and Volunteers
As a patient, family member, friend, or caregiver, your concerns and preferences will guide the care you receive. Hospice team members are dedicated to meeting your needs now and in the days ahead.
Care from hospice is:
- Accessible at any time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Aggressive in preventing and managing pain and symptoms.
- Committed to your physical, emotional and spiritual comfort.
- Focused on helping you live your way.
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Your Care Team
Hospice services are provided by interdisciplinary care teams. Because illness affects much more than physical health alone, care teams are made up of people with different training and skills. Members of your team will visit regularly. Together you will decide who visits and how often. All of the members of your team share responsibility for providing care of the highest quality.
Your care team includes:
- You – as someone living with an illness or someone who cares about a person who is ill – are the center of your care team. Sharing your hopes, concerns, and needs with the rest of the team gives them the information they need to be able to offer exceptional care.
- Your physicians are valued members of your hospice care team. Your care team will actively work with your primary and/or consulting physicians to provide treatment options, prevent complications, manage pain and symptoms, and monitor changes related to the illness. In addition, the hospice physicians are available to visit you and consult with your doctors about your plan of care.
- Your nurse will focus on providing skilled care and support related to your physical condition, level of comfort, and learning needs. Your nurse will perform physical assessments, ask for your input on planned treatments and medication changes, communicate with your physician, and help you find answers to your questions. Your nurse is an excellent source of information about medications, treatments, disease processes, equipment use, hands-on care, and other topics of concern.
- Your counselor or social worker is dedicated to helping you deal with the many ways that illness affects your life. Counselors and social workers can assist you with accessing community resources, making decisions, discussing difficult topics, finding emotional support and coping with loss. They strive to help you, as a patient, family member, friend, or caregiver, do those things that are important to you now.
- Your home health aides (HHAs) or certified nursing assistants (CNAs) make your personal care and comfort their highest priority. Their care may include grooming, bathing, mouth care, skin care, and repositioning. Visits with your HHA/CNA may also be a good time for a walk, wheelchair ride outside or other activity that is difficult without assistance. HHA/CNAs are a valuable source of practical information and encouragement.
- Your chaplain is available to offer spiritual support in whatever way is most comfortable for you whether or not you practice any particular faith or religion. Your chaplain’s care is non-judgmental and focuses on your personal concerns or requests. The spiritual care provided by a chaplain may include assistance thinking through decisions, support in healing relationships, offering prayers, performing requested rites or rituals, and assisting in planning and providing memorial services. If you are a member of a congregation or have your own clergy, your hospice chaplain is also available to work with them to meet your needs.
- Your volunteers are specially trained to provide assistance and support in many ways. From companionship to transportation to running errands, their jobs depend on your needs. You can ask for a volunteer by talking to any member of your care team.
Remember that this is your care team. As your situation changes, you may find that your needs for different members of your care team change as well. If you have any questions, ask your team or call anytime and ask to speak to your care team coordinator.
The Hospice volunteers can be a great source of assistance and support. They are the history and heart of hospice care. Your volunteers are a group of highly trained, motivated, caring individuals with a broad range of life experience. Many have been touched by personal experiences with illness and caregiving. Volunteers are committed to maintaining your privacy and are respectful of your choices.
What Can Volunteers Do?
The beauty of care provided by hospice volunteers is their dedication to finding ways to enrich your quality of life. The list of possibilities expands constantly as new volunteers offer their talents and skills. Would any of these volunteer activities be helpful to you?
- Companionship – friendly conversation or a listening ear
- Staying with the patient so you can rest or go out for a while
- Transportation for errands, appointments, worship services, or other outings
- Letter writing or journaling
- Helping with small jobs around the house
- Assistance with hobbies or crafts
- Helping with organizing paperwork, bills to be paid or balancing a checkbook
- Grocery shopping for you
- Light housekeeping
- Assisting with preparing a meal
- Delivering small treats like a favorite ice cream
- Caring for a pet or walking your dog
- Watching TV with you – bringing videos or DVDs to watch
- Recording your or your family’s story on tape or video
- Playing music for you
- Recording audio tapes to send to family and friends
- Playing games – checkers, cards, puzzles
- Bringing a pet to visit
- Celebrating special occasions
- Creating photo memory albums
- Writing down your special stories or memories
- Filling your special request – tell us what would bring peace, comfort or joy to your life
You are the leader of your care team. The knowledge, experience, and compassion of your hospice staff and volunteers are here to assist you in living your life your way and making the choices that feel right to you. Call anytime.
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