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Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Frank Davis
If you are diagnosed with an advanced cancer, please consider hospice care to help manage your symptoms. It is designed to provide comfort, not cure. The goal of providing hospice care is to improve quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones. It provides support for the dying process in which physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs are addressed.
As the disease progresses, many patients experience weight loss; pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. Some of these symptoms may require medical attention. As an individual’s condition changes, so do their needs and the services provided by hospice.
This article will discuss ways in which ways hospice is able to help patients with advanced cancer.
What does hospice do for cancer patients
Hospice care for cancer focuses on using medications and other treatments as needed, as opposed to curing the disease. The goal is to keep a person as comfortable as possible during their declining health. Hospice care is designed to improve quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones.
Hospice care for cancer patients is provided by a multidisciplinary healthcare team. This team may include physicians, nurses, social workers, pastoral counselors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, home health aides, and volunteers. Many hospice programs provide care in the individual’s home or other familiar environment. Hospice services are covered by Medicare on a routine basis after the initial diagnosis of the terminal illness.
Medical care is tailored to fit each individual’s unique physical, mental, and spiritual needs. A physician will also develop a plan of care so that everyone knows what is expected of them throughout the process.
Hospice care may include the following services:
- Pain, symptom management – Medications are prescribed to treat symptoms of pain and other unpleasant symptoms. These medications are not meant to cure the disease. They are given as long as needed to relieve discomfort or control severe symptoms.
- Nutrition services – In some cases, new or worsening symptoms may affect a person’s appetite. In this case, an alternative diet may be prescribed.
- Respite care – Family members who provide care for their loved one at home can take a break from their responsibilities to rest and replenish themselves. They may also receive counseling, education on the disease process and coping with grief so they can become more effective caregivers.
- Social services – To help caregivers and the dying person remain as independent as possible, social workers and other professionals may:
- Spirituality – To help provide spiritual needs of the dying person, spiritual services may be provided. This includes assistance with grief and mourning, assistance with developing a plan of care, education about death and dying, and arranging for customized religious services.
- Personal care – Personal care aides are provided to help with changing dressings, bathing, grooming, showering or cleaning up after bowel movements. Some individuals may need support to do these activities on their own.
- Physical therapy services – Physical therapy can help keep muscles strong to help people get in and out of bed, take care of their own toileting, and get in and out of their wheelchair. Physical therapists can also provide exercise that builds strength.
- Medical Equipment – To maintain mobility and prevent falls, devices such as walkers, wheelchairs and hospital beds may be needed.
Hospice care for cancer patients is less expensive than treatment in an acute care hospital or skilled nursing facility. The effectiveness of hospice has been documented in numerous studies that show that people who receive hospice live about one month longer than those who don’t. There is also a decrease in pain, depression and anxiety. In addition, family caregivers who receive hospice help report less strain on their own health.
In addition to providing comfort care, hospice providers work closely with the patient and family to plan for the end of life. Each person’s wishes are taken into account throughout this process. It helps the dying person to have a trusted support system that is there for them at a time when many people feel alone and isolated.
When you or a loved one is going through a terminal illness, hospice care can provide support and services to help you and your family cope. The support provided by hospice helps your loved ones remain as comfortable as they can until their eventual passing. It also helps them maintain a sense of dignity by maintaining a sense of control over their lives. It allows them to say goodbye to those they love, and keep those they love close until the end.
If you have questions about hospice care for cancer, please call Hospice Valley of Los Angeles at (818)433-0068. We are available by phone 24/7, we hope to hear from you soon.
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