What Is Hospice and What to Expect from It

By The Care Centers.

As your loved one grows older, there are certain things that you will need to take into consideration even if you don’t really want to think of them. One is the possibility of hospice care. If your loved one’s doctor suggests this transition, you need to know what it means and why it is being brought up. You also need to know what to expect when your loved one begins this type of care. Below, you will find common questions along with answers so that you can get a better understanding of what your elderly loved one, you and your family will be facing in the weeks or months to come. 

Who Qualifies for Hospice?

Essentially, if physicians determine that a person has fewer than six months left to live, then they will qualify for hospice. This could be due to cancer or another terminal illness, aging, or other conditions. Essentially, entering into hospice care means that the person will no longer seek treatment for the illness, but instead will go through palliative care, which will relieve pain and make the patient more comfortable during the end stages of their lives. 

What Will Hospice Care Be Like? 

There is no direct way to answer that question because hospice care will be tailored to each individual. It can be received in a hospice facility, in a hospital, in a nursing home, or even in the patient’s home. A primary nurse or doctor will visit on a regular basis to ensure your loved one is comfortable. Someone will also help with hygiene issues to ensure the loved one stays bathed and clean. Other parts of hospice care include spiritual and grief counselors coming to meet with your elderly loved one as well as with you and the rest of your family. Your loved one can request a chaplain if they would like.

Volunteers with the hospice care facility will run errands, bring food, etc. to make certain that the loved one truly does stay as comfortable as possible. 

Can My Loved One Change Their Mind?

When hospice care begins, your loved one has opted to end any treatments they were having and instead just receive palliative care, which includes pain management. However, if your loved one decides they do want to aggressively treat their illness, then they can choose to come off hospice care. This often happens with younger patients who are suffering from cancer.

As your loved one grows older, it helps extensively to understand what hospice care is and what you and your family can expect from it. You can learn more about hospice care by reading this article (Five Basics of What Hospice Means) that provides you with basic details. You can also read this article (Four Things to Know about Palliative Care), which will better explain palliative care. The more you understand about this program, the better you will be prepared to help your loved one make the right decisions. Choosing hospice care is a big change in their life, so it needs to be a decision made very carefully before doing anything else. 

Tags: Hospice care