It’s not easy when a loved one is battling a terminal illness.
While an imminent death may seem overwhelming at times, hospice – which is a care service that focuses on end of a life care rather than disease curing – is available to help.
Knowing exactly what to expect from hospice care can bring peace of mind to you and your family.
What is it?
Perhaps the most common misconception about hospice is that it’s housed in a physical building that patients go to on a daily or weekly basis for treatment, similar to a doctor’s office.
While some hospices have an on-site facility, many times, the staff of hospice professionals bring their unique brand of care and support direct to your loved one. They can treat the individual at home, in a hospital room or at an assisted living facility.
Though the primary function of hospice is to cater to a patient’s end of life comfort, it also assists caregivers by providing them with their own form of emotional support prior to and immediately after the death.
What to Expect with Hospice
It can be difficult to know exactly what your loved one wants or needs before death, especially if he or she is unable to communicate it to you directly.
However, hospice will try to accommodate you every step of the way. If the patient is given six or less months to live by a physician or medical professional, you will promptly be referred to a hospice representative (usually a social worker) in order to begin receiving services.
During this initial meeting with the social worker, he or she will outline the benefits of using hospice care and ask what type of support or services will be needed to make your loved one’s quality of life as pleasant as possible. At this time, they will also determine where the location of care will take place.
Over the course of the following days, various registered nurses, aides and a chaplain will visit to assist with personal care and spiritual support.
The Final Days
When it appears that your loved one is near death, hospice will increase the level of home, hospital or assisted living facility visits and provide continuous, round the clock care.
A staff member will stay with you and your loved one for any final medical or emotional treatment needed. He or she may also assist with the final legal paperwork and provide bereavement support after the death.
For more information regarding the various support services available to you and your family during a time of need, call Beinhauer Funeral Home & Cremation Service at 724-941-3211.