Hospice care provides patients with life-limiting conditions the opportunity to live their highest quality life. With a focus on pain and symptom management, a plan of care includes emotional, physical and spiritual support. Although many people think of hospice as a last resort, a place you go to die, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the earlier patients sign on for hospice care, the better quality of life they can experience, because hospice care is wholisitic. With so much misinformation, we want to shed light on important facts to help you understand the basics.
Fact: Hospice care is provided during regularly scheduled visits with a nurse, wherever you call home, including a hospital or assisted living facility. Additionally, nurses are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fact: Medicare covers hospice benefits in six-month increments. This doesn’t mean you only have six months to live. As long as a doctor confirms eligibility, individuals can continually receive hospice services.
Fact: The primary goals of hospice care are pain and symptom management. Patients do not forgo all medical treatment, the care goals are different. Medications and treatments prescribed are to relieve pain and help a patient live more comfortably.
Fact: Hospice services include caregiver training and education. Caregivers and families learn essential tasks and skills which enable them to provide care for their loved one. You are never alone though, support is only a phone call away.
Fact: Hospice doesn’t only provide care and comfort for patients, respite and emotional support for caregivers is part of hospice care. Additionally, bereavement services and support are provided for 13 months after the loss of a loved one.
Fact: Hospice is not often a topic of conversation because doctors are focused on curative treatments. If you are diagnosed with a life limiting illness and are ready to transition to comfort care, hospice care is a conversation you can initiate with your doctor and your loved ones. It’s never too early to talk about hospice care.
Fact: Individuals who elect hospice are in control of their plan of care. Individuals are encouraged to complete advance directives. They become effective only when you can no longer speak for yourself or make your own decisions.
Fact: Patients with a life-limiting illness, especially those suffering from chronic pain, view hope in a different light. When patients are no longer seeking treatment or a cure, the priority is a comfort, reducing pain and providing symptom management. Individuals can then focus on doing what’s important to them, with the ones they love.
Fact: Patients can, at any time, seek treatment and discharge from hospice. If at any future time a patient wishes to resume hospice services, it requires a doctor to determine eligibility and re-establish services.
If you or a loved one has a life limiting condition, it’s never too early to talk to your doctor about hospice. Click here to learn more about hospice.