When is it Time for Hospice?

Hospice care is a special kind of care given to patients who are in the final stages of a terminal disease or near the end of life. This type of care focuses on keeping the patient comfortable and providing relief from symptoms, rather than on active treatment. Providing care with compassionate, hospice care aims at maintaining the quality of life of patients as their disease progresses and they near the end.

What Does Hospice Care Involve?

Hospice care is all about ensuring that the person’s final days are spent in comfort and with dignity. It also ensures that the person gets enough time with their family members and people they love.

It addresses the following needs of a patient:

  • Physical comfort
  • Pain management
  • Emotional and mental health
  • Social and spiritual well-being

Aims At

Doesn’t Aim At

Ensuring the patient can live as fully and comfortably as possible

Either hastening or delaying death

Managing the symptoms of the disease

Treating the disease itself

Do People Choose Hospice Care?

1.4 million

83% patients

70% families

Number of patients in hospice care in the US

Suffering from cancer, debility unspecified, dementia, heart disease and lung disease

Rate hospice care as excellent choice

Figures published in 2015 by CDC

Data by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in 2013

Data by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in 2012

What are the Signs that Hospice Care is Needed?

Here are a few signs that your loved one may require hospice care:

  • Frequent hospital admissions
  • Frequents visits to the emergency room
  • Loved one feeling recurring pain that’s difficult to manage
  • Normal treatment not helping to relieve chronic pain of an aged person
  • Frequent and severe infections
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden and drastic loss of weight
  • Disinterest in food and sudden decrease in appetite
  • Difficulty breathing and gasping for air
  • Inability to perform daily tasks, like eating, getting dressed or even going to the bathroom without assistance
  • Not being able to walk and falling often
  • Not getting any sleep all night and even during the day
  • Sleeping longer and more frequently
  • Confusion or irrational fear or irritation
  • Decreasing alertness and withdrawal from social life
  • Declining mental function
  • Rapid decline in health
  • Not responsive to even aggressive medical treatment

As many as 83% of patients receiving hospice care in the US comprise of ages above 65 old. While cancer is still the largest diagnoses of patients in hospice care, those with dementia have increased significantly.

How to Take the Decision to Choose Hospice?

No one wants to see their loved one pass on. This is what makes many families sometimes wait too long before calling hospice care for help. However, you need to remember that hospice can make the final days and weeks of your loved one’s life more comfortable, because with hospice they start receiving care from professionals who have experience with providing these types of specialized services.

Remember that there are several options to pay for hospice care. Medicare alone paid close to $16 billion for hospice care in 2015, taking the average payment per beneficiary to more than $11,000.

Hospice care improves the quality of life of your loved one as well as the lives of the family member who had so far been the primary caregivers. It’s best to consult a hospice professional to know when it’s time to choose such services for a loved one.

Sources

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/hospice-care.htm
https://www.wesleylife.org/blog/news/20-stats-to-know-about-hospice-care-in-the-us.aspx
https://www.verywellhealth.com/hospice-facts-and-stats-197512
https://www.cancer.org/treatment/end-of-life-care/hospice-care/what-is-hospice-care.html
https://www.asccare.com/10-signs-its-time-for-hospice/
https://www.compassus.com/for-caregivers/signs-it-may-be-time-for-hospice

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