As a family caregiver for a loved one with a serious medical condition, there is a good chance your doctor has mentioned hospice care. Understandably, simply hearing the word “hospice” is probably unsettling. You might view it as your doctor giving up or begin to think that your loved one is far too close to the end of their life. However, it might be time to consider shifting your perspective.
Hope in Hospice Care
Hospice is not about giving up. In fact, it’s about enhancing quality of life and keeping your loved one comfortable so they can enjoy their time with you more. Hospice takes your loved one out of the hospital environment and away from invasive treatments if those treatments are providing little or no benefit. Most importantly, hospice is a way to help your loved one realize their goal of returning home and spending their time making memories with the people they love most.
If this is causing you to open your mind to the possibility that hospice might be the right choice, it’s important to know that there is more to the story. While your loved one does not have to enter hospice by a specific time – the only requirements are that they have a diagnosed life-limiting condition and a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease follows the expected course – there are benefits to entering hospice sooner. Salus Homecare San Diego is here to help you explore them.
Better Monitor Changes with Hospice Care
The needs of a loved one with a life-limiting illness can vary significantly from month to month, week to week or even day to day. Your hospice team helps you monitor these changes and access the right services at the right time. This not only makes it easier for your loved one to remain comfortable, but it removes this burden from you. Instead of focusing on always meeting your loved one’s needs, you can focus on enjoying moments with them.
The medications that help to keep your loved one comfortable are sometimes expensive. Costs often increase quickly if your loved one needs multiple medications. Under hospice care, these medications are covered, often at 100%. This makes it easier for you to know your loved one has the resources necessary to stay comfortable. It also helps you to avoid over-extending your budget or feeling stressed about the cost of care.
Multi-layered Approach to Care
While many people understand that hospice is about pain management, it is easy to forget that this program is about more than that. Every patient in hospice care receives emotional, physical and spiritual support, customized to meet their unique needs. Having these multiple layers of support in place can help your loved one better manage any negative emotions including depression, anxiety or restlessness. It can also help them to better navigate through this stage in life and feel confident while doing so.
Hospice Helps You Set Goals
Even in this stage in life, it is important to set goals. With a life-limiting illness, conversations about goals typically no longer focus on curing the disease because that often is not an achievable goal. Conversations with hospice professionals help you to prioritize and set your new goals and develop a plan that focuses on the things that are important to you. The sooner you do this, the more time you have to realize those goals and find positivity in an oftentimes difficult stage in life.
Do More with More Time in Hospice Care
The myths and misconceptions surrounding hospice care are a driving force behind the differential between the average length of hospice benefit (180 days) and the amount of time many patients remain in hospice (17 days). When you realize this and accept that hospice has greater potential to do more for your family with more time, it is easier to understand the benefits of entering into care sooner.
If you or a loved one is faced with a life-limiting illness and considering hospice care, take the time to understand the program. The right choice about timing is personal. If you have questions, Salus Homecare San Diego is always here to answer them. Call us, and let us know how we can help.