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When is it time to consider hospice?

Posted by Interim Health Care | | filed under: , , , ,
Jun 19, 2015 12:00 AM

Improving the quality of life for seniors who are nearing the end of their days is a priority. Regardless of what condition patients are diagnosed with, their financial situation or their treatment preferences, these individuals deserve to be safe and comfortable at the end of their lives. Hospice care can help achieve this goal, but it is essential to take advantage of the services before it's too late. Here are a few tips for recognizing when it's time to reach out to hospice care, and for making the transition as smooth as possible.

Talk with a physician
Professional advice is priceless when it comes to managing a disease and settling on a preferred course of action. Doctors will be able to inform patients and their families about what to expect in the future, and they can also provide some guidance with regard to end-of-life care. For example, these experts offer tips for recognizing when symptoms start getting uncontrollable or unsafe for people who live independently. 

In some cases, patients will need an order from their doctor before entering hospice. Making it clear to a physician early on that these services are preferred will allow professionals to keep this timeline and the individual's best interests in mind. 

Understand the diagnosis 
Patients and their families will find it difficult to make informed decisions about hospice care if they don't understand the steps related to treatment. While doctors may provide most information, it can't hurt to conduct some additional research to enhance knowledge. Much of this can focus on more patient-specific problems, such as identifying when navigating staircases becomes impossible and planning different diets. 

At this time, patients should also look into their possible choices. This will allow them to complete any advance directives or financial processes that need to be in place, allowing their time at the end of life to be peaceful and stress-free. 

Have a plan in place
Once individuals have a firm grasp on the condition, they should look to the future to decide when hospice care is right. Using information from physicians and separate research is essential, as the time of entry into hospice will be unique to every person. Patients can then confer with loved ones to make sure their wishes are known, thereby ensuring that they can start using these services when the time is right, without any barriers to entry to hospice care. 

"One of the problems with hospice is that it's often not started soon enough," the American Cancer Society stated on its website. "Sometimes, the doctor, patient or family member will resist hospice because he or she thinks it means you're 'giving up,' or that there's no hope. This is not true." 

Evaluate in-home care
Moving to a hospice doesn't have to mean patients have to leave behind their loved ones or a comfortable environment. In fact, many people choose to take advantage of hospice services in their own homes. Before this can be done, however, patients and their loved ones need to ensure that the surroundings are safe and finalize certain details. 

While many hospice services have resources for personalized at-home care, they need to be aware of what tools and equipment are needed for each situation, as well as what type of care patients require. Providers can also employ therapists or similar consultants to assist an individual and his or her loved ones as they come to terms with reality. With options that extend from the weeks and months prior to end-of-life care into grief programs for family members, hospice services may be the right move for anyone concerned with his or her final days. 

Thank you to Interim Health Care for supplying this blog.  For more information about the services Interim provides, please call 970-472-4180.

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