The primary purpose of medical schools is to teach budding physicians on how to treat and cure patients. They teach the latest and best possible ways of treatment with modern equipment, advanced medicinal and surgical procedures. In last couple of decades, medical science has seen immense progress and has helped cure diseases and saved lives.
With due respect to all the medicinal advancements and procedures, truth still remains – death is inevitable.
While every family wants to give the best possible treatment, the patient often wants to die peacefully with his loved ones alongside. Contrary to this, most Americans die surrounded by sophisticated electronic machines in hospitals, and not with their families.
A patient with access to medicare benefits (being 65 years or above) or having a private insurance is most likely to spend his final weeks/days, in a hospital. Interestingly, not all patients with medicare benefits know that they can utilize the services of a hospice. And even those who are aware of it, give in to the wishes of their caregivers and loved ones and end up in a hospital than in a hospice.
Almost all terminally ill patients who do not avail hospice services are also most likely to die in hospitals. Even when their near ones are well aware that there are no chances of improvement, they feel incapable of saying “no” to the ongoing medical or surgical procedures, which only extend the pain of their loved ones.
A hospice provides nursing, counseling and pain management services. Patients, who according to their doctors are nearing their end of life (with a 6 month or lesser survival period), can avail hospice services under their medicare benefits.
Another important fact that many people aren’t aware of is that hospice services can be provided in the comfort of your home as well as fully managed premises.
The “at-home” hospice programs provide regular help and support to those who don’t want to leave the comfort of their homes. Home visits by nurses and social workers prove to be extremely helpful in administering pain management medicines, proper breathing and coping up with other disabilities arising out of illness. Patients who want their families to be near them in their final days, themselves consent to home hospice care to ease their family’s burden and worries.
Nurses at a hospice are skilled and equipped with knowledge and experience in managing pain in the final months and weeks. They are also adept in understanding non-verbal signs of a patient which helps them decide things like the amount of pain medication needed to alleviate the suffering.
Hospice nurses regularly educate patients and their family members on the advance healthcare directive and help patients decide between an at-home hospice service and a managed hospice facility.
End of life is a truth that people don’t want to think about, but it is inevitable. Everyone has their own share of struggles in life, and end-of-life can be quite painful as well. The one gift we can give to ourselves and our loved ones is a less painful and relatively happier end-of-life.