Hospice care offers end-of-life comfort and support to patients suffering from a terminal illness. The person who is about to die wants to spend a peaceful and comfortable time no doubt. At the same time, they wish to be independent and have their values and preferences respected.
Most Americans wish to die peacefully at their homes surrounded by their loved ones. They also have certain fears like losing control, suffering in pain, being abandoned or becoming a burden to others. Hospice care gives the patients and their family peace of mind.
Hospice programs help with the following aspects:
- Pain management
- Arrange medical supplies, medication, and equipment
- Teach the family members how to take care of their loved ones who are in pain
- Provide emotional and spiritual support with the aspects of death
- Offer special services such as physical therapy and speech therapy
- Provide counseling to the family and friends of the patient
The Approach of Hospice Care
When the cure of the disease is no longer possible, with hospice care, patients are able to maintain a good quality of life and die with dignity. The care plan focuses on managing the symptoms of the disease so that the person can spend the last days of their lives in a comfortable way surrounded by their loved ones.
Apart from hospice care itself, the patients are also provided with palliative care. It is the type of care that is directed towards giving comfort. Symptoms such as nausea, physical pain, confusion and breathing issues are addressed. As per the law, hospice programs must provide bereavement counseling to patients for up to a year.
Reasons to Choose Hospice Care
There are plenty of reasons that explain why Hospice care is necessary or should be chosen by a patient:
- Better quality of life
The first and foremost reason to seek hospice care is to improve the quality of life. The patient is provided with counseling, support, and community services to reduce stress. Nutritionists, social workers, doctors, and nurses who specialize in pain management, pharmacists, rehab specialists etc. together design a treatment plan to improve the patient’s quality of life.
- Reduce the depression
Apart from providing relief from symptoms, hospice care also offers relief from pain. The aim of the care is to make the patient feel better. When a patient realizes that their life is about to end, they often go into the phase of depression. Hospice care also helps them talk about their feelings and fight depression.
- Spend less time in the hospital
Neither the patent nor their family likes spending time at the hospital. Since the goal of the care is to improve the patient’s quality of life, they are able to receive the necessary care at home.
Other Reasons to Choose Hospice Care
- A patient can receive the end of life care at the comfort of his own home instead of the hospital.
- The patient is surrounded by a team of caregivers, social workers, therapists, and pain management specialists who offer them emotional, physical and spiritual support.
- Pain management ensures that the patient spends the rest of the days of their life in a comfortable and peaceful way.
- The medications, equipment and other supplies are provided to the patient at minimum or no cost. It’s part of the Medicare plan.
- The patient is free to choose where they want to receive the hospice care – at their residential facility, hospice center or the nursing home.
- The patient will have access to the hospice team 24/7.
- Some hospice care services also include meal preparation, patient support and running errands.
- Greif support is provided to the family members of the patient prior to and after the death of the loved one.
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Why Choose Hospice Care Early
You are eligible for hospice care as soon as your physician advises that you have a terminal disease and you have 6 months to live.
It is never wise to delay hospice care. Don’t keep it for the last few days of your life. Choosing hospice care earlier does not mean that you have accepted death. This program will provide care to the patient and their family to help them cope with the situation. A patient is free to leave hospice care anytime and continue their treatment.
Early hospice care allows you to manage pain and symptoms in an effective way. This won’t just make the patient feel better, but in many cases, they live longer as well. The program helps the patient develop personal goals. As stress decreases, the quality of life of the patient improves. The patient can also receive complementary therapies like massage and music if they wish to.
Benefits of Hospice Care for Family
Hospice care is not just for the patient, it is for their family members as well. If you are thinking for more reasons to choose this program, this could be it. Here are some benefits this program can offer to the patient’s family members:
- Family learns how to participate in the care of the patient and develop a connection with them in their final months.
- They learn how to improve the quality of life of their loved one.
- The family learns how to deal with their emotions and accept the process of death of their loved one.
- They develop an early connection with the bereavement team.
- The patient and the family members get a comfortable and safe environment where they can open up and share their feelings.
When a patient decides to choose hospice care, the focus shifts from treating the underlying disease to providing care for managing the pain and other symptoms. The hospice team does everything in their power to make the rest of the life of the patient as comfortable as possible. The only way patients and their family members can reap the most benefits out of hospice care if they are admitted earlier. Therefore, it is recommended to have a conversation about hospice care with your doctor as soon as you get to know the disease you are suffering from can no longer be cured.