When most people hear the term hospice care, they think that accepting the care means that they are giving up on their loved one. It is common for people to think that hospice care is only a service provided for those who will pass away within a few days or a few weeks. The truth is that hospice care is a form of medical care with the goal of maintaining or improving the quality of life for the person when their condition, illness, or disease is unlikely to be cured. In order to be eligible for hospice services the individual must meet hospice criteria and their medical provider has diagnosed them with six months or less to live, if their disease or illness follows the typical course. When hospice is called in, it means that the person is no longer seeking curative treatment for their disease; however, it doesn’t mean that hospice is just for dying nor do they rush the dying process. Hospice is available for a range of things, from helping ensure your loved one is comfortable to helping the family through the grief process.
Hospice care providers are specially trained to provide end-of-life care. Nursing support is available to the patient as well as their family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They offer hands-on-care to help with pain management as well as other symptoms of the illness. When an individual begins receiving hospice care, one of the first things they do is a medication review. The review is designed to make sure the patient is getting the best combination of medications for their current needs and goals. A hospice care kit is a set of prescription medications that are kept in the patient’s home for a medical crisis. The actual contents of the kit vary; however, a basic kit contains medications for pain, nausea, anxiety, breathing problems, and insomnia. The family is provided education on when and how the medications will be beneficial for their loved one.
Your loved one’s hospice team will provide family members with education about the illness, how the illness may progress and how to care for your loved one. They will also show you how to administer medications, answer all of your questions and honestly discuss what to expect as end-of-life approaches.
Caregivers are often responsible for assisting their loved ones with personal hygiene needs, which often puts undue stress on both the caregiver and the patient. Hospice aides are available to reduce the stress on the caregivers by assisting with everyday tasks, such as bathing and dressing. Their services allow your loved ones to maintain their dignity and independence, which is essential in comfort for the patient.
Your loved one’s hospice care team is there to help their patient as well as their family. Whether a family member is having difficulties with their loved one’s diagnosis, accessing resources for all aspects of their loved one’s life, such as financial concerns, support groups, living arrangements, advance directive planning, and funeral arrangements, the hospice care team is there for education, advice, and comfort.
It is extremely important to understand that those who utilize hospice care do not pass away faster. In fact, some patients in hospice care may live longer simply because of the improved quality of life. The primary difference between regular medical care and hospice care is that the primary focus is no longer dependent on curing the patient, but ensures they are comfortable, have reduced stress and anxiety, and have an ease in pain. Whether it is emotional, spiritual, or physical needs, hospice care teams are there for the patient and their family.
To learn more information about end-of-life services and how hospice care may be beneficial for your loved one, contact 1st Meridian Care Services.