Understanding Common Terms
The thought of exploring the option of hospice or palliative care can be pretty daunting. As you’re doing the research and asking questions, there may be terms that are unfamiliar to you. To help you in conversations and be more comfortable discussing care, we have put this list together of commonly used terms.
Advance Care Planning: Actually making a plan about the healthcare a patient would want if they could no longer speak or have the capacity to make their own decisions.
Bereavement: Grief following the death of a loved one. Grief can also happen when anticipating the death of a loved one with a terminal illness.
Curative Care: Refers to medical treatment that aims to cure the patient, not just reduce their pain or discomfort. For example, chemotherapy is used as curative care to cure cancer patients.
Durable Medical Equipment (DME): Refers to equipment that provides therapeutic benefits to a patient. Equipment may include hospital beds, walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen tank, among others.
Holistic Services: Non-traditional forms of treatment, such as music or art therapy, to care for the whole patient, not just their disease
Hospice Care Team: Includes the healthcare professionals, such as registered nurse, physician, volunteer and bereavement specialist, who work together to take care of the patient.
Inpatient Care: Health care provided 24/7 in a facility when the patient’s symptoms need to be continuously monitored or their needs are greater than could be managed at home.
Inpatient Unit: Refers to the physical floor or wing of a healthcare facility dedicated to patients near end of life.
Life-sustaining Treatment: A treatment or physical device that replaces or supports a vital physical function, such as kidney dialysis, IVs and respirator.
Medical Power of Attorney: A person selected by the patient to make healthcare decisions on his/her behalf when they are no longer capable to make the decisions on their own.