Hospice Care for the Final Days—Or Months
Home is the preferred place for most seniors to age. For a number of years, that may be a relatively easy option. But the final months or weeks may become especially scary, painful, or difficult to manage at home. That’s when hospice care is there to help.
Hospice care is a wonderful service that’s generally staffed by caring individuals committed to helping your loved one experience as much physical and emotional comfort and peace as possible during the end of life. Hospice care is usually paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. If your loved one is ineligible for hospice under any of these, hospice care may be covered by donations, or you may be charged a nominal fee which is always far less than that of either hospitalization or a nursing home.
Hospice Care Is There To Help Well Before The Final Few Days
While it is true that hospice is only available for terminal patients when all hope for recovery is past, sometimes “the final days” stretch out longer than anyone can predict. Because of that, hospice services may be received for more than a year should periodic reassessments continue to indicate a terminal prognosis. This means that you don’t have to worry about beginning to receive hospice assistance too early– there is no “limit” to be used up.
Hospice workers should be consulted for any kind of physical assistance your dying loved one may need. This includes medication for pain relief, special supplies for wound care, help with bathing, in-home assistance with medical equipment like oxygen and I.V.s, help changing position in bed, changing bedding, etc.
Hospice workers will also provide some counseling on the dying process and offer emotional support to both the dying person as well as to their family members.
A typical hospice team includes nurses, home health aides, a chaplain, a social worker, and volunteers.
Some Things Hospice Does Not Do
Hospice usually won’t do everything your loved one needs. When you talk to your local hospice center, you may find that they are only able to come several times per week and sometimes only for a few hours per day. Hospice will, however, have nurses on call during after office hours. But they may not have enough volunteers to provide all of the assistance you and your loved one require. You may need someone else to fill in if you can’t be with your loved one all of the time, or when you need a break from caregiving.
Home and Hearth Caregivers are experienced in cooperating and coordinating with hospice care workers and family members to provide whatever assistance is necessary. We will do errands and meal preparation, we will physically tend to the person who is dying, we will provide watchful care while you are away. Equally important, we will be there just to listen and provide compassionate company and presence for your loved one, or any part of the family.
Tell us what you need. We would be honored to help guide you through this difficult and challenging time.