Hospice of Westchester brings together a team of specially trained professionals and volunteers who work with the patient’s physician to develop an individualized plan of care designed to control pain and ease end of life struggles for our patients and their families.
The Hospice Team is made up of professionals from multiple disciplines and specially trained volunteers who work under the direction of our hospice medical director.
When terminally ill patients are supported by an interdisciplinary team of skilled palliative care specialists and volunteers, the last stages of life can become a comfortable and treasured time of new hope and healing. Often, the patient’s physical, psychosocial, and spiritual suffering can be relieved through effective collaboration among the team and family members. They form a caring community in which patients can find new meaning, restored integrity, and a dignified close to life.
The Hospice Nurse is the core of the Hospice Team. The Registered Nurses distinguish themselves from their colleagues in other nursing specialty practices by their unwavering focus on end of life care, by providing expert pain and symptom management, combined with compassionate listening and counseling skills. The nurse promotes the highest quality of life for the patient and family. Regardless of the setting, the hospice nurse strives to achieve an understanding of specific end of life issues from the perspective of each patient and his/her family.
Our nurses, many of whom are Hospice certified, bring their own unique specialities to end of life care including oncology, pediatrics, cardiac, pulmonary, geriatric and wound care.
A Social Worker in the hospice and palliative care setting is the professional who helps those diagnosed with a life limiting illness, their family, and community groups to understand and navigate the multiple dimensions of dying. The Social Worker focuses on the internal and psychological coping skills of the individual and his/her family to support self worth and symptom relief, most specifically the psychosocial components related to pain.
The Spiritual Care Counselor provides an inter-faith approach to pastoral care for individuals and families of those who are facing a life limiting illness. The care is based on understanding of current theological, spiritual, religious beliefs and practices among various religious groups. They may be called upon to provide: encouragement and hope, help in finding meaning and purpose to support the patient and family when they might be feeling alone. They offer comfort and can assist with reconciliation during times of helplessness. They may offer the comfort of prayer, talk about the struggles of life, and provide solace through sacred writings.
Hospice of Westchester is able to provide care in a variety of settings. The home, which includes private homes, apartments, and assisted living facilities; Skilled Nursing Facilities, (nursing homes) and in Hospitals where we have contracts to do so. Additionally, we can offer Respite and Continuous Care. Respite Care allows rest time to the caregivers during which the patient would be cared for at one of our contracted facilities, (hospital or nursing home) for up to 5 days. Respite Care can be utilized as often as needed for 5 days at a time. Continuous Care is the highest level of care provided and is designed to give additional support during times of crisis in the home setting. In addition to the assigned care team, a nurse will remain in the home a minimum of 8 hours during a 24 hour period. This is a short term offering and need is re-evaluated every 3 days.
Hospice Care is a covered benefit under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance.
If you are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, and do not have private insurance, Hospice of Westchester will care for you with the same unmatched quality of care that we provide all of our patients.
Hospice of Westchester believes that caring for the “whole” patient is essential. The mind-body connection is a well documented relationship that has been shown to respond beneficially to Complementary and Expressive Therapies at the end of life.
Together, the patient and hospice team decide which therapy would best address symptoms of pain, stress and anxiety. We are pleased to be able to offer these therapies at no cost. All of our Hospice therapists are licensed and/or certified practitioners.
Complementary Therapies may include:
Acupuncture – has been practiced in China for thousands of years, and is a means of regulating “life force” that is thought to flow through the body by insertion of fine needles into carefully selected points. It can be used to relieve a wide variety of symptoms.
Massage Therapy – it is widely accepted that touch can relieve pain and decrease stress. Massage is a form of structured therapeutic touch, which can relax, relieve muscle tension, reduce anxiety levels, reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system and moisturize the skin. We offer massage that is tailored to the individual needs of each patient.
Reflexology – is based on the belief that specific areas of the feet and hands correspond with specific parts of the body. Gentle stimulation of these areas with the thumbs and fingers relieve stress and tension, improves circulation, promotes normal body function and results in feeling of deep relaxation.
Reiki – a therapy that has its roots in some of the ancient healing methods of Tibet. Reiki means universal life energy. The energy can be found all around us and Reiki therapists have been trained to focus on this energy and to concentrate on it flowing though their hands. A person receiving Reiki remains fully clothed, and the therapist places his/her hands on the individual, starting at the head and covering most of the body. People who receive Reiki find it very relaxing and comforting.
Expressive Therapies may include:
Art Therapy – is an opportunity for people of all ages; children, teens and adults to express themselves through art activities while dealing with stress, grief and loss. Art can produce a release of feelings that can be healing to the mind, body and spirit. Our licensed art therapists offer encouragement and guidance while emphasizing the process of the artwork.
Music Therapy – promotes quality of life, offers emotional support, and creates a feeling of overall well-being. The music therapist or practitioner uses the intrinsic healing elements of live music to provide a healing environment for patients and their families.
Patient Concerns or Questions:
Carol Townsend-Ross, RN, BSN, MPA
Director of Clinical Services