When we enter into discussions and planning regarding end-of-life care for ourselves or our loved ones, hospice is an option that deserves consideration. While most people have heard of hospice, few fully understand what it means and entails. We hope you’ll find these 5 facts beneficial to your own understanding and planning.
- Hospice care neither prolongs or hastens death and does not mean giving up medical treatment.
Hospice is a philosophy or care that is intended to increase comfort and quality of life as much as possible during a patient’s final days. While there is a greater focus on reflection and realization of personal goals that allow fulfillment during this final stage of life, medical treatment is not altered or foregone as a result of using hospice care. Hospice is a Medicare-covered option available to those for whom death is expected within 6 months, but if the 6-month mark is surpassed, hospice care will not be discontinued.
A hospice team may consist of a physician, nurse, social worker, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, pet therapist, art therapist, massage therapist, and more—but this does not mean a patient cannot continue to see his or her regular doctor(s). The patient retains control over his or her medical treatment decisions.
- Hospice care is not specific to a certain place.
Hospice care involves a team of professionals who provide comfort care in any setting. Doctors and nurses are brought directly to the patient so he or she can receive care at home or in an assisted living facility.
While a majority of seniors share that they would prefer to die at home, many patients and their loved ones think that this would be too difficult given the medical care needed. Hospice is a solution that allows in-home treatment and care.
- Hospice care isn’t just for the patient. It’s for loved ones as well.
Hospice care includes emotional support for loved ones during the patient’s final days. Understandably, dying and death can be upsetting—and loved ones may have questions about what is happening. Hospice eases the transition by providing comfort and knowledge.
Hospice care also eases the burden of family members and loved ones by handling respite care and other related responsibilities such as picking up prescriptions. Freed of these chores, family members are able to focus on spending time with their loved one during his or her final days and are better able to sort through their emotions and prepare for the inevitable.
Hospice also includes grief counseling and bereavement services after death, ensuring the continued emotional well-being of family members and loved ones.
- Half of eligible patients don’t ask for hospice or request it too late.
Some patients don’t know that Medicare covers hospice. Others think that receiving hospice care means giving up and accepting death.
As part of your comprehensive end-of-life care planning, it’s important to understand the option of hospice and what it can offer you and your loved ones.
- Hospice isn’t for everyone—and it’s okay to quit.
For those who have any hesitations about using hospice care, you can withdraw from hospice care at any time. Trying hospice care does not lock you in. Needs and desires change, and it’s perfectly acceptable to change your mind.
Questions about hospice care?
Still not sure if hospice is the right choice for you and your loved ones? Wondering how to make your preferences about hospice clear in your living will? We’re here to help. Get started with your Keystone Digital Living Will here, or contact our dedicated team of healthcare technology professionals.