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Hospice is a specialized way of caring for persons of any age with advanced stages of any non-curable illness. Hospice does not mean giving up, but rather it is often requested when the focus of an illness is shifted from finding a cure to providing comfort. It can be provided in a patient's home or other location, or it can be provided on a residential, inpatient or respite basis at Taylor House in Des Moines, Iowa.
Taylor House was built to provide care and comfort to terminally ill patients and their families who seek an alternative to care in hospitals or nursing homes. Taylor House is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week, with at least one nurse on duty at all times. There are also certified nursing assistants and volunteers.
Physicians must certify any patient living at Taylor House as terminally ill. Patients with any terminal diagnosis will be admitted including patients with cancer, end-stage heart and lung disease or ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
Sometimes hospice patients develop symptoms that are not easily manageable with routine care in the home and require more intense medical treatment. Whenever situations arise that require additional attention that cannot be provided at home, inpatient hospice care is available. Inpatient hospice facilities provide care and comfort to end-of-life patients and their families in a peaceful, home-like setting.
Whenever a patient cannot get adequate treatment at home and needs inpatient care, UnityPoint Hospice has a professional staff that is available 24 hours a day to provide medical care in a supportive environment for the patient. Inpatient hospice care can also be provided by a patient's hospice care team in a hospital or nursing home when a dedicated hospice facility is not available in a community. Inpatient hospice care is considered short-term care, so as soon as the symptoms are manageable again by the primary caregiver, the patient would be discharged.
Inpatient hospice care services include:
- Nursing care
- Social services
- Spiritual care
- Hospice aides
- Comfort therapies, such as music, art and pet therapy
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Oxygen and special medications, such as chemotherapy (for symptom management only, not for curative treatment)
- Volunteer companionship
Types of Inpatient Care
The most basic level of inpatient care is Residential Inpatient Care. This is when a patient needs to be more closely monitored than what a primary caregiver at home can provide.
General Inpatient Care is necessary when there is an onset of uncontrolled pain and symptoms that cannot be managed successfully at home or needs more intensive treatment than what is provided in residential inpatient care. It can be due to the frequency or aggressive nature of the pain or symptoms. It is still considered short-term care, so as soon as the pain and symptoms are manageable, the patient is moved back to residential inpatient or home hospice care.
It can be physically and emotionally demanding to take care of a loved one who is in the final stages of life. Sometimes the only way for primary caregivers to continue to provide quality hospice care for a patient is to allow themselves to have a rest or respite. Respite Inpatient Care is offered for hospice patients whose primary caregivers need a break, which is normal and often necessary for the physical and emotional well-being of the caregiver.