Families in Texas may benefit from learning more about the hospice care laws in the state. Texas Health and Human Services describe a hospice as a medical-directed, interdisciplinary team-managed program of services focused on a terminal patient and their family. Hospice programs are designed to address the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient. Hospices can also provide assistance to the family’s caregivers as well.
Understanding hospice in Texas
Unlike palliative care, the focus in hospice shifts from treating the life-limiting illness, to providing the patient with support, comfort and dignity during their final days. In order to qualify for hospice care, a hospice doctor and regular physician must certify that the patient is terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less. While families and medical professionals provide supportive input, ultimately it’s up to the patient to decide if it’s time for hospice care.
Entering into hospice
To receive hospice care, patients must accept care for comfort and quality of life instead of care for treatment. Concurrent care may be available to patients younger than 21. Hospice care is often at home, but can also occur at an assisted living center, nursing home, hospital, group home or other similar facilities. The core hospice team typically includes the doctor, nurse, social worker and spiritual leader. Other specialists involved may include counselors, home health aides, therapists and trained volunteers.
Working with the hospice team
The primary responsibilities of the interdisciplinary hospice team include managing the patient’s pain and non-pain symptoms, dividing emotional support and providing the necessary medications, supplies and equipment. The team also coaches family caretakers and provides them with respite. The team may also provide specialized therapies as needed. The hospice team may also provide inpatient care and grief support.