Here are common signs that it could be time for hospice care. First, though, let’s start by defining the topic.
What exactly is hospice care?
Hospice care caters to patients with advanced illnesses nearing the end of life. It’s geared towards improving the patients’ quality of life if they’ve decided not to find curative treatment.
Hospice care addresses emotional, clinical, and spiritual needs and honors the patients’ end-of-life care wishes and goals, helping them live comfortably. Thanks to regular visits from hospice aides and nurses, hospice patients’ pain and other symptoms can be kept under control. It also supports the patients’ caregivers and family members through education, helps with daily care, chances for respite care, long-term grief, and spiritual and emotional support.
Top signs it might be time for hospice care:
1. If treatment can no longer control or cure the illness
If a disease like advanced cancer reaches a point where treatment can’t cure or control it, or all the treatment options have been exhausted, it could be time to consider hospice care. Generally, hospice care should begin when a patient is expected to live for about six months, or less should the disease take its usual course.
Consider seeking in-home hospice care services, including feeding, toileting, bed baths, repositioning, medication assistance, and other services required from Husky Senior Care or any other reputable facility. Hiring a professional hospice care service ensures that the gaps between nurse visits are filled, keeping your loved ones comfortable, and ensures all their care details are taken care of.
2. Regular trips to the emergency room
If your loved one is spending most of their time in the hospital, it could imply that the burden of your care outweighs its benefits. With in-home hospice care, the illness can be managed while giving personalized care to the patient.
3. Frequent pain that’s hard to treat
If your loved one’s pain can no longer be managed with regular medication, it could be time to try hospice care. Hospice care starts with palliative care which is meant to reduce your loved one’s pain while improving their quality of life.
Palliative care, also called comfort care, symptom management, or supportive care, is part of hospice care and can be offered separately. It treats or prevents side effects or symptoms as early as possible. The goal of palliative care is to ensure a patient remains comfortable and enjoys the final stage of life.
4. Sudden decline in appetite
If your loved one loses the desire to eat, it could signify their body is preparing to shut down. Seeking hospice care will give patients the comfort they need while allowing you and other family members to spend time with them.
5. Time for hospice care? Regular infections
The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from infections. HIV, viral hepatitis, and certain cancer types can make your loved one immunocompromised.
Patients with weak immune systems are at a greater risk of getting severe symptoms and frequent infections that are hard to treat. Since severe infections can be fatal, it’s wise to consider hospice care.
6. Mental function decline or confusion
If your patient shows a sudden mental functionality decline that leaves them irritable and confused, it could be time to consider hospice or palliative care. They could also experience poor motor coordination, identity confusion, and impaired judgment.
7. A declaration of fewer than six months to live
While it may be hard to accept, your loved one’s doctor could recommend palliative/ hospice care. That is especially true if their medical reports state that they have about six or fewer months to live.
This decision is usually between the family, patient, medical team, and hospice or palliative care specialist in most cases. It’s important to note that not all patients in hospice care die, mainly if the palliative care that precedes hospice is sufficient to help your loved one recover.
8. Inability to conduct daily tasks
If a patient has difficulties performing regular tasks, including bathing, preparing meals, going to the bathroom, or getting dressed, it could indicate the treatment is no longer working or effective. In that case, hospice care would be a great option.
9. Sleeping longer and more regularly
Let’s say a patient is usually full of energy. Then they suddenly start experiencing regular, more extended sleeping patterns.
That could signal a significant change happening in their body. For instance, they can sleep for eight to 10 hours at night, take three to four-hour naps, and still doze off when sitting down.
When it’s time for hospice care
Making hospice care decisions can be emotional and challenging. However, they’re necessary at times. Consider these signs to determine hospice care time.