End-of-life decisions are difficult, especially when a patient is no longer able to communicate their preferences. As a person’s disease advances, it is necessary to address specific decisions relating to the care and medical services in the final stages of life.
Patient and Family Decision Makers
In every situation, the goal is to allow the patient to be proactively involved in this decision-making process. When a person has the mental and physical ability to decide on their care, their preferences take the highest priority.
Eventually, health declines to the place where a patient is no longer able to make these decisions. At this point, an appointed power of attorney or close family members is responsible for deciding on the proper care and treatment until the person passes away.
The Right Timing: Hospice Care Planning
No one wants to plan how they are going to lose someone they love. As a result, it’s easy to procrastinate hospice and in-home care planning. If your family is delaying conversations about end-of-life care, then it’s time to reach out to a professional team for support.
When the questions start coming up about whether in-home care is needed, then it’s a good sign that you shouldn’t delay a phone call.
Even when a patient isn’t yet eligible for hospice care, your family will benefit by preparing a hospice plan. You can evaluate options before a serious crisis happens, helping to reduce your stress in the future.
When Immediate Hospice Services are Needed
If you have a hospice plan in place, it makes the transition easier when it’s time for these services. However, some families haven’t planned for the future, so they need to address these difficult decisions at the moment. Our team can assist with last-minute hospice planning.
Watch for these signs so you know when you should call a hospice provider:
- Frequent hospital admissions or ER visits
- Inability to perform daily activities, such as getting dressed, walking, or eating
- Increased risk of falling when moving around the house
- Mental changes
- Rapid weight loss
- Signs of deteriorating health, such as infections and wounds
Most patients are working with a team of doctors, and the medical professionals will provide recommendations about when to call for hospice services.
Learning about Your Options
In the beginning stages, the goal is to gather information about available services. As you learn more about hospice, it doesn’t mean that you are committing to a specific care plan right away. Instead, you are evaluating options when services are needed in the upcoming months and years.
You can find plenty of information online that highlights information about hospice services. The most effective solution is to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique needs with an industry professional.
Our team at Avatar Healthcare offers personalized support for the entire family. We take the time to understand the preferences and wishes of the patient. At the same time, we are proactive in keeping family members up-to-date about available services and recommendations.
Is Hospice Necessary When a Loved One is Passing Away?
Families always have the opportunity to decide on care for their loved ones. Bringing in a hospice provider is an excellent way to support the entire family, helping to improve the person’s comfort and reduce overall stress for everyone involved.
Since most insurance providers and Medicare cover hospice, there is no reason to delay services. Even if you don’t have medical coverage for hospice, you might be able to access support through a non-provider care provider – regardless of your ability to pay.
This support is designed to optimize a person’s quality of life in the final stages of a serious disease. One of the benefits of choosing a skilled team, like Avatar Healthcare, is that you always receive personalized services.
Hospice isn’t a one-size-fits-all service. Instead, it’s the process of evaluating each patient’s unique needs, then implementing a plan to support the family through this challenging time.
What You Need to Know about Hospice Services
Hospice is more than caring for the physical comfort of a dying patient. Full-service hospice care offers ongoing support to optimize the last stages of that person’s life. At the same time, hospice services care for the varying needs of the family and caregivers.
Also, it’s important to note that hospice doesn’t mean that you are speeding up the timeline to death. In some cases, hospice care helps a loved one’s condition to improve.
The person can change their decisions at any point and choose to pursue other medical treatments if desired. If a patient wants to engage in medical care to treat the disease, they can always discontinue hospice care and resume these services if the condition declines.
Does Your Loved One Qualify for Hospice?
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is leading the industry to protect each patient’s rights. This organization is committed to helping individuals die without pain while maintaining their dignity until the end.
Regardless of the patient’s age, a person qualifies for hospice when a doctor determines a life expectancy of six months or less. The course of the disease is taken into consideration when deciding on the proper timeline for hospice care.
Additionally, patients must forego curative treatments before they qualify for hospice. If medical care is no longer effective in treating the disease, or the person doesn’t want to receive these services anymore, then it’s time to let the illness run its course. This is the point where you should call for hospice services.
For example, if someone receives a diagnosis of an advanced stage of cancer and only has three months to live, they must decide between cancer treatments and hospice. Sometimes aggressive interventions like radiation or chemotherapy aren’t effective or don’t make sense because of the person’s health condition.
When there are no effective treatments to eliminate the cancer, the person can decide on hospice. This means they only receive care for symptom management and enhance their quality of life (not disease management or cure).
Even if your loved one doesn’t qualify for hospice care yet, it’s helpful to talk to a provider in the initial stages of a terminal illness. These early conversations ensure your family has access to all available services that suit your needs and preferences.
Schedule a Hospice Consultation
Whether you need immediate hospice care or are preparing for the future, our team at Avatar Healthcare is here to assist. We offer personalized support for both the patient and close family members.
Available services include more than hospice – we can also support with home health, palliative care, and personal home care services. For more information, schedule a consultation or call Avatar Healthcare at (844) 422-5528.