It’s never too early to begin thinking about end-of-life (EOL) care. Delaying the conversation means that families must make heart-wrenching decisions during a time when the stress may be too much to bear. Starting the conversation about hospice care begins with knowing what hospice care offers and dispelling the myths about what happens when a person is under hospice care. Here are a few tips to help you begin your discussion.
First, it helps to know how hospice works. Hospice uses a team approach that includes doctors, nurses, social workers and others to provide comprehensive care to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. There are hospice care services that are available in health care communities, or in the home. The purpose of hospice is not to cure an illness, but to provide pain management and compassionate care that allows the individual who is ill to die with dignity.
Thinking about hospice care before you need to can make EOL planning easier. If you or a loved one should develop a life-limiting condition, and a physician tells you that there is no cure, you will already know what to expect from hospice care. It’s also important to note that hospice care is covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Many private insurances also cover hospice care.
Hospice has been beneficial for many families. It’s not unusual to hear families praise hospice. Hospice staff will go the extra mile to take care of the ill person and provide supportive services for the family. Hospice volunteers help with everything from sitting with a patient while the family takes a much-needed break, to running errands.
Learn all you can about hospice programs in your area. Share the information with your family. Have the discussion about hospice now. When a family member needs it, all a doctor will have to do is make a referral for hospice care, and everything else will be in place.