The greatest misconception about hospice care is that it implies giving up on an older adult. Many believe that hospice care is reserved for patients who are expected to die within days or weeks. That is not the case. Hospice is a type of medical care that aims to maintain or enhance the quality of life for patients whose illness, disease, or condition cannot be cured. Hospice treats all disease symptoms, with a particular emphasis on pain and discomfort management.
It also focuses on giving patients and their families comfort and assistance.
We explain why the use of hospice services should not be seen as hastening death or as a death sentence. We also outline who may benefit from hospice, how it assists caretakers, and how to discuss hospice with the doctor of an older adult.
Hospice does not hasten death. It is crucial to remember that hospice patients do not die sooner.
In certain instances, hospice patients may live longer due to their enhanced quality of life.
The primary distinction between hospice care and “normal” medical care is that the emphasis is no longer on “curing” the patient. In reality, however, many curative treatments for elderly persons have considerable risks, are less likely to succeed, and inflict unneeded suffering.
Hospice is not a six-month sentence to death. To qualify for hospice car, a physician must certify that the patient has less than six months to live. This may sound frightening, but it is in no way comparable to a doctor’s proclamation that the patient will die within six months.
Hospice eligibility is NOT a six-month death sentence
It simply means that your elderly loved one will be reevaluated every six months to determine if they are still eligible for hospice care.
In some circumstances, elders are no longer eligible for hospice treatment because their health has improved too much.
Who could gain from hospice care?
Hospice programs are ideal for seniors in the advanced stages of an incurable illness who are severely weak or very old. A person with advanced dementia, for instance, may qualify.
Hospice involves the visits of medical personnel to the elderly patient. This is a tremendous comfort for those who are too weak or ill to visit the doctor.
Also, doctors organize therapies so that your elderly loved one feels as well as possible.
Hospice care also benefits families.
Many people do not realize that hospice care offers families significantly more support than conventional medical treatment.
Families benefit from:
Having hospice professionals available around the clock
Home visits by nurses eliminate the need to visit a doctor’s office.
Obtaining assistance with bathing and other personal care activities
Hospice care is often less expensive than hospital stays or visits to the emergency room.
Family therapy, support, and bereavement guidance
Where to obtain hospice care
Discuss hospice with the older adult’s physician to determine if it would help them.
If it is not a suitable option for your older adult at this time, let the doctor know you are willing to discuss it when the time is appropriate.
Thus, they will be aware that you are interested in learning more about and considering the topic in the future.
Who qualifies for hospice care?
A patient must have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to qualify for hospice care. This occurs when treatment is no longer successful, or the patient chooses quality of life over rigorous treatment strategies.
A physician will consider the following factors when making this determination:
- A pattern of frequent hospitalizations during the preceding six months.
- Increasing weariness, sluggishness, and weight loss
- Repeated infections or skin deterioration
- Variations in cognitive and functional skills
- Decrease eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, continence, transferring, or walking.
- Disease-specific decrease
What is the value of early hospice care access?
Patients and their families have the opportunity to experience the full benefits of hospice care if they are admitted earlier. The patient will get home visits from a whole team of hospice care specialists, including a nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteers, as soon as they are admitted to hospice care.
This team’s support helps reduce hospitalizations and enhances the care provided by the patient’s family or facility staff, thereby preventing exhaustion and enhancing the patient’s and family’s quality of life.
A patient’s improved quality of life while receiving hospice care allows them to spend more time with their loved ones and their family to say everything they need during this time.
Hospice Care Is Beneficial To Families As Well.
Numerous individuals are unaware that hospice care offers families substantially more support than regular medical care. Families benefit from the subsequent:
- Availability of hospice personnel 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- The convenience of not having to go to the doctor’s office because nurses will come to the home.
- Obtaining help with washing and other personal care tasks
- Hospice care is often less expensive than hospital stays or visits to the emergency room.
- Family-wide guidance, support, and bereavement counseling
How to Obtain Therapy
Please contact the senior’s physician to see if hospice care might benefit. If it is not a good option for your older adult at this time, let the doctor know you are willing to consider it in the future if the case justifies it. Thus, they will be aware that you are interested in learning more about the topic and may consider it in the future.