It will be one of the hardest journeys you will ever take.
For caregivers — for anyone who is about to lose someone—preparing for the death of a loved one is hard. Few people are ever ready to say that final good bye. Providing or participating in hospice care, however, lets you spend time with and honor your loved one. While it can be challenging, this last chance to provide thoughtful care and comfort will create positive memories to think of while you are grieving later. Hospice is not so much about dying. It is more about your loved one living those last days to the fullest.
span class="class-bold">What is hospice care? Hospice care is also called end-of-life care. Hospice care becomes an option usually when patients are “terminal.” This means their doctors estimate they will not live longer than about six months or less. At this point, patients will choose to stop treatments to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or dialysis, and start hospice. Hospice involves day-to-day care as a patient’s illness gets worse and death nears.
Care includes arrangement for or help with:
- Activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, eating, bathing, and walking
- Meals or feedings
- Social activities
- Quality time with family and friends
- Medical monitoring
Where can our loved one go for hospice care? A patient can receive hospice care at home, or in a facility that specializes in hospice care, such as a hospital unit, a specialized area in a nursing home, or a free-standing hospice. The choice depends not only on the patient, but also on relatives or friends who will be helping with or providing care. At least two doctors must certify that the patient has a terminal illness and is expected to live six months or less. The patient’s doctor will write an order for hospice care, and document why it is medically necessary. Everyone involved, you, your family, and especially your loved one, should understand your loved one’s condition and the doctor’s orders.
Please visit the following sites and resources for more information and tips. Also try to contact other caregivers whose loved ones are in hospice. You can develop friendships, and learn important things you had no idea to even explore.