Stage IV lung cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease—the list of diagnoses that significantly affect the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of patients and their families goes on and on. Research shows that providing hospice services early in advanced illnesses, such as those mentioned above, can profoundly improve quality of life. This is the reason why at Chapters Health System, we offer another choice—Open Access.
When faced with a choice between hospice and curative care, most patients delay an admission to hospice and wait until the last few weeks, or even days, of life. At Chapters Health and its affiliates—Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice—patients do not have to choose. We recognize the unique needs of patients with certain medical conditions who might benefit from the continuation of their current palliative treatments, often described at times as curative.
We are committed to offering the Open Access therapeutic approach so patients don’t have to choose between receiving hospice services that help improve their quality of life or palliative care that brings them comfort from pain and symptoms. Palliative measures may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, blood transfusions and cardiovascular therapies.
We focus on making our patients comfortable.
What are Some Examples of Open Access Therapies?
- Radiation and chemotherapy, which can assist in decreasing pain and symptoms associated with a cancer diagnosis.
- Blood transfusions, which can boost patients’ blood volumes to help avoid fatigue and shortness of breath.
- Artificial nutrition or hydration (e.g., feeding tube), which is helpful to patients with esophageal or colon cancer who cannot get or tolerate adequate nutrition by mouth.
- Cardiac infusions, which can help maintain heart function and treat shortness of breath, fatigue and weakness.
What are the Benefits of the Open Access Approach to Hospice?
In a study published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the authors state that the Open Access approach gives patients the medical comfort and social support traditionally available through hospice care while, at the same time, letting them receive sophisticated medical treatments that may slow their disease.
With a coordinated and multidisciplinary approach, Open Access offers patients and families:
- Options that can be customized for each patient’s individual plan of care
- More effective symptom and pain control
- Decrease in re-hospitalizations and fewer days in intensive-care units
- Improve quality of life and patient mood