Hospice Care and Control of Infection

What is Hospice Care

Hospice is sought after when a person is nearing end of life. It focuses on the quality of life, comfort, and maintenance of an individual as opposed to drastic measures and invasive treatments (National Institute of Health).

Prior to enrolling under hospice care, medical doctors must determine that the patient has 6 months or less to live, provided the disease supervises its natural course.

Patient must also acknowledge that his or her disease is not reacting to the medical treatment to stop or reduce its progression. While hospice care provides support for the family along with comprehensive comfort; efforts to treat the individual's disease are stopped.

It is imperative to consider the options of hospice care with a doctor and to do your own research when looking seeking the right hospice. Occasionally, hospice is not considered until last minute depriving ones use of its full potential (National Institute of Health).

Hospice Care Benefits

Hospice patients express great satisfaction with their end-of-life treatment in comparison those who don't use hospice care: as they are less likely to be given medications or tests they do not need.

As opposed to aggressive treatment, hospice patients focus on pain management more than those who did not receive hospice services (National Institute of Health).

Hospice care is composed of individuals with high skills, trained volunteers, spiritual advisors, social workers, doctors, and nurses all with the same goal— patient comfort. They work hard with the individual at the end of life, with the caregiver and family to provide spiritual, emotional, and medical support needed (National Institute of Health). 

It is very important to remember that discontinuing the medical care aimed at curing a disease does not mean stopping all treatment. An example is an aged person with cancer.

If the doctor discovered that the cancer is not responding to aggressive treatments and the person decides to enter hospice care, then, aggressive treatments would be stopped but the painkillers and other comfort measures would not be (National Institute of Health).

A Hospice Perspective: Infection Control

Prevention and control of infection are paramount to secure the safety of an individual within a healthcare program. Independent sectors of hospice care in England offer professional care, and to keep operating, they must be able to indicate the strategies of reducing risk factors of infection to comply with the UK Health Act (2006).

Using the framework of clinical governance, one can ensure that the procedures, processes, and policies are in place for the control of infection in hospice care (Chilvers et al.,2009).

Universal implementations should be standard. This makes sure that this evidence-based knowledge is communicated towards required goals.

Updating the training program helps to achieve this objective through educational workshops.

Another healthcare measure to control infection in hospice care is to minimize the dissemination of disease from health provider workers to other individuals by providing personal protective equipment to the healthcare providers (Chilvers et al.,2009).


Hospice Care and Infection Management at the End of Life

An important health care sector is the hospice care sector attached to the nursing homes that provide care at the end of life with the help of skilled nurses.

Nursing home residents with long-term infections have different health care requirements than the individuals of hospice care to which even a short-term infection can prove fatal receive.

For these individuals, rehabilitative care or acute care is provided in hospice care (Bale et al.,2017). Long-term nursing home residents are more likely to have at least two chronic conditions toward end of life.

For them, hospice care is provided in nursing homes. Infections are most common as the individual approaches the end of their lives and are linked with high rates of mortality or morbidity.

Furthermore, infection is also an important risk factor for burdensome care transitions, for example, transferring a patient from the nursing home to a hospice care facility (Bale et al.,2017).  

Systematic efforts have been made to increase the use of antibiotics and to reduce their adverse effects. Research suggests hospice care programs are highly productive in the reduction of adverse effects related to antibiotics along with care-related costs.

Previous researchers have found that hospice care is a highly productive approach and meets these three important goals in healthcare at the terminal life:

  1. Improved health
  2. Improved care experience
  3. Minimized use of unnecessary medical intervention (Bale et al.,2017)

HouseCall MD is Your Hospice Care Partner

At HouseCall MD, we take an individualized approach to care, knowing no single care plan works for all. When it comes to hospice care, the team focuses on keeping the patient comfortable, while supporting the needs of the family. 

Learn about our approach to hospice care service

Call us at 626-765-4321 if you need our help. 


Chilvers R. Infection control: a hospice perspective. J Hosp Infect. 2009 Jul;72(3):262-5. Doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2009.03.004. Epub 2009 Apr 19. PMID: 19380182.

Bale T P-114 The role of the infection prevention nurse in the hospice setting

BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care 2017;7:A50.

What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?. (2021). Retrieved 9 June 2021, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-palliative-care-and-hospice-care