For many, hospice is a foreign topic of discussion, and in most cases, is not one that is easy to talk about. It can be confusing, with so many hospice care companies out there, and the emotions it brings are enough to make the conversation stop before it even begins.
That being said, learning more about what hospice care is and the value and benefits it can offer can be very helpful, no matter what stage of care you or a loved one may be in. To help start the conversation, we’ve broken down what hospice care really means, provided some common signs, symptoms, and diagnoses that may indicate hospice services are needed, and explained why it’s important to learn about hospice care ahead of time.
So, what is hospice care? Hospice is care that is focused on quality of life and comfort, rather than cure. It is intended for those in their last stages of life and provides medical services and emotional and spiritual support. Hospice care does not necessarily mean that death is imminent. Sometimes people are able to have hospice care for many months, or even years. Also, hospice care is not only for patients, but for the families of patients as well. Many times, hospice care helps families with the challenges of caring for a loved one from practical, planning details to the emotional difficulties.
What are some diagnoses that may need hospice care down the road? Collectively speaking, hospice care can be needed for diagnoses that are in the end stages. These can include terminal cancers, heart disease or failure, renal failure, neuromuscular diseases, and COPD, among others.
Outside of diseases in their final stages, what are signs and symptoms that can also be red flags for hospice care? Some signs include adult failure to thrive, multiple hospitalizations, weight loss, significant confusion, or mental decline, as well as difficulty breathing.
Why should hospice care be discussed early on? Educating yourself and your family members about hospice care is important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, being prepared for if and when this type of care may be needed can help limit confusion and can mitigate the emotional toll it can have on everyone involved. Furthermore, by giving yourself enough time to truly understand hospice care, and to explore local options for your or your loved one, you’ll give yourself and family peace of mind and reassurance that when the time arrives, hospice care will be the right decision.
Our team at Wesley Hospice is dedicated to helping our patients and their families understand our services and the types of care we offer. Even if hospice care is not in the near future, we would be happy to discuss with you and answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us at (614) 451-6700.