What is Jewish Hospice?
Hospice is a benefit which offers services of a physician, registered nurse and home health aide designed to help patients with advanced disease live as comfortably and productively for as long as possible. If and when the physician says that cure or treatment are no longer possible and the patient/family is interested in being cared for in accordance with his/her own religious values, it is time to identify what benefits you are entitled to.
A Jewish hospice program, such as MJHS Hospice’s Jewish program, offers the core hospice services and much more. Jewish hospice professionals are experts in pain and symptom management but also offer special consideration and attention to the patient’s emotional and spiritual well-being, shaped by the patient’s individual religious practice and observance.
Hospice is a specialized program of care and services for you or someone you love who has a life-limiting or advanced illness. Hospice focuses on providing comfort, rather than on trying to cure a condition. Hospice services aggressively treat and manage pain and other symptoms such as nausea and shortness of breath. Hospice services are usually provided in the patient’s home, but also are available in hospitals, nursing homes, in special hospice residences and in inpatient hospice units (IPU).
Five Core Jewish Values of a culturally-sensitive Jewish Hospice program:
- Dignity and Respect – All people, created in the image of God, deserve dignity and respect – particularly when confronting advanced illness. Our patients and their families are emotionally, spiritually and physically supported with the sensitivity to their thoughts, feelings, moods, culture, values and beliefs.
- Choices – Clinicians, as members of a coordinated, interdisciplinary care team, present options to the patients in a balanced manner and help families identify their goals of care in accordance with their values and desires. Our approach enables patient-autonomy and empowers families to share the values and wishes of the patient wherever the journey may lead.
- Self-Determination –It is patients’ goals and values that guide the care and decision-making, when clinically appropriate. Care choices are the patients’ and, if requested, may also be informed by their families, caregivers, spiritual guides and healthcare agents
- Hope – Each individual is entitled to live with hope. For some it is the hope to have a pain-free day for others it may be the hope to reconnect with a loved one. Hospice clinicians help patients identify their individual hopes and help nurture hopes and dreams as much as possible.
- Compassion – Perhaps the consummate Jewish value, a Jewish hospice program values providing all of our care, particularly to those with advanced illness, with compassion and respect. As did our ancestor Abraham, we strive to provide rest and refuge to those weary travelers along the journey of life before we escort them back along their way.
Services of a Jewish Hospice program:
- Involvement of the designated spiritual or religious leader is encouraged and respected
- Artificial hydration and nutrition, medication and oxygen are continued as per the family’s or rabbi’s instructions and in consultation with a physician
- DNR/DNI is not a requirement for enrollment
- Choosing to revoke the Hospice benefit remains an individual choice in order to pursue treatments not covered and the patient may elect to access the benefit and be re-admitted at a later date.
- Staff is educated to be sensitive to the family’s values and culture