Although hospice is designed for patients with 6 months or less, bringing in hospice services doesn’t mean that you are giving up. Many family members are hesitant to accept hospice care because they don’t want to choose death or walk away from hope.
As you learn more about the benefits and goals of hospice, it’s easy to see how hospice helps the patient and their family. In this article, our goal is to remove misunderstandings, so families feel comfortable moving forward with hospice when needed.
The Purpose of Hospice
When it’s determined that a person has an incurable disease (terminal illness), then there is a point when treatments are no longer focused on curative solutions.
For example, a cancer patient might go through surgeries and chemotherapy. But if doctors decide that cancer has progressed beyond the point where the person can be cured, then treatments shift to comfort and symptom management instead.
Hospice centers on symptom management, with the goal of helping the person maintain the highest quality of life in the final stages. Symptom treatment can focus on the management of:
- Shortness of breath
- Mental health
In addition to physical support, the hospice team can also connect patients with other providers – such as spiritual counselors and social workers. The goal is to help the patient find peace and come to terms with their prognosis.
Is Hospice Giving Up?
No, hospice is anything but giving up. When you are bringing in a hospice team, it is a way to redefine your approach and view of the situation. Since doctors have determined that there isn’t a cure for the illness, the family can redirect their hope into peace and comfort in this final chapter of life.
Through hospice services, it’s possible to create optimal memories, restore family relationships, and spend quality time with the people that you love. Often, people use this time to take care of financial affairs and focus on religious faith.
Hospice care can last a few weeks or a few months. Often, families wish they would have used hospice services earlier to enjoy the benefits for a more extended period.
Hospice Helps You Focus on Living Fully
It’s a misconception that hospice means that you are focusing on death. Instead, many hospice providers see these services as a way to help people live as fully as possible with the time they have left.
Just because a person has six months or less to live doesn’t mean that the whole focus is on dying. Often, improving quality of life means that a person can live much longer than the prognosis.
You can choose to start and stop hospice at any point, depending on the current circumstances. Usually, once a person begins hospice, they continue these services through the end of life. But there are times when a patient chooses to end hospice so they can start curative treatments again.
Choosing Quality Over Quantity
The ultimate goal with hospice care is to shift the focus from the quantity of life left to the quality a person can enjoy at the moment.
At this point, patients have often been through a lot already: invasive treatments, surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. People are tired and sick, and they want relief from exhaustion and pain.
The focus turns from extending the patient’s life to helping a person continue living with the highest quality of life possible. Managing the physical symptoms and stress allows patients to prioritize the activities that matter most.
How Much Does Hospice Cost?
Most hospice services are paid for through the Medicare Hospice Benefit (MHB), which means that families don’t need to bear the burden of expensive out-of-pocket costs.
At Avatar, we are here to help. If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and want to know how much hospice would cost for you, call us at (844) 422-5528.
Stages of Hospice
Depending on when hospice services begin, a patient might still be energetic and mobile in the earliest stages. Instead of spending time in the hospital or with never-ending doctor’s appointments, the person wants to live their life as fully as possible.
Hospice can help with symptom management so the person can spend time with family and friends. For example, they might choose to go on a vacation they’ve always wanted to enjoy.
Eventually, a terminal illness causes a person to be sick enough that they can no longer leave home or a care facility. Hospice helps with hands-on caregiving so the family can focus on spending meaningful time together.
When a person is reaching the final stages of life, they often need a variety of services through hospice, such as bathing, hygiene, medication management, food preparation, nutrition planning, housekeeping, and more.
Hospice provides patients access to healthcare professionals, as well as support from other care providers for the most important details in life. The goal is to help the person maintain comfort while also addressing any “unfinished business.”
Is Hospice Care Right for You?
Each family can decide whether hospice care is the right choice for themselves or a loved one. If you are considering these end-of-life services, then we invite you to reach out to our team to learn more about your options.
You decide when you should engage the services of a hospice care team. There is no reason to wait if a patient is approaching the end of life. Choosing hospice means that you accept the reality of your illness, but you aren’t giving up hope about the quality of life that is still available.
When you choose hospice services, you are also deciding to stop receiving care for curative treatments. But many continuing medical services can help you maintain comfort during this time.
At Avatar Healthcare, we provide a full range of services, including home health, hospice, and personal home care services. Contact us today to discuss available care for your family: (844) 422-5528.