Decades ago the term hospice care meant someone was on their deathbed and lasted from days to a few weeks at most. In this day and age it can have a similar meaning, but most often it can be defined as the process in which a person is kept comfortable as their body begins to shut down. This happens at different rates of speed for each individual, and can be both a peaceful and painful experience. It can also last from days to even years in some cases. It’s important for every adult to know the facts about hospice care.
1.) Any age and circumstance. Hospice care is not just for the elderly. Of course most of the people on hospice care are elderly because that is the natural progression of life, but anyone with a terminal disease with less than six months to live can receive it. Someone may just be at the end of their life, or they may have cancer or some other disease that can slowly and painfully rob them of their quality of life. Some terminal patients make the decision to stop receiving treatments (such a chemo or clinical trial drugs), as they prefer to live out the rest of their days without the side effects of the drugs. This is where the pain management in hospice can make life much easier.
2.) It’s not only for the patient. The primary purpose of hospice is to ease a person on from life in the most painless, comfortable, and dignified way possible. It is also meant to provide some relief for the family members who may have been the primary caretaker for the individual. It is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting to be a caregiver for someone, and when that person is a beloved family member it can take an even greater toll. Hospice nurses are a special breed of compassionate and patient people, and they often bring as much comfort to the family members as they do to the patient. Some patients also prefer a non family member to take care of them near the end of their life.
3.) Hope is not lost. When someone is placed on hospice care it does not mean the end is imminent. Hospice can last from weeks to years, but most often lasts a few months. Although hospice care does not focus on curing someone, it does emphasize caring and bringing as much relief as possible to the patient and their family. This in and of itself brings much hope to these situations. To know that a loved one is at peace and cared for as they near the end of life is a wonderful comfort to all involved.
Watching a loved one suffer is one of the hardest things to endure, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you need advice or have any questions, please reach out to us. We would love to help make your load a little lighter.
These statements are not meant to take the place of a doctor’s advice. If you have concerns about your health or the health of a loved one, always contact your health care provider.