Home health is designed for patients recovering from illness, injury or surgery. In most cases, home health successfully returns a patient to independence while also helping to prevent a return to the hospital. Sometimes, however, patients and families find that home health treatment options are no longer helping. At that point the focus may shift toward emphasizing comfort and improving quality of life instead of recovery.
That’s when it may be time to consider hospice care.
Hospice care is often associated with only the last few days of life. In reality, the scope of hospice is broader, beginning whenever a patient, because of illness of disease, is recognized as having a prognosis of six months or less. The emphasis is on improving quality of life and providing the ability to complete unfinished end-of-life tasks.
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People who approach the end of their lives are often less afraid of death than they are of what may come during the dying process. When asked, most people say they want to remain in their own homes, surrounded by their loved ones, as they go through life’s final journey. They want to know that they will be comfortable, and that suffering will be alleviated.
This is where hospice can help.
Hospice care is specialized care, focusing on pain and symptom management, affirming life and providing critical help and support to both patients and family members during this difficult time. Patients and families often say they wish they had chosen hospice sooner in order to get the maximum benefit from the services offered.
Hospice care is designed to support and comfort patients and family members physically, emotionally and spiritually, improving the quality of life and relieving pain and suffering.
Hospice care is available for patients with any life-limiting illness, such as cancer, heart, lung or kidney disease, as well as dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. It provides specialized treatment that enables a person to maintain independence and take control of his/her illness or disease, complete important tasks, organize personal affairs, complete spiritual services and, finally, to have a comfortable, dignified and peaceful passing.
When medical treatment cannot provide a cure, hospice is a realistic and positive choice.
Hospice offers a personalized plan of care based on the patient’s progress and needs, developed in coordination with the patient’s designated attending physician and a hospice team of nurses, social workers, aides, volunteers, physicians, spiritual care advisors and others.
Hospice staff provides expertise in pain and symptom management and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with any needs, whenever they might arise.
What questions do you have about choosing hospice when home health isn’t enough? Share them with us in the comments below.