Putting yourself or your loved ones under hospice care services is a significant decision that can sometimes make you uneasy. Often, you have a lot of questions about what happens. So, to help you in this undertaking, we have summed up the most important things to know about hospice care.
Hospice Care Info No. 1: Who Is It For?
Often, you might visualize hospice care services as being only for the elderly. While these facilities do indeed seem to have more elderly patients, they are accessible to anyone in need of such services. A hospice is a care facility for end-of-life patients wishing to live their final days comfortably.
Do note that you need to meet any of the following conditions to qualify for hospice care.
- You or your loved one has been diagnosed with terminal illnesses and has only six months or less to live.
- Frequent hospitalizations in the last six months
- Significant and progressive weight loss
- Changes in cognitive and functional abilities, like being unable to do regular daily activities
- Recurring infections and illnesses
- Deteriorating mental health
- Increasing weakness and fatigue
Your attending doctor will be the one to determine if you are eligible for hospice care based on their diagnosis. After that, they can make the arrangements for you or let you do it.
Hospice Care Info No. 2: Where Does It Happen?
Another common impression about hospice care is that it happens in a hospital-like setting. In reality, patients can receive hospice care wherever they want. Hospice providers understand the need to deliver their services in locations conducive to patients and their families.
For most patients, this would be their homes. As such, providers like Amavi offer extensive in-home care services. Once your loved one is under their care, they will set up a care plan that will suit them. The goal here is to make them as comfortable as possible at their home and help them make the most of their time with family and friends. The service can also include visits from emotional and spiritual counselors who help them come to terms with the situation.
Aside from home care, hospices also have their own facilities. These are suitable for those people who want to spend their days in a different place. It can also make it easier for family members spread out in different locations to visit.
One thing to note here is that hospices do not provide 24/7 care. Instead, the assigned staff will make frequent visits as needed, typically every week, to attend to your needs. Your family will still be the one to facilitate round-the-clock care. This is usually through hiring a stay-in nurse.
Hospice Care Info No. 3: Treatment
A common misconception about hospice care services is that they will still provide treatment for you or your loved one. This is understandable, as people often cling to the hope that their loved ones can get better. But it is something that needs clarification.
As mentioned earlier, one of the criteria for admission to hospice care services is if their condition has become progressively worse. That comes with the assumption that all possible treatments have already failed to provide positive results. Thus, it is safe to reason the hospice itself can’t provide satisfactory treatment when everything else has failed.
At this point, their regular doctors might be discharged from service, returning only for special situations. In their place would be physicians who are more knowledgeable about end-of-life care. The care orientation also shifts to palliative, intending to alleviate a patient’s symptoms.
Beyond this, there will be significant changes in your loved ones’ health regimen. Unlike typical care services, there will be no nutritional guidance provided. This again ties to the fact that their condition is now irreversible. Thus, the usual nutritional guidance provided to patients might not be applicable.
Instead, you will need to seek external help from a dietician knowledgeable about your loved one’s condition. Even here, the goal is to sustain them until their final moments. Thus, your nutrition plan would be basic to match that need.
As for physical therapy, you are free to use any means that will help alleviate the pain of your loved one. Alternative methods like yoga and music therapy have been known to help patients feel better. Do note that some hospices might not have these alternative therapies available. Instead, they can help you connect with independent specialists in those therapies.
Hospice Care Info No. 4: Family Support
One important component of hospice care services you might overlook is the support it provides your family. While the focus is on the patient and fulfilling their wishes, providers like Amavi understand that their families go through a lot. After all, they also need to come to terms with the situation.
With that, they provide various support services to help those families. Once your loved one is under hospice care, you can also avail yourself of the counseling services. During these sessions, you can talk about the worries you are feeling. These counselors can then help you come to terms with these emotions.
The hospice can also help families spend more quality time with their loved ones. They provide facilities where the patient can gather their loved ones and do activities they want. Amavi can also help families connect with other support services their loved ones wish to use.
Another essential support that hospices provide is a bereavement service. The moment after the patient’s passing can be especially hard on the family. While they might say that they have come to terms with it even before, there will still be grieving when that moment arrives.
Here, hospices help the family deal with the physical and mental effects of the bereavement period. Counseling will help you come to terms with various emotions like anger, guilt, and sadness. Furthermore, we can help you transition into a life without your departed loved one.
Understand Hospice Care Services To Help Your Loved Ones
Putting your loved one under hospice care should not be something to be scared of. Instead, think of it as helping them fulfill their last wishes. And to do that, you need the help of a capable team. We at Amavi are ready to provide that for you and your loved one. Contact us today.