What is Palliative Care or Hospice Care?

Palliative Care is a unique concept of care designed to help terminally ill patients and their families live life fully and with dignity, and to help loved ones cope after death. The Hospice movement is new to the United States beginning in 1974. Hospice has since become a world-wide, specialized program well accepted in the health care continuum of care.

Our local program supports this philosophy of care by placing control of care in the patient’s hands, supporting the patient and family as a “unit of care,” at home or at the Hospice House.

Hospice care is intended to ease pain without curing, neither prolonging life nor hastening death. Hospice care includes the patient and family as part of the team and provides the education and support the family needs to participate in caring for the patient.

Eaton Community Hospice began serving the community through the efforts of many volunteers in 1983.

We changed our name to Eaton Community Palliative Care in 2012.

The Hospice Team – Physicians, nurses, social workers, support services coordinator, volunteers, home health aides, ministers and bereavement counselors are available to work with each patient and family. The team works together to enhance the quality of life for the terminally ill patients, their families and loved ones, helping to meet their physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.

The Hospice physician provides direction for the patient’s care, communicating with Hospice staff to ensure comfort and management of symptoms. Nursing care focuses on controlling pain, managing physical problems, and teaching family members to provide care to the patients who remain at home.

The team also provides emotional, spiritual and social support during the illness and bereavement periods. The level of care provided, including the frequency and type of services, is based on both the initial and ongoing assessment of the patient’s and family’s needs.

The Hospice Patient – Hospice care is appropriate for persons who have a terminal illness, with a limited life expectancy, who choose comfort care and are no longer receiving curative treatment for the primary disease.

Common Questions about Hospice

The doctor suggested Hospice care. Now what?

The doctor’s office may contact us with a referral, but also may leave that up to the family. When we are contacted, we will set up an appointment with you to explain services we are able to provide as well as what you can expect concerning the patient’s and family’s care.

Do you have to have a doctor’s referral to enter the Hospice program?

It is not necessary for a doctor to refer the patient to Eaton Community Hospice. We may call the doctor to confirm an appropriate prognosis has been made concerning the patients illness.

Who is eligible for Hospice care?

Anyone who has been given a diagnosis of 6 months or less is eligible to receive services from Eaton Community Hospice

What does the admission process involve?

A representative of Eaton Community Palliative Care will meet with the family at a time convenient for the family. Statistics on the patient will be asked (Name, Age, Date of Birth, etc.). The representative will explain all services available to the patient and family.

What types of services are available?

Our primary services include:

VOLUNTEERS: Volunteers help assist the family with patient care, house work, baby sitting, running errands, companionship and respite care. Volunteers will help care for the patient so the caregiver can get a much needed break.

EQUIPMENT: Durable medical equipment such as hospital beds, commodes, walkers, bath benches and wheelchairs.

SPIRITUAL: Eaton Community Hospice has a volunteer chaplain who is available to the family if desired

BEREAVEMENT: Following a death, we like to stay in contact with the family. Grief Support Groups, Counseling and Grief Recovery sessions are some of the services available. We also send out a monthly bereavement newsletter for an entire year. This newsletter is very informative and helpful to families coping with the death of a loved one.

Is the home the only place Hospice care is provided?

No, we are able to care for patients at one of our two Eaton Coumminty Palliative Care residences in Charlotte, Michigan.

How does Hospice “manage pain”?

By working with the patient’s doctor and nurses, we are able to help keep the patient’s pain under control.

Will medication interfere with the patient’s ability to talk or know what is happening? Will it hasten or prolong their death?

Not usually. We work hard to ensure the patient is comfortable and as alert as they desire while easing their discomfort.