It’s a common misconception that people receiving end-of-life care are unhappy and just waiting for the inevitable. However, a new study suggests that people in hospice care might be happier than we expect.
A recent study from the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine found that patients receiving end-of-life care were generally content with their lives, with many finding a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life. The study, conducted with patients in a hospice in New Zealand, suggests that people receiving palliative care might be more content than we imagine.
Participants often talked about small, simple, and fleeting occurrences that brought them joy. For some, this focus on the simple things may have been a way of managing uncertainty about what the future might hold. Receiving a terminal diagnosis can change your outlook on life. The authors suggest that happiness may not increase, but it changes, and patients are able to take great satisfaction from things they would have previously taken for granted.
This isn’t the first study to suggest that death may not be as frightening for people approaching it as we imagine. A 2017 study compared the experience of people at the end of life with people imagining they were dying soon. It found that those facing imminent death were more positive than those imagining it, and those facing death became more positive as death approached.
The research highlighted how participants receiving end-of-life care were generally content with their lives and had a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life. Many of the participants urged younger people to focus on social connections and nature to find happiness, rather than material possessions and the internet.
The findings of these studies may relieve some of the fears associated with death and provide insight for palliative and hospice professionals. It suggests that focusing on the simple things in life, such as spending time with loved ones and enjoying nature, can bring happiness and contentment in even the most challenging of circumstances.
How Hospice Can Help
Hospice care can be a valuable resource for individuals and their families as they approach the end of life. Hospice care is focused on providing comfort, relief from pain, and support for emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice teams consist of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals who work together to provide care that is tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences.
Hospice care can help individuals and their families find peace and comfort during what can be a difficult and challenging time. Hospice services may include pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, assistance with personal care, and help with practical tasks such as meal preparation and housekeeping. Hospice care can also provide support for family members and loved ones, helping them to cope with their own emotions and providing guidance on how to best care for their loved one.
In addition to these practical services, hospice care can also help individuals and their families find joy and meaning in the time they have left. Hospice teams may help individuals connect with family and friends, pursue hobbies and interests, or participate in meaningful activities that bring them joy and fulfillment. Hospice care can also help individuals and their families make peace with their lives and find comfort in knowing that they have lived well.
The “Happiness at the End of Life” study mentioned earlier found that many participants found happiness in simple things like spending time with loved ones, enjoying nature, and pursuing hobbies and interests. Hospice care can help facilitate these experiences by providing support and resources that make it possible for individuals to engage in these activities.
Finding happiness at the end of life is possible, and hospice care can play an important role in helping individuals and their families find peace, comfort, and meaning during this time. By providing a range of services that are tailored to each individual’s needs and preferences, hospice care can help individuals make the most of the time they have left and find joy in the simple things that make life worth living.
Las Vegas Hospice Care
At Siena Hospice, we are committed to helping patients and loved ones make the best of the end-of-life period. If you or a loved one is considering hospice care in Las Vegas, contact us today.