Comfort. Peace. Control. Each of these are goals we strive to attain throughout our lives, and each may seem beyond our reach when a life-limiting illness impacts someone we love. Yet these are among the many benefits to be realized through in-home hospice care, a widely misunderstood service that actually plays a crucial role in improving quality of life.
What Hospice Is Not
Sadly, the very word “hospice” has become synonymous with loss of life, with giving up. There is a misconception that accepting hospice care means death is imminent, that it is a final stage from which there’s no return or hope. There’s also a common belief that once hospice care begins, all other medical intervention stops. Additionally, some people think that they have to choose a hospice provider recommended by their physician. The reality, thankfully, is that none of these beliefs are accurate.
What Hospice Is
In-home hospice care is focused on the patient’s individual wishes and goals, addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs – both for the patient receiving care and his or her family. It allows for freedom from pain, providing dignity and comfort. It assures that the person can remain in control of his or her own decisions.
The hospice team can be comprised of a variety of compassionate professionals: physicians, nurses, social workers, home health aides, spiritual advisors, dieticians, bereavement counselors, homemakers, and even musicians, according to each person’s needs and wishes. Services can include:
- Pain relief and symptom control, medication management, and other medical care services provided by specially trained nurses and physicians
- Medical equipment
- Personal care services
- Spiritual support, grief/loss counseling and planning services
- Respite care for family members
- Nutritional counseling
- Family training and support
- And much more
When to Consider Hospice
Many family members want to delay the start of hospice services as long as possible, for a variety of reasons. Yet beginning hospice care as soon as possible means that the person in need of care can live a more comfortable life for a longer period of time.
Talking with the physician is the best way to determine when it’s time for hospice, but in general, hospice care is warranted and available when someone is expected to have six months or less to live, and is no longer responding to available cure or treatment options. This is not intended to be a hard-and-fast deadline; the need for hospice care can be re-evaluated by the physician if the person’s condition improves or declines more slowly than expected. At any time, the hospice patient can be discharged and reinstated at a later time as needed. Even though a physician typically helps a patient decide when the time is right for hospice care and may refer some hospice providers, it is always the patient’s choice which hospice company to select for care.
At Superior Home Health and Hospice, it is our honor to offer home health and hospice in San Luis Obispo and throughout the surrounding areas. We begin with the development of a personalized hospice care plan to meet an individual’s needs in five main areas:
And every step along the way, we’re here to support family members as well – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for as much or as little assistance as needed.