When it comes down to it, people generally have the desire to die peacefully in their sleep when they reach a certain age. The reality is a bit harsher; many people are afflicted with terminal diseases that are accompanied by pain. Hospice care exists to provide support for such people.
What is Hospice Care Support?
It is commonly said that hospice care is about “caring,” not “curing.”
Hospice care is a philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation (relief of pain, physical and mental stress) of the chronically ill. The goal of hospice is not to prolong the life of the patient, but to improve the quality of the patient’s remaining life. The care is not entirely physical, as it also tends to the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient.
There is often a team that provides hospice care support. The team members usually consist of:
- The patient’s personal physician
- Social workers
- Clergy or other religious counselors
- Trained volunteers
- Home health aides
- Hospice physician
Together, they create a plan to best serve the needs of the chronically ill patient.
Who can get Hospice Care?
People with a life expectancy of 6 months or less, should they opt for it, can receive hospice care. They can still get it even if they live past 6 months, as long as their physician recertifies them as terminally ill.
Common terminal illnesses where people have opted to receive hospice care include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Dementia (including Alzheimer’s)
- Lung diseases
- ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
People often fear facing their own mortality. Hospice care shows them options on how to spend their last days. It gives them control over their lives and helps them make important decisions.
What does Hospice Care Support entail?
Hospice services generally include:
- Basic medical care, focusing on pain and symptom control
- Medical supplies and equipment as necessary
- Counseling and support for patients and family members to deal with emotional, spiritual, and psychological issues
- Respite care for caregivers who are often family members and friends
- Volunteer support such as meal preparation and taking care of errands
- Help with advance directive forms to ensure patients’ wishes on CPR and life support are carried out
- Help with daily tasks and personal hygiene needs
How can Family First Companion Care help?
If you have a loved one with terminal illness, you’re faced with a difficult decision. Should you decide to engage hospice care, we’re here to help.
While we cannot administer injections, medications, or provide “skilled nursing,” we can be part of the team of hospice care support you provide for your loved one. Your time can be better spent next to your loved one if you leave the mundane housekeeping tasks like cleaning, vacuuming, and laundry to us.
We can also help with more physical needs, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and personal hygiene. If you need us to help with meal preparation, cleanup, shopping, or running errands, we can arrange that. Whether you need 1 hour or 24 hours of care, we can work with you to make sure your loved one’s last days are filled with meaning and as little stress and pain as possible.