How Hospice Can Help
If you love someone with a terminal illness the last thing you want is for them to be in pain or struggling at the hospital. You’d rather see your loved one living at home in a comfortable environment and making the most of every day.
The good news is hospice care may enrich your loved one’s remaining time by focusing on quality of life, rather than medical interventions. With hospice care, the end of life can be a gentler and more peaceful process. Patients can focus their energy on what they can achieve realistically in their remaining days, weeks or months. Not only that, in some cases, patients end up living longer than if they were given traditional treatment.
Benefits of Hospice
Familiar environment — Hospice care can be offered in a number of settings including the patient’s or caregiver’s home. When someone is facing death, it can be comforting to be surrounded by familiar surroundings as opposed to the cold, sterile environment of a hospital.
Time for closure — Hospice care allows your loved one to spend quality time with the people that matter; to reflect upon their life’s meaning; to realize goals, such as writing their life story or getting financial affairs in order; and to achieve a sense of closure. It can also give family members time to celebrate their loved one and to prepare for their death.
Expert pain management — Hospice provides care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress. While hospice care doctors and nurses have specialized knowledge on how to treat physical pain, the team also includes counselors and chaplains who can deal with the patient’s emotional and spiritual issues. And our hospice providers can accommodate your own personal religious beliefs, values and practices.
Personalized care — The patient’s care plan is targeted to his or her needs and may involve music therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy, nutritional counseling, speech therapy or psychotherapy. On top of this, patients are monitored more often than if they were staying in a hospital.
The extra mile — Hospice care staff will go out of their way to provide patients with “little gifts” that might brighten their days, be it special foods or drinks, flowers, a visit to a garden, or whatever it is that brings them joy.
24/7 assistance — Caring for a person with an advanced illness can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if you are new to caregiving. It can be comforting to know that the professional hospice care team will be on call 24 hours a day if you need to talk or want training around a specific issue.
Practical support — Social workers can help you with practical matters like estate planning (wills, probate and finances) and funeral arrangements. They can educate you on managing stress, using relaxation techniques or exploring community resources.
Emotional/spiritual support — Family members who need support around grief, dealing with the challenges of care, addressing family problems or resolving unfinished business can speak to a counselor or chaplain. After death, bereavement counseling is offered.
Respite care — If you ever become overwhelmed with caregiving, know that your loved one can spend up to five days at a time in inpatient respite care, such as in a nursing home or hospice facility, allowing you to go on a short vacation or just relax at home.
Voluntary program — If a patient’s condition improves, they can leave the hospice and pursue another form of care or resume their daily lives. If needed, they can always return to hospice care.
Cost is covered — In the United States, for seniors most hospice care is covered by Medicare. In addition, Medicaid provides benefits in most states, and The Veteran’s Health Administration covers hospice care. Most private insurance companies provide some coverage for hospice care. Finally, if you do not have coverage for some reason, hospice will work with you to obtain funding to ensure needed services are provided.
More Ways Hospice Care Can Help
There are many benefits and advantages to hospice care for those facing life-limiting issues.
- Hospice care can be delivered in a variety of settings, including the patient’s residence.
- True to its caring nature and regardless of the venue, Brookdale Hospice care is sensitive to the patient’s cultural and religious beliefs, values and practices.
- Hospice allows for patient’s to keep their regular maintenance medications as well as those that improve the comfort and quality of their lives.
- Patients may “check out” or revoke their participation in hospice care at any time.
- Passing on is part of the whole life process and Brookdale Hospice services help patients and families to understand the personal and social challenges of illness and disability while coping with end of life issues.
- Hospice care is not a means for either prolonging life or hastening death; instead, it is a service that aids in the transition between them by providing dignity, care, comfort and support to patients and families alike.