What is Hospice Care? Hospice care is a program that provides care and assistance to patients and their loved ones when the patient’s illness does not respond to, or has stopped responding to, medical treatments intended to cure the disease.
In This Hospice Care Article:
Hospice care patients are provided with a special level of professional care, including pain management, support services and other care services that will help enhance the patient’s ability to live out his or her last days comfortably and with dignity.
Hospice caregivers also work with the patient’s family to provide emotional and spiritual support during the patient’s final days, as well as to provide bereavement and counseling services both prior to and following the passing of their loved one.
Hospice is a commonly used comfort-oriented program of care for patients who are terminally ill, however, there are several myths that exist, which makes it difficult for those unacquainted with this program to understand what to expect or what services are available to them.
One of the most prevalent myths about hospice is that it is more expensive than conventional care. In reality, it is often less expensive, particularly because the vast majority of daily patient care is provided by loved ones and volunteers.
Another common myth about hospice care is that the patient will no longer be able to work with the doctor with whom they are comfortable. This is not true, however, since hospice doctors regularly work alongside a patient’s regular doctor to establish a care plan.
When your parent or loved one is receiving hospice care, you may not be sure how you can provide support through his or her final days, weeks or months. To determine how you can provide support to your loved one in a hospice care facility, consider the type of support you would like to have from your friends and family as you face passing on.
Three of the most important things you can do to provide support to your loved one are:
1. Create a comfortable, peaceful environment – Fill your loved one’s space with his or her favorite things and items that are reminders of life, loved ones and accomplishments.
2. Listen to his or her stories and provide reassurance that life had meaning – Encourage your loved one to relive happy memories and accomplishments throughout his or her life by asking questions and listening to stories. This is the time to tell your loved one how much you care, how proud you are of his or her accomplishments and what he or she continues to mean to you.
3. Let your loved one know it is okay to move on – Patients often must overcome their fear of dying in order to have a more peaceful passing. However, it is common for patients to continue to face emotional obstacles after they have dealt with this fear, because they may remain concerned that they are leaving unfinished business and leaving behind the ones they love. Assist your loved one in passing peacefully by reassuring him or her that things are taken cared of and that he or she will always be remembered fondly and that it is okay to move on.
Hospice care is not intended to prolong life or accelerate death. Hospice care programs across the country operate with the primary goal of providing support to patients and families as the patient nears his or her final days. Hospice care may not be right for everyone and every situation. It may also be difficult to determine the appropriate time for hospice care.
If you have questions about hospice care services, would like to explore whether or not this option is right for your loved one, or would like to request a patient evaluation to determine the proper timing for hospice care, contact your local hospice program. You can also call the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at 800-658-8898.
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About the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of SeniorCareHomes.com – A trusted and comprehensive online directory of Senior Care Homes such as Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and other types of Senior Housing in California, Florida, New York, Arizona and the rest of the United States. SeniorCareHomes.com also provides FREE Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best Senior Housing on the planet!
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