Deciding to enter hospice care is never easy. Everyone involved in the decision may find themselves experiencing regret, sorrow, and confusion about what to expect. While issues of death and dying are always extremely difficult, knowing what to expect can help make the process a little more bearable.
Most know hospice as a form of care for those who are suffering from terminal illness. It’s more than just medical care, however, as clergy and social workers may be part of the hospice team in addition to physicians and nurses. Hospice helps patients and their families come to terms with this difficult event. The main goal of hospice is to make the final days of a dying person’s life as painless and comfortable as possible, while helping to bring about a sense of resolution.
One of the main qualifications in order to be eligible for hospice is that the individual must be expected to live for no longer than six months. In most cases, if the person requires additional time, their physician can extend their care. Hospice can be discontinued if the person receiving it begins to recover.
One of the first steps in going about retaining hospice services is to consult with the loved one’s primary care physician. You can also contact a hospice group or a facility, such as Raya’s Paradise, that provides hospice care. Once a hospice team is assembled, all aspects of the patient’s care will be considered and a comprehensive plan will be developed. This would include the patient’s comfort level, finances, necessary medical care and medication, as well as religious beliefs.
When determining whether hospice is appropriate, physicians will usually use the Karnofsky Performance scale. This is a set of criteria to help evaluate the patient’s general health in order to determine life expectancy. Common diseases that usually resolve in hospice include cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some may consider opting for hospice to be giving up. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, it takes a very strong person to be willing to accept help and support when it’s needed. This is not a matter of giving up, but more of doing what’s necessary at that point in time. Furthermore, by choosing hospice, your loved one will receive increased comfort and support, leading to more fulfilling and meaningful final months of life.
Discussing hospice is never easy. Nobody wants to be the first person to bring up the topic of death and dying. If you or someone you love is considering hospice, it’s important to realize that not saying anything could in fact delay hospice and cause unnecessary pain. Hospice is all about making the last stage of life as comfortable as possible. There’s no point in prolonging discomfort. Take a moment to begin the conversation now and you may help ease the suffering of a loved one.