WHAT IS HOSPICE CARE?

The Doctor, by Sir Luke Fildes (1891)

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When a patient is diagnosed with a terminal illness for which therapeutic management is deemed futile, hospice care ensues. Hospice care does not aim to prolong life. Instead, the main goal is to make sure that a patient’s quality of life is maximized. It offers comfort care that is holistic, taking into account a person’s physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being.
One of the misconceptions about hospice care is that it hastens death. There is no truth to this. In hospice care, although death is considered as a natural stage in a person’s existence, it is morally wrong to deliberately hasten it. In case treatment results death, the ethical principle of double effect, where the intention to do good takes precedence over a bad outcome, sustains the decision to provide symptom alleviation.
The process of death is not considered as a failure among hospice practitioners. Instead, the success of treatment rests upon the satisfaction of patients and their families. For instance, even if a patient dies, if a physician is able to facilitate carrying out the final plans of the patient through constant communication and pain alleviation, the actual death of a patient turns out to be the culmination of a job well done. A physician who also fosters closer family ties and bridges emotional gaps among the patient’s loved ones will also find a lot of satisfaction with this eventuality.
A successful hospice program also entails a team approach to patient management. While the physician, under the direction of the patient or the patient’s proxy decision maker, remains the primary source of medical knowledge, the contribution of the nurses, caregivers, and social health workers remain crucial. Spiritual support from a chaplain or a religious leader also makes a difference in creating a treatment plan.

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4 comments on “WHAT IS HOSPICE CARE?

  1. Pingback: JOE FRAZIER AND HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE? | THE MEDICAL PHILOSOPHER

  2. Pingback: DOLPHY AND THE NEED FOR DIALYSIS | THE MEDICAL PHILOSOPHER

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