There are many stages of grief that you must go through before you can accept that you will soon lose a loved one to terminal illness. At some point during that process, you will undoubtedly be seeking information for how to care for someone who is dying. Hospice is a very valuable service provided to those who are nearing the end of life. Many people, either because they are having trouble coming to terms with the inevitable loss or because of misconceptions, wait so long to enroll that they don’t get to take advantage of the many hospice services. Here are a few things that you should be aware of, so you can make your loved one as comfortable as possible.
#1. Hospice Makes Home Care Easier There are many who believe that entering hospice means having to travel to a facility for care. That is not always the case. This is an end-of life service that does have medical facilities but can also make it easier for you — as the caregiver — to properly care for your loved one at home. Hospice can provide the many tools that will be needed to make this possible, including hospital bed, bedside commode, medications, walkers, and first aid essentials, among other things.
#2. Hospice Can Help Transition to A Different Goal of Care Very often, terminal illness is not immediately treated as such. Initially, efforts might be made to cure the body, but when those possible treatments are exhausted, it may be necessary to shift the goal of the care. Instead of trying to find a cure, comfort will become the intention of treatment. Hospice can help with this transition with medication reviews and lifestyle suggestions.
#3. Hospice is an Optional Service If you help your loved one enroll in hospice but find that it is not a good fit for the care goals that the two of you have in mind, then you have the right to quit the service. This means that you can try it, even if you or your loved one have concerns.
#4. The Goal of Hospice Care is to Provide Quality of Life Many people mistakenly associate hospice care with sedation. This is not the goal. Mitigation of symptoms is, so the patient feels well enough to enjoy the time left. Less pain and discomfort mean more smiles and happy memories.
#5. Hospice is For You Too! The hospice nurses are there for the patient, of course, but they can also help you with the adjustment as the illness progresses. They can help you understand the symptoms and signs that are commonly seen when death is imminent.