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Everything You Need to Know About Hospice Care

For seniors with terminal illnesses or memory-related disorders, hospice care is a powerful option that offers medical, psychological, and spiritual support for their needs when the disease has advanced beyond cure.

Unfortunately, studies show that hospice care is often started too late because of a few misconceptions about it. So, what is hospice care, and how can it improve the quality of life in older adults with life-limiting illnesses?

What Is Hospice Care?

There are times when terminal illnesses like cancer get to a point where treatment can no longer cure or control the spread of the disease. Hospice is designed for this situation.

Hospice care professionals do not focus on curing the disease. Instead, they direct their energy towards treating the patients’ symptoms, managing their pain and discomfort, and ensuring that they live out their lives as comfortably as possible.

Though hospice care mostly occurs at home, patients may need to go to a hospital, extended-care facility, or inpatient hospice center depending on the severity of their illness and their specific medical needs.

It is a common belief that hospice care is just for people with incurable cancer—but that’s not the case. Seniors with late-stage kidney, lung, and heart diseases and advanced neurological conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can also benefit from professional and compassionate hospice care.

Difference between Hospice and Palliative Care

Though both palliative and hospice care provide patients with comfort and holistic care, they are slightly different from each other. Patients can opt for palliative care at any stage of a terminal illness. On the other hand, hospice care is only offered when treatments stop working and the person is expected to live six months or less.

Hospice Does Not Mean Giving Up on Elderly Loved Ones

Hospice doesn’t speed up death. The common misconception is that it does have its roots in the eligibility criteria for hospice care—a doctor must certify that there is a possibility that the patient may not live past six months.

Though this sounds alarming, qualifying for hospice care does not equal a six-month death notice. All it means is that every six months, a doctor must reevaluate the senior patient to ensure they are still eligible for hospice care.

In fact, there are some cases where seniors have failed to re-qualify for hospice care because their health improved significantly. Additionally, seniors can leave hospice at any time to continue with medical treatments.

Many try to time adding hospice care to the very last days of a person’s life, but this is a misguided practice. Starting hospice care early allows older adults and family members to take full advantage of the help it offers.

Hospice professionals work together with doctors and family members to not only manage physical symptoms but also ensure the mental and emotional well-being of both senior patients and their loved ones. It is an opportunity for older adults to receive meaningful and holistic care that empowers them to live the rest of their lives in dignity and peace, surrounded by their loved ones.

What Does Hospice Care Include?

  • Symptom Control and Pain Management
  • Stress Management and Mental Health Support

Physical and Occupational Therapy

  • Dietary Counseling
  • 24/7 On-Call Help and Support (not to be confused with 24/7 care)
  • Short-Term Inpatient Care
  • Respite Care
  • Spiritual Support

A distinguishing feature of hospice care is the broad support it offers families. From coordinating patient care to assisting with everyday care activities like bathing and offering grief counselling for loved ones, hospice professionals provide family members with the guidance and stress relief they need to cope with their loved one’s diagnosis.

If patients or loved ones feel like the treatment is not working or has run its course, it may be time to discuss hospice as an option with family members and physicians.

The Oasis Senior Advisors team offers personalized and compassionate service to find care options such as hospice for seniors and their families. They can help older adults and their loved ones find the perfect solutions for their specific circumstances. Get in touch by calling 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901 or fill out their online form.

Oasis Senior Advisors

Fairfield-Westchester

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Paul and Susan Doyle

Certified Senior Advisor®

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475-619-4123