How to Know When It’s Time for Hospice Care

How to Know When It’s Time for Hospice Care

While many people don’t like to talk about it because of the uncomfortable feeling it creates, it is important that people discuss the impending fact that everyone will die eventually. It is even more important to talk about this with elderly parents and grandparents if they have a serious illness because their wishes need to be known before their health starts to decline. As their health declines, the family will often discuss the idea of placing their loved one in hospice care. How does a family know when hospice care is appropriate for their elderly loved one?

Is the Illness a Terminal Disease?

The first question to ask of a sick loved one is whether or not the illness is treatable or curable. It is not unusual for people to contract a terminal illness in their old age, such as cancer. Despite the most advanced medical treatment options on the market, some diseases are still terminal. If a loved one has a disease that is expected to shorten their life, some people would rather spend their few months in a hospice care setting receiving comfort care than receiving an aggressive treatment in a hospital for an extra few weeks of life. Consider hospice care if the loved one has a terminal illness.

Is the Medical Treatment Providing an Unnecessary Burden?

When people are in the hospital receiving treatment for a serious illness, the gut feeling for most people is to try everything possible to treat or cure the disease. This gut feeling disappears for elderly individuals who may simply want to have a high quality of life that is spent with their loved ones before they pass. Treatment options for serious diseases, such as cancer, often come with unnecessary side effects. If these side effects are burdensome and the disease is not improving, it may be a wise decision to move the loved one to hospice care where they can receive comfort care for their final days without the unpleasant side effects of an aggressive treatment.

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Does the Patient Want to Pass Surrounded by Their Family and Friends?

Patients who are considering hospice care have likely accepted that the end is near. In a hospital setting, there are often limits on how many people can be at the bedside and when they are allowed to visit. In a hospice care setting, family and friends are allowed to participate in the comfort care of a loved one and are allowed to be present at the bedside. Dying surrounded by loved ones is important for many people who are enrolled in hospice care. Consider hospice care if this is important to the loved one.


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