​When a loved one has a terminal illness, family members often feel overwhelmed trying to balance work, children, home life and all the activities of daily living. The hospice model of care is uniquely equipped to provide the comprehensive support terminally ill patients and their families need. 

Although caring for a seriously ill family member is often viewed as a labor of love, the stresses and physical demands on family care providers can be enormous as the illness progresses and the complexity and intensity of the care required increases. 

Hospice removes a tremendous burden from both the patient and the family members. It not only improves quality of care, but decreases hospitalizations, re-hospitalizations and emergency room use. Most importantly, it allows each individual a choice in how to spend the final stage of his or her life.

Hospice does its best work when life is measured in weeks or months, supporting not only patients - by managing pain and other chronic disease symptoms - but supporting the family members caring for them. 

Members of the hospice care team work with the family to teach techniques that make their job easier and their loved one more comfortable, such as how to safely transfer from a wheelchair into a bed without straining the back.

The hospice team eases the caregiver’s burden by arranging delivery of medically appropriate supplies directly to the home. Examples include walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds and bedside commodes.

A hospice nurse provides instructions and support to help family caregivers organize and administer medications, change dressings, and assist with care between visits. Our hotline provides around-the-clock access to a nurse.

A hospice nursing assistant (HNA) frees up more family time by providing compassionate care that preserves the patient’s dignity. The HNA assists as needed with toileting, showering, personal grooming, the changing of bed linens and other needs.

It is vital that family caregivers take breaks to preserve their wellbeing. Hospice of the Western Reserve helps by providing respite care at one of its three homelike Inpatient Care Units, or by sending a trained, respite care volunteer to the home so family caregivers can run errands, meet friends or relax and unwind.

Frequently, family business affairs must be put in order. Social workers can assist the patient and their family in accessing the community resources needed.

Members of the transdisciplinary hospice care team – such as a social worker or an advanced practice nurse – can assist patients and families with completing Advance Directives (AD) which communicate the patient’s end-of-life care preferences.

A spiritual care coordinator is available to support family members as well as patients, if desired. The hospice care team provides coping strategies and resources and helps the entire family understand what is happening, and what to expect.

Western Reserve Grief Services bereavement specialists help families prepare for the upcoming loss and to provide grief support for 13 months after a loved one’s death.

Sometimes, the course of a disease cannot be changed. However, hospice can change how a person approaches the rest of his or her life, providing comfort, dignity and quality time to families.