Navigating the transition to hospice care can be difficult for the family and loved ones of a patient with a life-limiting illness. In many cases, entering hospice care means accepting the inevitability of death and making difficult decisions about end-of-life care. But with a few tips from hospice professionals, you can make this transition easier.
It’s important to take the time to understand what this journey looks like and how you can best support those going through it. It is also essential to gather resources and reach out for help if needed.
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice is specialized end-of-life care that focuses on providing comfort, support, and pain management while allowing patients to remain in their home environment surrounded by their friends and family until their death.
Hospice providers typically offer services such as medical care, emotional support, spiritual guidance, grief counseling, and other practical help with managing daily life during this phase of illness.
The recommendation to pursue hospice care is often made by the individual’s healthcare team, though it can also be initiated by the patient or their family. To be considered for hospice, a patient must meet certain criteria, usually related to their diagnosis and an expected duration of life of six months or less.
Generally, Medicare Part A covers most of the cost of hospice care for individuals who are eligible. Some private insurance plans may also cover some or all of the costs.
Making the Transition to Hospice Care
Making the transition to hospice care can be difficult for terminally ill patients and their loved ones. However, with the help of a supportive companion, it can become easier. Here is a summary of some ways a loved one can help make this transition smoother:
- Listen to the patient’s concerns and fears without judgment or criticism.
- Help create an environment that is warm, kind, and loving.
- Provide thoughtful companionship and comfort during moments when life may seem unbearable.
- Research available services and resources to give the patient more control over the situation.
- Find ways to celebrate special occasions like birthdays or holidays while in hospice care.
- Encourage open communication between doctor, family and friends so that everyone has access to relevant information.
- Advocate for the patient’s needs in terms of pain management, emotional support, and other medical treatments that can help ease suffering.
- Allow time for reflection and quietude so that the patient can process their emotions in peace and privacy.
The first step in making the transition easier is talking openly with the patient about their wishes and concerns regarding hospice care. This conversation should include clear expectations from all parties in order to ensure everyone’s needs are met without any confusion or misunderstanding later on down the road. Make sure your loved one knows they will be taken care of and their wishes honored throughout this process.
Talking with a hospice professional is another important step in understanding if the services and support of hospice are appropriate for your family’s situation.
Once you decide that hospice is the right choice, you should gather reliable information about the different providers available in your area. Look for recommendations from medical professionals or other families who have gone through this experience before. If you are in the Las Vegas area, Siena Hospice is happy to explain our services and direct you to other resources if that is appropriate.
Focus on Quality Time
Hospice care offers many important benefits, not least of which is allowing the patient and their loved ones to enjoy the highest possible quality of life in a difficult time. By focusing on minimizing pain and maximizing comfort, hospice can allow everyone involved to step back from the stresses of ongoing disease management to focus on the coming passage.
It’s important to remember that even though it might be difficult at times, there are many benefits associated with spending quality time together during this transitional period of life. Setting aside time each day just for talking and being together can provide much-needed comfort when facing a terminal diagnosis or illness progression that no longer responds well to treatment options.
Spend time discussing topics like future goals and plans, favorite memories from years past, thoughts about legacy items such as photographs or artifacts that will live on after them. Anything meaningful or memorable can bring healing moments as your loved one transitions into hospice care.
Do not forget that there are resources available outside of traditional hospice facilities which may be able to offer additional assistance depending on individual needs. Taking advantage of these services can make life much easier by providing extra assistance such as yard work or grocery shopping – freeing up time so you can focus on being there emotionally for your loved one during this stressful period in their life journey.
Ultimately it comes down to showing support by doing whatever needs doing—from holding hands during appointments with doctors or social workers, helping them fill out forms, or simply listening when they wish to talk. Allow your loved one space for normal activities and understand that no two experiences are alike. Most importantly, remember that showing love throughout every stage of making this transition makes it easier for everyone involved and ultimately makes a huge difference in affecting how someone experiences death with grace instead of fearfulness.
Las Vegas Hospice Care
At Siena Hospice in Las Vegas, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality and compassionate care to patients and families. Our staff works closely with individual patients, family members, and healthcare providers to create a personalized hospice plan that meets each patient’s unique needs.
For those who are considering hospice care for themselves or a loved one in Las Vegas, Siena Hospice is an excellent choice. For more information, contact us today.