End-of-life care comes with a lot of choices, such as when to begin care, where to receive care, and how to ease into this new phase of life. While this transition may be necessary, it can also be overwhelming for everyone involved.
If you or your loved one require end-of-life care, South Shore Hospital is here to make this process easier. Our skilled healthcare professionals can answer questions, provide guidance, and provide you and your loved ones with the support you need.
Complete primary care services, from routine check-ups and preventive care at five affiliated neighborhood clinics and affiliated physicians.
Excellent and personable physicians, nurses, and professional staff. Transportation Services for seniors and disabled patients at affiliated clinics and the hospital.
What Is Hospice?
Hospice is medical care for someone with a terminal illness (defined as having 6 months or less to live). The goal of hospice is no longer to cure the illness but to enhance the care, comfort, and quality of life of the person receiving care.
While hospice was once thought of just for patients with cancer, other illnesses, such as late-stage heart, lung, or kidney disease or advanced Alzheimer’s disease, can also make a patient eligible for hospice care.
Hospice care addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of both the person in hospice and their loved ones. While hospice services depend on the needs of the patient, they may include:
- Visits from the care team, such as nurses, physicians, social workers, and spiritual aides
- Medication for managing symptoms
- Medical equipment, such as walkers or wheelchairs
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy, which helps patients with daily activities
- Speech-language pathology, which helps patients with eating and communication
- Nutrition counseling
- Grief and loss counseling (for patients and loved ones)
Hospice does not include treatment to cure illness, medications unrelated to the terminal illness, or room and board in a nursing home.
Many people wonder when to begin hospice, and the answer is — it depends. However, hospice is generally recommended when the patient:
- Has 6 months or less to live (according to a healthcare professional)
- Is quickly declining despite treatments
- Is prepared to forego treatments to prolong life in order to live more comfortably
Hospice Care At South Shore Hospital
At South Shore Hospital, hospice patients remain in one of two comfortable and convenient locations — our hospital or at home.
South Shore hospice care is managed by one of our three partner hospice groups:
The Role Of Family And Caregivers In Hospice Care
Loved ones, including family members and close friends, play an integral role in hospice care. If someone you care for is in hospice care, not only can you help support your loved one in hospice — but hospice can also support you.
You can support your loved one in hospice by:
- Spending time with them
- Normalizing the end-of-life stages by listening and providing support
- Listening to — and following — their wishes
- Helping them tie up loose ends, such as writing notes to friends and family
- Doing your best to not make the process about you
Having a loved one in hospice can also be overwhelming for you. Fortunately, hospice can support you by:
- Helping with caregiving tasks
- Encouraging you to take time to care for yourself — both physically and emotionally
- Helping you remain realistic about what care you can provide
- Providing support both emotionally and spiritually
At South Shore Hospital, our team of medical experts is here to guide you and your loved one through this challenging but meaningful stage of life. Our team — combined with your support — can help your loved one feel comfortable and loved during their final days.