Each of us is unique in our own way. We have personal likes and dislikes. We all have different values, priorities, desires, fears, interpersonal relationships, spiritual beliefs, and pain thresholds. Hospice Interdisciplinary Teams (IDT) take all these things into consideration and work to provide care that improves quality of life for each individual patient – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Care teams work to build an individualized plan of care based on what’s most important to you and your loved ones.
The IDT is made up of several clinical professionals, each with a very specific job:
“I wish I had called hospice sooner.”
- Hospice Physician – a specialist in hospice and palliative care. Reviews your care regularly and is available to serve as back-up alongside your attending physician.
- Registered Nurse – makes scheduled visits to check vital signs, manage and address symptoms, develops and monitors the plan of care, and checks on medication refills.
- Nursing Assistant – provides personal care services, such as bathing, skin care, hair care, foot care, changing bed sheets, tidying up in the immediate area, range of motion exercises, transferring, ambulation, and other activities of daily life.
- Social worker – makes scheduled visits to help support the patient and family’s emotional and social needs. Social workers are educated in counseling, locating resources and support, and are especially sensitive to the emotional needs of anyone distressed by a life-limiting illness. They are there to help patients and families with difficulties.
- Chaplain – trained in helping address spiritual concerns. Offers support with your particular faith or denomination and can partner with your local clergy or faith community. The chaplain does not persuade you to change you own spiritual beliefs, nor do they try to replace your own faith community. He or she provides counseling, spiritual support, prayer rituals, pastoral ministry and funeral planning.
- Volunteer – trained and screened. Assists with companionship, practical and emotional support, and socialization. Your volunteer(s) may provide respite care, lend a hand with errands, light housework, and other tasks.
This is something we hear all the time. It is not surprising given the amount of care and support patients and their families receive from their IDT. Getting care early
is the key to experiencing the greatest benefits from hospice care including improved quality of life. Studies have also shown that patients who receive hospice care early in the disease process may also live longer
than those who do not receive hospice care or do not receive care until very late in the process.
Together, the IDT works to
Be assured. Patients and families receive compassionate, expert care.
- Manage the patient’s pain and symptoms
- Provide emotional support
- Provide spiritual support in additional to the patient and family’s own faith leader
- Provide needed medication, medical supplies, and equipment
- Coach loved ones on how to care for the patient
- Deliver special services like speech and physical therapy when needed
- Help find resources that the family may need
- Arrange short-term inpatient care at one of our care centers when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time
- Provide support to patients and their loved ones. Support can include conversations with the person and family members, teaching caregiving skills, prayer, telephone calls, and more
- A member of Lower Cape Fear LifeCare’s clinical team is available 24/7 to meet the needs of you and your loved ones – we’re always just a phone call away.
- Every physician at Lower Cape Fear LifeCare is certified in hospice and palliative care.
- Many of our nurses and nursing assistants have also earned their certification in hospice and palliative care.
- Where some hospices decrease home visits as end of life nears, our teams increase visits to ensure each patient’s and family’s needs are met at the most crucial of times.
- If pain and symptoms cannot be managed in a residential setting, our serene, home-like hospice care centers provide around-the-clock care and support. Lower Cape Fear LifeCare is the only regional hospice provider to operate such facilities exclusively for their patients.
To find out if hospice care is appropriate for yourself or a loved one, take our short assessment
, or call and speak to one of our patient access specialists at 800-207-6908
Kelly Erola, MD, FAAHPM, FAAFP, is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, based in Wilmington, NC, where she has worked since 2017. Previously, she was Chief Medical Officer for Hospice Savannah, Inc. for 16 years and physician leader of the Steward Center for Palliative Care. Dr. Erola is board certified in hospice and palliative care medicine and has been involved full-time in palliative care since 2002