Hospices deliver palliative care in three main ways:
- Hospice Home based care – mobile teams of professionally supervised trained community caregivers travel to people’s homes and support and teach families to provide care at home. This is the primary means of service delivery for patients who are home-bound. Not only is this cost effective, but it also allows the patient to be at home where they often prefer to be.
- Hospice Community centres – many hospices work from established bases within the community. At these bases they will meet with groups of people who have palliative care needs. The type of patient who would attend these meetings is still reasonably well and mobile. Doctors, nurses, social workers and other professionals will attend the centres regularly to assist those with individual needs. These centres provide excellent forums for those facing life-limiting illness to connect meaningfully with others in support groups. At many such centres, a variety of skills are also taught and income generating projects initiated.
- Hospice In patient units – some hospices have in-patient units. This is a facility that provides 24 hour palliative care. Usually these units have a small number of beds and have specific criteria for admission. A patient who has pain that is difficult to control at home, or a patient whose family need respite, or a patient who has absolutely no support systems at home, are some of those who may be admitted at such an in-patient unit.
Outside of hospice programmes, palliative care can also be delivered by trained specialists across the health care continuum. Some hospitals have palliative care teams or wards. Through HPCA driven initiatives, many doctors, nurses, pastors and social workers from NGO’s, the public and private health care sector are receiving training in palliative care and are providing this special brand of care.