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When It Comes To End Of Life issues, You Should Know These Facts About Hospice Care


I recently had a conversation with a family whose loved one was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The loved one was taking a drug that caused some very severe reactions including nose bleeds, diarrhea, and skin outbreak. The person’s primary care physician encouraged the family to keep the patient on the drug, as it could add some precious time to her life. In contrast, the physician at the nursing home where she was completing her rehabilitation encouraged the family to place her on hospice, rather than prolong her life. As this raises very emotional and controversial issues, I have asked the experts at Rainbow Hospice to provide an explanation of hospice care, what it is and is not.

Understanding Hospice

Valerie Nikolas
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Rainbow Hospice & Palliative Care

What is hospice?

  • Comfort care
  • Support and encouragement
  • A celebration of life

Hospice is physical, emotional and spiritual support for patients and families living with serious illness. The goal of hospice care is to provide pain and symptom management as well as comfort, but not to offer a cure.

Hospice is not a place, but rather a type of care that can take place in a variety of settings. Most of the time, hospice care is provided in the patient’s home, but it can also be at a hospice center, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Patients are cared for by teams consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and home health aides, along with music, massage, art and pet therapists. Additional support comes from a network of passionate volunteers who have undergone extensive training. The care team addresses the patient’s needs and goals by working with his or her family as well as existing doctors to establish an individualized care plan.

Families also have access to bereavement counselors. These services are typically offered after a patient passes away, but can be called upon to offer support to families at any step of the way. Grief and Loss Services at Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care include one-on-one counseling, workshops, support groups, ongoing education and specialty programs for children, teens and families.

What do patients and families say about hospice?

“I wish we had taken advantage of Rainbow’s services sooner.” That’s what we hear regularly from our patients and families. They are genuinely surprised and relieved by the comfort and peace hospice care brings–to all parties involved.

Through community education and relationships with doctors and hospitals, we work to ensure that families understand what hospice offers.Everyone at Rainbow considers it a privilege to serve patients and families. One of our nursing aides summed up our feelings well when she said, “There is nothing wrong with being comfortable at the end of your life–and we are blessed to be able to bring that comfort.”

Please visit or call 847-685-9900 to learn more about our services. Special thanks to Tori Engstrom-Goehry, Care Coordination Liaison, who has taught so many of us about Hospice Care.

For all of your senior living needs, contact Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.

Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors
497 Shire Circle
Inverness, IL 60067
Phone: 847.934.5303
Cell: 708.415.2934