November is National Home Care & Hospice Month.
The most common myth about hospice is that it means a patient is “giving up hope” to live.
Choosing to have hospice care, is actually the opposite of giving up. Hospice is choosing a philosophy of care that focuses on providing the best quality of life wherever you are — at home or at a facility. At CHP Home Care & Hospice, we focus on your physical, spiritual, and emotional needs and we provide a team of professionals who come to you.
Hospice care specializes in pain and symptom management for those battling an end-stage or terminal illness. It simply means that the focus has shifted to improving a patient’s quality of life rather than trying to cure the disease.
Studies show that hospice can improve the quality of life, and in some cases prolong the lives of people receiving care. Patients with certain terminal diseases who chose hospice lived an average of 29 days longer than similar patients who did not receive hospice, according to a report by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
The findings not only dispel the myth that hospice hastens death, but also suggest hospice could prolong life for patients with certain conditions.
It is important to talk with your loved ones about what you want for your care, especially when you are diagnosed with a serious illness. Medicare and insurance cover a majority of hospice expenses, including medications and equipment.
Hospice services include training for family caregivers and a bereavement program that provides support after a loved one passes.
When Is It Time for Hospice?
The decision to transition to hospice care is difficult, and it will be entirely based on a patient’s specific circumstances. Hospice care is often recommended when a patient’s doctor has given them six months or fewer to live.
Many people delay seeking hospice care. The earlier you look into hospice, though, the sooner you can begin alleviating the pain and suffering from a condition that can only worsen.
Some indicators can help guide the decision to turn to hospice care:
- If a patient sees a rapid decline in health and is not responding to treatments.
- If hospital admissions and emergency-room visits become increasingly common.
- If your loved one sees progressive weight loss.
- If you notice changes in your loved one’s mental abilities.
Turning to hospice care requires hard conversations among family members, patients, and physicians. The most important thing to remember is the ultimate goal: managing symptoms and raising the quality of life in a patient’s final months.
Turning to hospice earlier — no matter how difficult the decision may be — can increase comfort and quality of life as a patient nears their passing. Hospice care can be a great source of dignity for terminal patients and a means of coping for them and their loved ones.