We all want to live our lives with dignity, but the reality is that there are times when this cannot be achieved at home. This is why we need to know what signs indicate that it might be time to bring a loved one into hospice care.
There are many signs which can guide us in knowing that it is time to bring the loved one into the hospice. These include the following:
1. The Person Has a Terminal Illness
When is a condition considered terminal? A terminal illness cannot be cured and will eventually lead to death. It can also be defined as a condition where the patient has no chance of getting well, but only to get worse over time until they finally die. Medicare also considers a disease terminal if the patient has less than 6 months to live.
Hospice is a form of medical care that focuses on caring and comfort for the patient and improving the quality of life even as death approaches. It also provides support to friends and family during this trying time. Compared to palliative care, hospice care focuses on terminally ill patients and allows longer medical support to them.
2. Your Loved One Is Not Willing To Try Any Other Treatment
Most patients are willing to try other treatments even if the process might be long or painful. However, when they have tried these treatment options yet do not seem to work, it is useless trying new ones without their consent.
The patient might also refuse to try new treatments if they think it will not give them any chance of improvement or cure or that it is too much to handle. It is then time for the family members to respect their decision and allow hospice care to engage with the process.
In hospice care, the patient will first go through intake assessment, after which they can receive treatment for their condition. However, it might not be curative but palliative.
Those who no longer feel comfortable getting these therapies in healthcare facilities can choose to have home health care. This way, they can still get the same type of care but in the comfort of their own home.
3. The Person Is Suffering Unbearably
Symptoms of pain include things like difficulty swallowing, abdominal cramps, and mental confusion. Aside from these symptoms, the disease can cause severe pain that is not relieved by medication alone. A patient might also be in severe pain if the condition causes other effects on their body, such as impaired vision or hearing.
When the illness becomes so painful that it is no longer tolerable, it might be time to think of hospice care. Intense pain can cause depression and anxiety, which reduce one’s quality of life. When this happens, then the patient cannot truly enjoy their remaining days on earth.
In a hospice, a team of professionals will be assigned to the person, and they will provide around-the-clock care for them until their condition stabilizes again.
4. The Patient Is Experiencing Loss of Function
Consider hospice care if the patient is already experiencing loss of function, defined as the inability to perform simple tasks for themselves. This is especially true when they cannot feed themselves, clean themselves after using the bathroom, or even walk by themselves. If left untreated, continued lack of function can lead to higher risks of infections and pressure ulcers.
When they join a hospice center, the staff in such homes will provide the care they need while giving family members some much-needed time to breathe.
5. Your Loved One Is Suffering from Anxiety and/or Depression
The patient might feel hopeless or depressed if given a terminal illness diagnosis, especially when facing a slow and painful death. They might also be plagued by feelings of helplessness, which affect their quality of life because they no longer see themselves as being able to do the things they used to.
It is normal for people with terminal illnesses to experience mental health issues, so they need help. If these feelings are not addressed in time, this can lead to thoughts of suicide or self-harm. The role of the hospice team is to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that the patient is comfortable with the end of their life.
When a loved one no longer finds joy in life and is suffering from severe pain, the family members should talk to them about hospice care. In such facilities, patients will receive top-notch palliative care and social support from those who truly understand their situation. This is also true for those who have lost the ability to do even the most basic tasks for themselves since it is very likely that they are already exhausted.
Hospice care ensures that terminally ill patients can still enjoy their remaining days, making it the best choice when everything becomes too much to handle. It also helps family members cope with their loss. This way, they will be able to move forward after the death of their loved ones and respect their wishes in whichever way they want.