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Hospice Care: What is It?

November 04, 2021

Hospice care often comes with a negative connotation; some view it as a means of giving up when it comes to a loved one’s advanced illness. Contrary to this belief, hospice is meant to give those nearing the end of their life hope, comfort, and a restored quality of life leading up to their final days. It’s important to talk with your loved ones and family about hospice, what it means and what benefits it can bring when medical treatments are no longer working. 

While it’s a difficult decision to make, being better informed on hospice and its elements can help ease the emotional pain that you, your family, and your loved one will endure throughout the first steps of the process.

Hospice Care Explained

Hospice care provides individuals that are suffering from advanced illnesses symptoms and pain management so that they can live out their final days in peace, comfort and be able to enjoy their family’s company to the fullest. Essentially, it’s about treating the symptoms and not the disease. Hospice nurses develop individual care plans focused on each patient’s wishes based on emotional and spiritual support to make the process easier for everyone involved. Hospice does not aim to postpone or expedite an individual’s passing; instead, it’s a philosophy that accepts death as the final stage of life. 

When Should Hospice Care Begin?

It’s best to begin hospice for your loved one as soon as you know that their condition has gotten to a point in which it is no longer treatable. Generally, this is when a person is expected to live no more than six months, and in some cases much less (though these are often cases in which hospice was started too late). Some doctors may initiate the conversation, but it’s typically up to the family to decide when to begin seeking care.

Services That Hospice Care Provides

Most hospices follow Medicare guidelines and requirements when it comes to their services. These services can include the following:

  • Visits to the patient’s location by hospice physician, nurse, medical social worker, health aid, and spiritual advisor

  • Medication for symptom and pain relief

  • Occupational and physical therapy

  • Dietary counseling

  • Medical equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, bandages, catheters, etc.)

  • Speech-language pathology

  • Short-term inpatient care

  • Short-term respite care

  • Grief and loss counseling

Before a patient receives the green light for hospice, a physician and secondary physician must certify that the individual meets the specific medical eligibility criteria, stating that the patient’s life expectancy is six months or less. If a patient lives longer than six months but is declining in their condition, a physician may recertify them for continued hospice care.

When You’re Ready for Hospice Care

If you and your family have decided to go forward with hospice care for your loved one, One Source Home Health and Hospice is here to put your worries at ease. Our skilled, compassionate staff adheres to the highest standards in Home Health and Hospice Care to provide you and your loved one with the most peaceful, comfortable, and professional experience possible; all you have to worry about is spending quality time with the ones that you love, as a family. Give us a call today or send us a message to give your loved ones the best possible experience in their final days.