‘Rest house for travellers’: What does hospice care entail?

The word “hospice” has its roots in the Latin hospitium, which refers to hospitality, “a place of lodging” or a “guest house”. Whilst it’s easy to see the connections with caring in the etymology of the word, many people still aren’t sure what exactly hospice care entails.

To make things a little clearer, here is what hospice care offers to patients and their families.

Holistic care for patients with life-limiting illness

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, hospice care, also referred to as palliative care, offers holistic care to patients with life-limiting illness, and to their families.

Employing a range of healthcare practitioners, hospice care is given either at a palliative care facility, like HospiceWits’ in-patient unit, or at the patient’s home through the services of the homecare nurses.  

The interdisciplinary team providing care to the patient and their family consists of physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, psychologists and counsellors, and therapists. Medical professionals tend to the needs of the patient with regards to their illness, whilst mental health professionals assist the patient with their psychological needs, and also offer counselling to the patient’s family throughout the patient’s illness, and bereavement counselling when the patient has passed away.

This multi-pronged approach makes hospice care an excellent option for patients who are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, walking the full journey with the patient until the final stages of their lives. Palliation addresses the patient’s holistic needs, while also making sure that their family is prepared for whatever the future may hold.

The care offered by the HospiceWits interdisciplinary team primarily includes, but is not limited to:

– Pain management and symptom control by trained doctors and nurses.

– Counselling and support to patients and their families by psychologists, social workers and counsellors.

– Grief, loss and bereavement counselling.

The palliative care services offered by hospices are highly regarded by the myriads of people who have received hospice care themselves, or have seen the value of hospice care for their families.

If we think of ourselves as travellers through life, the origins of the word “hospice” ring particularly true. When receiving hospice care, patients are given a nurturing and caring space in their lives to take rest and live the balance of their lives to the full, pain-free and with dignity.

HospiceWits is proud to be a provider of palliative care services to patients in Johannesburg and Soweto. If you need more information about the services we offer, feel free to contact HospiceWits here, and to follow our Facebook page for regular updates.