Facts For Patients & Caregivers: When Is The Right Time To Call Hospice?

Most families won’t talk about hospice care. In many cases, most people change topics when this subject surfaces. This happens even if a family member has been diagnosed with an incurable disease. However, hospice care could be the most appropriate option. It has the systems and facilities for palliative care and symptom management. If you or a family member suffers from a terminal illness, it’s best to decide on this matter sooner. This way, you or your loved one will still experience the best of what’s on your time.

Hospice Care

Hospice Care

Suppose you have a family member who has a life-limiting medical condition. Here’s an article that could help you know when is the time to finally seek it for your loved one.

Read Also: Healthy Aging: 7 Relaxing And Therapeutic Activities For Seniors

What’s Hospice Care? 

Hospice care, to explain, is a particular type of care. It provides the necessary medical attention to patients. It also makes their end-of-life stage bearable and less painful. Most hospice care services are freestanding medical facilities and nursing homes. Typically, they help in personal care, such as bathing, wearing clothes, doctor visits, and nursing care. Yet, in some cases, the immediate family members are the ones who take care of the patients. The hospice workers only assist when needed.

The principle behind hospice care is to affirm the life of the person in a near-end situation. In addition, it doesn’t seek to delay death. Instead, it lets the patients enjoy their time. While there are ways, such as elderly companion care, that make senior living more comfortable, hospice care is more designed for late-stage living. In other words, there’s an expectancy of death in the months to come for hospice care patients. To help you decide whether or not your patient already needs hospice care, read the following list:

  1. Recurring Hospital Trips
Emergency Services

Emergency Services

Frequent trips to the hospitals are one, clear indicator that your loved one needs hospice care. The more frequent the hospital visits are, the more hospice care is necessary. Not only does the patient receive personalized care and support, but they also receive immediate attention from professionals. The patient’s family feels assured that there’s a health professional who looks after their loved one. In addition, they won’t be troubled with hospital runs, immediate purchase and supply of medicine, and medical attention.

Read Also: 5 Important Considerations For Hospice Care

  1. Breathing Difficulties

Many people associate breathing difficulty with old age. Yet, it’s still necessary for you to know the difference between serious breathing difficulties from the ‘normal’ ones. In most cases, your patient may need to use some devices to ease their breathing, such as respirators. However, frequent usage of this device signifies that they have complicated breathing conditions.

If the patient continuously experiences labored breathing, it may be a sign to avail of hospice care services. Shortness of breathing even without doing any physical activity is also a sign to watch out for. In addition, you should observe your loved ones if they wheeze. Ask them if they wake up at night because of tightness in the throat, chest pains, or prolonged troubled breathing.

  1. Chronic Pain

The elderly normally complain of chronic pain that prevents them from sleeping properly. In some cases, they blame this condition for not being able to concentrate on their work during the daytime. If ice packs, painkillers, or medications can’t ease their pain anymore, hospice care could already be an option.

In a hospice care facility, your loved one stays in a room where medical supplies are available. When this happens, your loved ones will have the necessary medications and attention they need. In addition, doctors in hospice care facilities can prescribe medication for palliative care.

  1. Severe Memory Loss And Mental Impairment
Old Woman With Dementia

Old Woman With Dementia

One of the obvious signs that a patient needs the help of a hospice care facility is continuous memory lapses. How often does your loved one forget about their glasses?  How often do they forget their keys?  The condition may be worse if the patient experiences hallucinations. Such are indicators of mental regressions. It’s best to note these symptoms whenever you observe them. On a closer look, a mental impairment may signify serious health problems.

Under hospice care, the patient would have close monitoring of their general health condition. A reputable hospice care facility can help in this matter. Furthermore, hospice care patients are often under the direct supervision of professionals who could instantly aid in their medical needs.

  1. Failure To Do Simple Tasks And Daily Routines

To improve an elderly person’s mental and physical activity, they often do things that make them mentally and physically active. Several old folks choose to play chess, read books, and do simple labor just to enjoy and still see their worth. If a person can’t do the things they’d usually do for weeks, they may have bigger problems beyond simply doing mental and physical activities. You may also notice if the patient shows a decline in their daily routines, including eating, taking a bath, getting dressed, and walking.

Suppose your patient has shown a significant number of changes in doing their tasks. In that case, you may start seeking help from a hospice care institution. This way, your patient could still engage in light activities that would still make them feel relevant.

Apart from starting activities that could make patients busy, hospice care may also stabilize their condition through therapy. This way, they’ll be living in comfort under the supervision of professional hospice workers.

Read Also: How To Provide Quality Caregiving To Your Elderly Loved Ones

  1. Increased Sleeping Time

Changes in sleep patterns are usual. What’s not normal is the sudden change in the length of sleep. A major change in sleeping patterns may show that the patient’s body undergoes vital changes. Their sleep may have been longer than usual to have the needed energy that they constantly lack. If your patient sleeps more than usual, you need to consider bringing them to a hospice care facility.

Perhaps, increased sleeping time isn’t a mere signal that your loved one needs immediate hospice care. On the other hand, if your patient has frail health, better place them in a hospice care facility, especially if the person has a long history of severe health issues.Patient Being Treated By Nurse

  1. Doctor’s Take

Doctors’ opinions could make you decide if your loved one should already be under hospice care. If your patient’s doctor says that hospice care is necessary, it’s because your loved one already needs it.

Doctors know the patient’s current health status aside from their history of diseases. If a doctor recommends hospice care, it’s because the patient may only have six or so months of their life. By going into hospice, the patient could experience improvements in their conditions. This allows them to live more of their final moments.

If your patient’s doctor remains discreet about the matter, it may be wise to ask them directly and politely what might be the best for your loved one. In this connection, doctors can also recommend specific medical packages to help with your patient’s pain and symptom management. Furthermore, hospice could help you better communicate with doctors. It can also guide your family about the patient’s medical direction.

  1. Reduced Appetite

Older people often reduce their urge to eat for several reasons. These may include factors like loneliness, depression, and chewing difficulties. Also, poor appetite is one of the adverse effects of medication. However, a study published in the journal, Appetite, shows that reduced eating is one reliable predictor of mortality. It supports the claim of the link between the elderly’s poor appetite and their massive health deterioration. Many health groups refer to this as the ‘anorexia of old age’.

Simply put, suppose your family member has shown consistent eating difficulty for more than six months. In that case, you may consider taking them to a doctor and discussing hospice care services as the case may be.

Read Also: The Plight of Nurses: Essential Yet Overworked, and Underpaid

  1. The Decision To Focus On The Quality Of Life

Proper end-of-life elderly care has become popular and necessary nowadays. Because of it, some old folks may have decided to seek hospice care earlier than most people do. This way, when elderly patients receive their diagnoses, they choose to enroll in hospice to experience the so-called quality of life.

In the context of elderly care, quality of life refers to the patient’s ability to enjoy normal life activities despite pain and medication. This trend leads many seniors to become focused on the quality of their lives rather than thinking of ways to cure their conditions.

What Hospice Care Provides

Contrary to popular belief, hospice care services don’t just benefit the patients, but also their families. Here are some of the services that most hospice care facilities provide:

  • Suitable and expert medical direction and healthcare services
  • Social, emotional, and spiritual support
  • Custom-fit care package and patient comfort
  • Tailored dietary plan
  • Bereavement counseling for patients and their loved ones

Read Also: The Benefits of Pilates for the Elderly, Pregnant Women and Children

In A Nutshell

Losing someone is always difficult. The least that people can do is let their loved ones enjoy the final days of their lives. Providing appropriate hospice care could be one way to help the patients make the most of the time they have. Think whether it’s already time and proper to seek the help of hospice care. If you have a family member who’s been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, this article could help you decide. After all, you’d want to give them the kind of comfort they deserve. You, on the other hand, might as well be on their side as you remember the best days of your lives together.





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