Saturday 7 January 2017

Why Using Hospice Doesn't Mean You're "Giving Up"

None of my own family members have ever been in hospice care, but our son Nick has been on palliative care for some time now. We support Nick's decision not to have any more surgery or invasive procedures to correct the effects of his disabilities. Between 2006 and 2011, we lived in London, England. During that time, Nicholas was often ill and we used the wonderful services of our local hospice, but as an outpatient. Our compassionate and clever palliative care physician made frequent home visits and so did the hospice social worker. For soothing treatments such as massage and reflexology, I took Nick in to the hospice. I'm a huge supporter of both palliative and hospice care. They're nothing to be frightened of - on the contrary, when a cure is no longer the medical objective, these services are there to make living a lot more pain-free and enjoyable. - Donna

The final stages of life’s journey can be difficult. But using hospice care does not mean you or your loved ones or your doctors are giving up. Hospice is a shift in your health care goals and objectives with an emphasis on comfort and quality of life.

Through hospice care, a patient and their family have the opportunity to enjoy life and celebrate memories in comfort and with peace of mind.

Hospice is not the end, but the beginning of a different journey.

What Does Hospice Really Mean?
Hospice care is a specialized form of medical care designed specifically to provide comfort and a better quality of life to patients with an advanced illness. Instead of searching for a cure, hospice enables patients to live each day to the fullest.

While hospice does involve admitting that most terminal diseases cannot be cured, eliminating pain while helping patients remain alert is the ultimate goal of hospice care. But there is still a great deal of healing that can be done in hospice.

For example, hospice care is holistic and is designed to support the entire family through compassionate care. There are several different types of hospice care, including spiritual services, 24-hour or on-call care, palliative care and bereavement counseling.

These programs are designed specifically around the needs of the patient and their family.

Quality vs Quantity
Hospice care is about quality versus quantity: It’s about making sure the patient is comfortable more than extending the patient’s life, and that is an important distinction. As a family member facing hospice care for a loved one, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your patient and other family members.

Hospice care doesn’t mean your doctor is no longer involved in the process. It’s quite the contrary actually. It’s important that your doctor is present whenever any major medical decision is made.

“Hospice care doesn’t mean your doctor is no longer involved in the process.”

If you’re still having difficulty understanding the benefits of hospice, it may be time to ask another family member or a trusted friend to help out. Being the primary caregiver of a terminally ill patient is a big responsibility and understanding their wishes is integral to the process.

Ensuring your loved one received the quality of care they deserve may mean removing your own personal bias from the equation – which is easier said than done. The patient’s needs and preferences should take precedence over all else.

Celebration of Life
Hospice is more about looking back and celebrating the life lived, than it is looking toward the end of life. It’s a care program designed to ensure patients have as much quality time with their loved ones as possible. So it is important to approach hospice with a positive attitude.

Hospice patients can live for months and even years with the advanced treatment methods available. This is especially true for children and young adults facing hospice. It can be difficult to celebrate life when you’re dealing with a child, young adult or a patient with memory loss in hospice.

Under these circumstances, quality of life should take top priority.

Dignity and comfort are important in life and even more so when one is approaching the end their life. While hospice does not seek a cure, it does help patients and their families cope and it provides important quality time.

It is not the end, but the beginning of a different journey.

Dennis Silva is Co-Founder of Omni Care Hospice, a  provider of compassionate, quality home hospice care in Las Vegas that meets the needs of people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.


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