Hospice as a Model for Caregiving

By Marcia Lattanzi-Licht, Hospice Foundation of America

The partnership formed between a family and hospice professionals can ensure quality care for a person who is dying. Hospice supportive services are designed to offer information and back-up to family members so that they will be more able to care for their loved one. Hospice care focuses on addressing some central goals (From Lattanzi-Licht, Mahoney, & Miller, 1998):

  • To support individuals and families coping with dying
  • To enhance quality of life through comfort care rather than treatment focused on cure
  • To aggressively treat and expertly manage all pain and physical symptoms associated with an individual's dying
  • To care for the whole person, addressing physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social needs through an interdisciplinary team approach
  • To confirm the individual's and family's sense of self worth, individuality, autonomy, and security
  • To acknowledge and offer support for individuals and their family members facing the losses and grief associated with dying and the death of a loved one
  • To extend bereavement support for family members following the death of their loved one
  • To be a positive influence upon the understanding, compassionate treatment, and care of the dying and bereaved

These overall goals are the foundation for hospice and form the value base for its services and activities. When caregiving is offered in the context of these desirable approaches, the individual who is ill experiences an enhanced sense of security and worth. Caregiving that is grounded in a philosophy of caring that respects the wishes of the person who is ill and the family, and maximizes their functioning, represents the kind of support people appreciate most. While many are familiar with the principles of hospice, it is important to explore the application of these principles. The values of hospice represent universal approaches to caregiving and create a blueprint that advances the human experiences of caring.

By Marcia Lattanzi-Licht

©2008 Hospice Foundation of America. All Rights Reserved

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