We understand that no one wants to think about signing themselves or a loved one onto hospice service. People are often unclear or confused about what hospice means, and how it will impact their lives, especially the life (and quality of life) of the patient.
Families and loved ones are often under the impression that signing onto hospice care means giving up.
We’ll help you see why this isn’t the case, and why the best time to start hospice care is as soon as possible.
When is the best time to start hospice care?
Hospice care can begin when a patient receives a prognosis of living six months or less if their terminal illness runs its normal course.
We understand receiving such a prognosis can’t help but be a shock to the patient and their loved ones. In an age of medical miracles, we want to believe everything can be cured. The reality is, human bodies sometimes can’t come back from a disease.
The first instinct is to fight harder, try new things, but usually not to sign up for hospice. If someone has heard of hospice, they think taking that step is admitting defeat, or giving up.
Hospice care means changing the focus of care, not giving up.
Often, a series of treatments for a terminal illness is no longer effective. Sometimes the disease can simply outweigh the benefits of the treatments. A patient may wonder if the cost of prolonging life is worth it, especially if side-effects like constant nausea or being too weak to sit up limit their activities.
The focus of hospice care is always to improve the quality of life. For both the patient and their loved ones. Every aspect of hospice care is designed to manage pain and symptoms and to allow the patient to live as fully and alert as possible.
Hospice centers around a unique plan of care for each patient. Bringing care to the patient, where they are. Whether a patient is in the hospital, at home, in a facility or even in our inpatient unit.
The focus of the ProCare hospice team is to treat the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual symptoms of a person. This extends to the family and loved ones of a patient. Caregiving is hard, especially for those caring for a terminally-ill person. Hospice can bring respite and relief, as well as confidence that you are doing everything humanly possible to help the patient.
Everyone is different and your hospice care should be what works for you and your loved ones. Getting help at the most difficult time of life is not giving up, it’s giving the greatest gift of all — quality of life.
When should I consider hospice care?
The earlier a person receives hospice care, the better it can be for them. The sooner the hospice care team can begin caring for a patient, the sooner the quality of life can improve. Whenever possible, we strive to help our patients continue to enjoy as full a life as their disease allows. We do all we can to help patients remain alert, mobile and engaged, allowing more quality time with family and friends at the end of life.
While six months is the earliest someone can begin hospice care, sadly, many times, patients are not signed on until much later. Often, this is due to misinformation or fear, and many times, people have simply never heard of hospice. We always tell patients and their families that hospice can help provide not only comfort, but dignity at an extremely vulnerable time of life.
What should I do first when considering hospice care?
Explore all your care options with your care provider. If they recommend hospice, ask what experiences have they had with different hospices.
Understand what hospice is. We have articles and resources that can help Click Here.
Ask friends and family what they know about hospice, and what they’ve experienced.
Ask a hospice team member what to expect. Our compassionate, ProCare Hospice team members are happy to answer any questions. We know this is a sensitive time, and that most people don’t know where to begin.
Find out if your loved one has an advanced directive in place, so everyone knows exactly what is important to the patient. Information on what an Advance Directive is and how to make one can be found Click Here.
The ProCare Hospice team is always here to answer your questions. ProCare Hospice is family-owned and operated and we celebrate families of all kinds. Our family will always treat your family like our own. ProCare means family care.