The very thought of hiring hospice care for a loved one is scary. Unfortunately, many families put themselves through much more pain and burden because they don’t want to admit that a loved one needs hospice. They continue to care for their loved one and deny the fact that the end may be near. While hospice care is not a decision that should be taken lightly, it could offer much help, support and relief for your family.
You may want to consider hospice care if your loved one:
Has a chronic disease or illness that will shorten their life
Has a condition that is incurable
Wants to spend their final days as comfortably as possible in a setting of their choice
Wants family to participate in their end-of-life care
Wants to terminate treatment because it is more of a burden than relief, or because it is no longer effective
Was given 6 months or less to live
It’s important to keep in mind that hospice care is available for individuals who are in the last stages of an illness, not just the final days or hours of their death. They may have several more months to live, but they want to spend this time in their own home with family and friends. A hospice care agency may be contacted by your family, and a physician’s order will be arranged for final approval. Once the hospice care staff receives approval, care can begin.
Some families believe that by hiring hospice care, they are “giving up.” This is not true in any way. The main goal of hospice is to keep the patient comfortable as they go through the final stages of their illness. Any signs of distress are immediately tended to, but the illness itself is no longer treated. Your loved one’s body will start to shut down over time, but with hospice care, they will be kept comfortable and in the care of someone at all times.
Hospice care serves patients with all types of conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, heart and liver diseases and COPD. Caregivers also provide emotional and spiritual support for the family. Losing a loved one is never an easy or acceptable experience, no matter how prepared you think you are. But hospice care is available to help, and it’s important to acknowledge when it’s time for this level of caregiving.