Hospice care is end-of-life care. A team of health care professionals and volunteers provides it. They give medical, psychological, and spiritual support. The goal of the care is to help people who are dying have peace, comfort, and dignity. The caregivers try to control pain and other symptoms so a person can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. Hospice programs also provide services to support a patient’s family. ~ Source
A hospice is a health care facility that focuses on the end of life care. The aim is to make patients’ lives as comfortable and pain-free as possible, focusing on their emotional and spiritual needs. It is a difficult decision to move someone to a hospice, but the care given is specialized, sometimes it is the best option. If your loved one currently still lives at home and you are trying to decide between a nursing home or a hospice then check out this article: hospice vs nursing home.
No-one likes the thought of dealing with the loss of a loved one. As a result, many families don’t talk about the end of life care until they have to. Making such big decisions under pressure can be stressful and difficult for everyone involved.
Hospice care is only available for people who are reaching the end of their life. If your loved one is already in a nursing home that can provide end of life care, then it might be better for them to stay where they are. They will be around staff who they know and are familiar with. This can be a huge advantage in making life as comfortable as possible.
On the other hand, if you feel that the care where they are is insufficient or if they have not moved into a home yet then a hospice may be best. Moving into a hospice means that there is no hope of a cure. However, they will be made as comfortable as possible.
CaringInfo has created a worksheet you can download to help you through selecting the best hospice for you and your family. Print it out prior to calling a hospice to help ensure all your questions are answered so that you can make the right choice.
Depending on their mental state, they should be involved in the decision if possible. However, if they are not able to make this decision for themselves it is up to their family to decide. This can be stressful and may even cause arguments. However, try and communicate with each other and have conversations early if possible.
When is it time for hospice?
- The patient has 6 months or less to live, according to a physician.
- The patient is rapidly declining despite medical treatment (weight loss, mental status decline, inability to perform activities of daily living).
- The patient is ready to live more comfortably with pain management and no longer want curative treatments.
Hospices can dramatically improve someone’s quality of life, so try not to leave it until the final weeks or days. Hospices specialize in managing pain and provide support for the family too.
Hospices are not only for elderly people – there are hospices that are open for children and young adults also. So, don’t let age discourage you from choosing a hospice for your loved one. Children’s hospices often have support groups for parents and siblings. They can be hugely beneficial for everyone involved.
A person of any age is eligible for hospice care after being certified by a physician as having a life expectancy that may be six months or less, depending on the course of their disease. Another requirement is that patients who elect hospice must forgo curative treatment, either because they no longer wish to receive it or because it is no longer effective. ~ Source
If you are considering a hospice it is probably time to get some advice. The sooner you reach out for professional help the better. It doesn’t mean you are dedicating yourself to the decision just yet. The unique thing about hospice is the wholistic approach to palliative care. The patient and the family are both cared for and supported through the end-of-life process. Furthermore, if your loved one enters a hospice and improves, they can always come out and return when the time is right.
Have you had any experience with hospice care?
Do you have any advice to share with someone about hospice?