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Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by Frank Davis
Hospice care is a type of care used when a life-threatening illness or condition has been diagnosed and a patient is expected to live six months or less. Some people prefer hospice over the hospital, not only because there is less medical staff on hand but because hospices are often housed in more home-like settings than hospitals. A patient in a hospice is typically accompanied by a team of doctors, nurses, and other support staff who help the patient manage their illness.
This post is intended to provide basic information on hospice care so that patients and their loved ones might be more knowledgeable about this program when considering it as an end of life option.
What it means to be in hospice care
Hospice care is a palliative treatment option that focuses on comfort and pain relief for people with life-limiting, incurable illnesses. Patients are often able to live at home or in a private-duty care facility, and spend their time with loved ones instead of medical professionals. Hospice care is administered by licensed hospice services providers, who aim to provide patients with relief from symptoms of advanced illness, help them live as actively as possible, and enhance the quality of life for patients and their loved ones.
When someone is in hospice care, it means that their medical condition has become too severe to treat, and they are nearing the end of life. Many activities that were once part of their daily routine have been eliminated or greatly reduced. With a hospice diagnosis, a patient is expected to live 6 months or less, if the disease runs its normal course. Hospice services are available to anyone with a terminal illness or life-limiting disease that is expected to result in death.
Hospice care can benefit both the patient and their family. The focus of hospice care is not on treating the disease, but rather on helping the patient maintain comfort and dignity while living out their final days. This means that patients are able to spend time with family members, focusing on memories instead of medical treatments. Family members also benefit from being able to help their loved one manage symptoms of illness, and bond with them in a way most people never have the opportunity to do. In addition, hospice services providers coordinate with physicians and medical professionals to ensure that patients receive any treatments that are indicated to maintain comfort. Depending on the patient’s prognosis, in some cases, hospice care is also available in addition to other treatments.
What it means for family members
Family members are often worried when a loved one receives a Life-Threatening Illness or Condition and learns that they will be placed into hospice care. The transition from an active life to a sedentary one isn’t easy. However, by spending time with their loved one and focusing on their care and comfort, family members can ease the burden of the disease and help provide support. One of the key benefits of hospice care is the support and socialization opportunities for family members. When a loved one is in hospice care, family members are encouraged to visit with them as often as possible. This provides the patient with comfort and support, and allows for more meaningful conversations and bonding experiences. It also provides important time for family members to express how they feel about their loved one’s terminal illness.
Why choose hospice for end-of-life care?
Hospice is ideal for patients who are at the final stages of a terminal illness. It is not the best choice in the earlier stages of an illness when there are still many treatment options available. Patients who want to maximize their comfort and be able to spend time with family members, rather than being in the hospital, are good candidates for hospice care. The benefits of hospice care include:
- Care in the comfort and privacy of the patient’s home or at a private duty facility
- An individualized, symptom-specific approach that is geared to each patient’s situation
- Reduction in medical treatments
- Compassionate, experienced doctors and nurses who are closely involved with the patient
- A more positive experience for the patient and family, where focus is shifted from treating illness to remembering life
- A better quality of life and comfort for the patient and their loved ones
- Bereavement services to support for family members before and after the patient has passed.
Under a hospice care plan, a patient is usually given a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Hospice care may be used for patients with terminal cancer, neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, severe respiratory diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis, end-stage cardiovascular disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF), and other forms of terminal illnesses. Patients may receive hospice services outside the home depending on their medical condition and any special requirements that may be necessary. Hospice services providers cover medical expenses for in-home equipment and supplies like wheelchairs, hospital beds and oxygen tanks. They also cover the cost of prescription medications that have been authorized by a doctor.
Hospice care is a unique form of end-of-life care that can benefit both patients and their loved ones. Hospice services aim to provide comfort and relief for patients, instead of focusing on treating the disease. Hospice provides a level of comfort and support that a patient might not receive in a hospital, and allows patients to spend time with their family members instead of being hospitalized.
To conclude, the choice about which type of end-of-life care to use is ultimately a personal one. Depending on your situation and preferences, you may prefer to choose hospice over other options. No matter what choice you make, we encourage you to discuss your options with your doctor and loved ones so you can make an informed decision about how best to care for yourself and those your loved one.
Our team at Hospice Valley of Los Angeles is dedicated to providing you with excellent care and compassionate service. Please contact us at (818)433-0068 for any assistance or questions you may have. We look forward to serving you and your family!
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