Is Hospice the Right Choice

Is Hospice the Right Choice

Making the choice to place a loved one in hospice can be an emotional and stressful decision. Comprehensive Home Health & Hospice wants to help you understand what hospice is, when hospice should be a consideration and what to look for in a hospice provider.

What is Hospice?

Hospice is typically meant for those with a terminal illness and life expectancy of six-months or less. This end of life care is meant to allow patients to terminate potentially exhausting or even painful medical treatments and allow them to spend their remaining time in the comfort and familiarity of their home, surrounded by family and friends.
Hospice care brings together physical, emotional and spiritual care practiced by skilled nurses, social workers, and chaplains. Simply, hospice is a focus on quality of life for the terminally ill, instead of treatment for the disease. Hospice isn’t just for the patient with grief counseling and emotional support services available to help for the patient’s family as well.

While hospice is end-of-life care for most patients – there are some patients who leave hospice to re-start treatments or if there is an unexpected recovery.

The goal of hospice care is to allow the patient to enjoy whatever time they have left, surrounded by family and friends, in the familiarity of their own home, allowing them dignity, comfort, and peace.

How do I know if a loved one is eligible for hospice?

Your provider will tell you or your family if hospice is an option. Typically this means a physician has determined a terminal illness will result in death within six-months. However, hospice is not limited to a six-month window should the patient survive longer and the physician decides if extending hospice is in the patient’s best interest.

There are several types of hospice care:

Routine Home Care – This basic and most common level of hospice care allows your physician and a team of medical professionals to provide the care that’s right for you or your loved one. Routine Home Care can include:

  • Skilled nursing
  • Intermittent home health aide
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Medical social services
  • Medical supplies for home use
  • Durable medical equipment

Continuous Home Care – is used when managing a patient’s acute medical symptoms requires more than eight hours of a 24-hour period and a nurse stays in the patient’s home for an extended period of time. Some factors that would indicate Continuous Home Care is the right solution include:

  • A breakdown of the primary care giver support system,
  • Extreme and uncontrolled anxiety 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unrelieved pain

Respite Care
– this is typically short-term, in-facility care, that allows the patient’s caregiver time away from the daily responsibilities of providing care. This can be from care related stress or other extenuating circumstances. Respite Care however, is limited to five-days. After that time, the patient is discharged and returned home.

General Inpatient Care – typically reserved for patients who can not receive adequate care at home or determine an in-patient facility is better suited for their requirements. These facilities provide around the clock care to help control severe pain or symptoms.

Is hospice right for the caregiver?

When making the decision to choose hospice for a loved one, there are questions you will want to ask yourself:

  • Is it realistic to effectively manage pain or symptoms outside a hospital or nursing home?
  • Is the caregiver emotionally prepared for the task at hand?
  • How and how often will the caregiver have a chance to take breaks from providing care?
  • What will the economic impact be on the caregiver? Will they have to find a way to replace lost income due to time away from work?
  • What emotional support is available for caregivers through the hospice provider?

Comprehensive Home Health & Hospice provides a range of emotional support services for patients as well as caregivers, provided by social workers, chaplain and counselors. We recognize when a patient enters hospice care, there’s a wide ranging impact on the caregiver, family and friends. We are here to help support your emotional needs through the process.

If you or a loved one are in need of hospice, Comprehensive Home Health & Hospice would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your specific needs in more detail.