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Last Updated on November 10, 2021 by Frank Davis
Hospice care is used for patients nearing the end of life. It can help ease their pain and allow them to die peacefully. The difference between hospice care and regular medical care is that hospice centers focus on providing comfort, palliative care, and pain relief instead of trying to cure a person’s illness. In most states, a patient must be terminally ill to receive hospice care. In other words, the patient’s disease or condition is expected to cause his or her death within six months or less.
When is hospice recommended?
To relieve pain and other symptoms. Hospice care helps patients deal with the symptoms of their terminal illnesses. For example, it can help relieve pain caused by cancer or AIDS or ease breathing trouble in patients with terminal lung diseases. To provide emotional and spiritual support. Hospice care can help patients and families adjust to their illnesses. It can help them cope with the stress of knowing that the patient’s life is coming to an end.
When is hospice recommended:
- People who have a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
- Patients with severe pain that cannot be relieved by other means. The goal of hospice care is to relieve or control pain caused by life-threatening illness or injury. If you have severe pain that does not respond well, hospice can help.
- Patients who are undernourished, so they do not have the strength to eat, drink, or even swallow their medications.
- Patients who do not want aggressive treatment. Hospice may be used in place of curative treatment as a way to relieve suffering and for symptom control as a patient’s health declines.
Treating the whole person. A patient will be evaluated by a doctor and certain medical tests may be done to find out if hospice care is the best option. However, it is important to understand that hospice care is not just about administering medications and using medical equipment. It focuses on providing comfort and easing a person’s pain. The goal of hospice care is to relieve suffering, not only physical suffering but also emotional distress brought on by a terminal illness.
When not to use hospice
If your doctor decides that you are not ready to be hospice patient, do not stop taking your medicine. The medications you take may help relieve your pain. Hospice care should not be used as a way to treat an illness; it is only for symptom relief.
Hospice care should never be used to avoid making difficult decisions about life-sustaining treatments for patients whose conditions that are considered reversible. When to use hospice instead of conventional treatment is discussed with the doctor, who will review your case and make recommendations.
Hospice is not recommended if:
- For patients who are expected to live more than 6 months.
- A patient may want to continue curative treatment. If the patient is not willing to give up curative treatment despite the doctor’s recommendations, hospice care may not be appropriate.
- The patient’s condition can improve. There are times when a patient is thought to be at the end of his or her life, but then his or her condition improves unexpectedly. This can make hospice care unnecessary at that time.
- Patients who are not terminally ill. For example, patients with traumatic brain injury or acute illness who still have a chance to recover may not be good candidates for hospice care.
How to get hospice care
If you decide that you want to receive hospice care, you or your doctor must contact a hospice agency in your area. The hospice agency will send a nurse and/or social worker to talk with you and your family. The staff will explain the types of services available and help you pick the care option that is best for you. The hospice agency will also make sure that your insurance covers the cost of hospice.
After the initial visit from the hospice agency, a nurse from the agency will continue to visit you. The nurse will look for ways to improve your comfort and may suggest therapy or give you other ideas to help relieve pain. The nurse can also help you take your medications properly.
Hospice care is provided at home by nurses or other health care professionals. You do not have to go to a hospice facility for treatment. Some people prefer to stay in their home; others prefer to go to a facility that provides comfort and privacy.
You may want to prepare for hospice by discussing your wishes for hospice care with your family members. Hospice can be an emotional topic, and it may help if you talk about what you hope will happen at the end of life. You can also expect some questions from your health care providers. It is important to tell them exactly what you want so they know how best to practice hospice care.
In today’s society, the death of a loved one is inevitable. Hundreds of people die each day from terminal illnesses such as cancer or AIDS or from injuries caused by accidents. Hospice care usually begins when a person has a life expectancy of six months or less. Hospice focuses on providing comfort and pain relief rather than trying to cure an illness. Hospice care is usually provided at home by nurses or other health care professionals. It can include physical, emotional, and spiritual support for patients and their families. It has the goal of relieving suffering for both the patient and his or her family.
If you are interested in finding out more about hospice care, call us at (818)433-0068. We hope to help you and your family during this difficult time.
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