There are many people who are shy about discussing hospice care, even though the topic is in the public eye. As we are dealing with terminally ill individuals who have an expected life expectancy of less than six months, this is one of the few topics which can be deemed to be a bit uncomfortable because it involves terminally ill patients.
Regardless of how you feel about hospice, there is no reason to be scared of it because hospice is a service which will be required at some point in your life. Understanding the options and being prepared can be a very empowering experience when the time comes.
In this article we will discuss what hospice is and what you should know about it.
What is Hospice Care?
The decision to make use of hospice care usually becomes a consideration after the patient's curative treatments have been exhausted and have not had a positive effect on their illness. Hospice is a form of health care which concentrates on relieving the pain and symptoms associated with a terminal illness. As part of the list of symptoms that the patient may experience, among others, nausea, constipation, shortness of breath, and delirium are but a few.
With hospice care, the team members provide a holistic environment in which patients and their families can be supported physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The team members consist of doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, home health aides, and volunteers, who work cohesively together to provide the best care possible.
Among the goals of hospice care are the following:
- To relieve pain and symptoms that come with a terminal illness
- To make possible a good death
- To assist the family with education and counseling
- To assist in the search for meaning
Hospice care is available only if a patient has two doctors certifying that their illness is terminal and that they have a life expectancy of no more than six months. The illness can range from cancer, HIV, dementia, ALS, and adult failure to thrive to a variety of other illnesses.
Typically, the terminology "hospice" refers to a philosophy of care that includes a wide range of settings in which care may be provided. Hospice care can be provided in many settings such as the comfort of the patient's home, an apartment, a nursing home, a hospice center or even in the hospital.
Because we won't live forever in this world, all of us will go through some sort of end of life phase. Hospice is an essential service for making that experience of losing someone less painful and more meaningful for the loved ones who remain.
In a nutshell, what is hospice care? Well, hospice care is about being there when your loved ones need it most.