Things To Know About Hospice Care
During a terminal illness, you or a family member might speak with your doctor and reach the decision that treatments intended to slow or cure your disease are not working any longer, or you want to stop them. At that point, your doctor can provide you with a referral for hospice care, which is also called end-of-life care.
You would like to have relief from shortness of breath, pain, and other symptoms so you can focus on the things and people you most care about. This is when end-of-life or hospice care can be helpful.
Some individuals may think that entering into hospice means that they are giving up. Other people might worry that they will not receive the medical care that they need. However, hospice services, instead of attempting to cure a disease, instead focus on your quality of life.
Your team might include a nurse, doctor, counselor, social worker, trained volunteers, home health aide, and chaplain (if you are a religious person). The work together in order to meet your spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.
Hospice is for the members of the family as well. It offers counseling and assistance with practical things like shopping and cleaning house.
When Can I Enter Hospice Care in Houston?
You can enter a hospice program when your doctor states you have a terminal illness and you can expect to die within 6 months or less. You may stay in hospice past this time if your physician and team determine you still have just a short amount of time to live.
Hospice is not a permanent choice always.
For example, if you have failing kidneys, you might decide to enter the hospice program instead of continuing on dialysis. However, you can change your mind still, stop your hospice care, and then get started on treatments once again. Other individuals might get better unexpectedly and stop the service and still have the option of returning at a later time.
Hospice is different than palliative care, which cares for everyone who has a serious illness, and not only people who are dying and not seeking a cure any longer.
Can I Stay in My Home – and Should I Do This?
Hospice provides four care levels, two of which occur at home. The following are the four levels that are available:
- Routine Home Care. This is the most common hospice care level, and it includes home health aide and nursing services.
- Continuous Home Care. This level is provided when continuous nursing care is needed by a patient during a crisis period of time.
- General Inpatient Care. This is short-term care during those times when symptoms and care cannot be managed other than in a hospital.
- Respite Care. This is a level of short-term care inside of a facility during those times when the caregiver needs a break from caregiving responsibilities.
You may decide you or a loved one wants to stay where family and friends are able to freely visit. Most people, in fact, choose this option. Usually a friend or relative is the primary caregiver.
You might also receive care at nursing homes, hospitals, hospice centers, and other long-term care facilities.
You may want to consider the following questions when deciding whether or not you want to stay at home:
How does the person feel who needs care and how ill is she or he?
Can pain be managed away from a nursing home or hospital?
Is the main caregiver emotionally and physically able to provide whatever is needed at home?
If you work and are a caregiver, are you able to leave your job or cut back your work hours?
Will you be able to obtain the extra supplies you may need, like a wheelchair or bedside commode?
It is a personal decision, and every situation is different. However, the way you answer questions like these will help you determine the best place to go.
What Occurs After I Am In Hospice?
Your care team will develop a special plan that is just for you and your family. They will focus on helping to make your symptoms and pain better. They will check on you on a regular basis, and one of your team members is on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
A doctor – your personal one or one who is connected with the program – will provide medical care. Also, nurses will check on you. Aides will help with things like cooking, cleaning, dressing, and bathing.
Other available services include:
* Counseling for your loved ones
* Speech and physical therapy
* Advice on eating
* Medical supplies and equipment
* Medicine to ease pain
* Counseling and Social work
* Spiritual and Chaplain services for you as well as your loved ones
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