Bringing Comfort and Dignity to Patients at the End of Life

By Tiffany Parnell
Friday, October 6, 2017

Hospice and palliative care services are vital components of terminal disease management. From in-home nursing care and 24-hour on-call support to family bereavement services, Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care offers comprehensive end-of-life support.

Angel Rodriguez, MD, Medical Director of Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care

Angel Rodriguez, MD, Medical Director of Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care

Hospice services are often underutilized, but their benefits are wide-ranging. Hospice helps ensure patients have adequate pain and symptom control and that their medical care aligns with their goals and wishes. It also plays a role in controlling healthcare costs. A 2014 JAMA study found that Medicare beneficiaries with poor-prognosis cancers who received hospice services had lower rates of hospitalization and ICU admission, as well as significantly lower total healthcare costs, during the final months of their lives.

A Coordinated Effort

Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care has served regional physicians and families since 1984. Local patients with a life expectancy of less than six months who have opted to forgo curative therapy can access care in their homes, inpatient hospice units, and assisted-living or skilled-nursing facilities.

The hospice and palliative care team consists of a physician medical director, chaplain, bereavement coordinator, nurses, case managers, medical social workers, home health aides and volunteers. Because the team is small and focused, providers collaborate and get to know each patient, as well as the patient’s loved ones. The groundwork for delivering expert medical care is the team’s ability to provide personalized attention and services that meet the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of each individual patient.

“We all have the right to die with dignity, and it is important for clinicians to address end-of-life issues early enough to make a difference. This is the time when patients often require the most medical care, and we’re here to support physicians in caring for them.”
— Angel Rodriguez, MD, Medical Director of Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care

Upon referral for hospice services, a hospice nurse, case manager and social worker meet with patients to develop individual care plans. These plans, which may include physical, occupational and speech therapy, skilled nursing care, emotional support, and pain management, are then presented to the medical director and communicated to the patient’s referring physician.

“All our patients and families receive nursing, social work, pastoral care and aide services,” says Angel Rodriguez, MD, Medical Director of Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care. “We also administer medications and provide the supplies and equipment necessary to keep patients comfortable. In addition, we deliver therapy services as needed and, thanks to the Jansen Fund Board, complementary services, such as Reiki, music relaxation and massage.”

For patients in the final stage of life who need 24-hour medical support, Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care offers eleventh-hour care. This service helps ensure patients can pass in their homes instead of spending their final hours in an inpatient hospice unit. Following the death of a loved one, family members can take advantage of individual and group grief counseling and other bereavement services for up to 13 months.

“Hospice encompasses quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury,” Dr. Rodriguez says. “We help patients receive the best possible end-of-life care that respects their wishes and allows them to die pain-free and with dignity.”

Visit for additional information about Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care’s services.