End of Life Care
At SMCH, our goal is to provide you and your family with an exceptional health care experience under any circumstances. That may mean during the end of life journey. Our goal is to provide families and patients with compassionate care, support, comfort and dignity at the end of life. We want to ensure you have access to the resources you need to make this journey as smooth as possible and allow patients and families to focus on what really matters during this time - each other.
Indicators for End of Life
- chronic disease with eventual end in death or terminal illness
- Increase in hospitalization
- ER visits
- mental status changes
- changes in ability to care for self
- withdrawal or lack of interest from social activities, hobbies or from family
- loss of appetite, weight changes
- increase in time spent sleeping
- increase or worsening of symptoms related to their chronic or terminal disease
SMCH partners with various hospice organizations to ensure the patient and the loved ones are cared for throughout the end of life journey. Hospice services can be provided in the patient's home environment. However, there are circumstances in which hospice care can be provided in the hospital setting as well. (This is usually short term). Hospice services focus first on the physical comfort and needs of the patient. It also focuses on the mental, emotional, social, bereavement and spiritual needs of the patient and family. Hospice provides a team approach to manage the patient's symptoms and needs. This team may include: your primary medical provider, nurses, social worker, aide, chaplain, pharmacist, and homemakers. Some hospice agencies offer additional services, such as massage or music therapy. Hospice care is focused more on the comfort and quality of life of the patient, rather than on the extending of life. Hospice services are typically covered under Medicare and most insurances.
There are also times that end of life care, or comfort care, is provided without hospice involvement. In those cases SMCH staff provide emotional support and loving care to the patient and families. SMCH staff can help explain the options, resources and choices you have available to you (hospice, other care at home, family caregiving, etc). We can walk with you during this emotional and stressful time, allowing patients to be with their loved ones and spend their last days in the manner that they wish. Education for the patient and family, as well as emotional support plays a key role during this time.
Our Partners in End of Life Care
We have contracts with: Unity Point At Home, Kindred Hospice and St Croix Hospice to offer the comfort, care and resources you and your loved ones may need for end of life care.