When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, there is a lot to think about and a lot to figure out. For a time, families might focus on trying to cure the ailment, whether it’s cancer, heart disease, or some other life-limiting illness. As the end comes closer, however, hospice care may be able to offer some significant benefits that other types of care just cannot duplicate. Understanding more about what hospice does and how it helps people who are facing the end of their lives makes some of these big decisions a little bit easier.
What Exactly Is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a type of healthcare that supports and comforts patients who are facing life-limiting conditions. Hospice is focused on treating symptoms, alleviating suffering, and improving quality of life rather than attempting to cure any underlying health issues. Patients seeking hospice assistance have typically already tried curative treatments and are no longer choosing to do so. The big goal of hospice is to make this stage of life as comfortable as possible, even in the face of difficult symptoms.
Becoming Eligible for Hospice
Eligibility for hospice is determined by medical providers. The patient has typically been told that they have six months, possibly fewer, left in their life. This does not mean that hospice will only help for six months. Patients may seem to recover a bit once curative treatments stop. They can be recertified for hospice services by their doctors once the initial six-month certification period passes.
How Does Hospice Help People?
There are options available in hospice care that might not be available to patients when they’re still trying curative treatment methods. Hospice focuses on reducing pain as much as possible while also preserving dignity and independence wherever feasible. Hospice also helps family members to cope with what is happening by offering respite care and other services that assist with bereavement.
Who Is Part of the Hospice Team?
A person’s hospice team is made up of medical providers, nurses, therapists, social workers, volunteers, and religious leaders. The active members of any patient’s team are going to be the ones who can help the most with whatever is the biggest need at any given time. The hospice team works with family members and the patient to manage symptoms as effectively as possible.
Where Can People Receive Hospice Help?
Because people receiving hospice help are usually dealing with serious, life-limiting illnesses, there are misconceptions about where hospice is available. Some believe that they can only receive hospice care services in a hospital setting or a long-term care facility. But hospice care at home is very much a possibility and it can greatly contribute to comfort and security at the end of someone’s life.
Hospice care offers comfort, dignity, and support to patients who are facing the end of their lives. By understanding as much as possible about hospice and how it works, family caregivers and people in need of hospice services are able to better make informed decisions about the type of care that is right for their situation.
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