Photo by Vlada Karpovich

Hospice care is beneficial for patients, and it also provides comfort and assurance for loved ones.

“Hospice” may be a word everyone does not want to hear. That is because it sounds like placing or giving up your responsibility on somebody else. Then again, hospice care can sometimes be the best choice, especially for elderly loved ones, to live the remaining days of their lives. Thus, it would be prime to have an open mind in approaching the possibility of hospice care. After all, it can benefit your aging parent or grandparent and your family.

5 Ways Hospice Care Can Benefit Elderly Patients and Their Families

Aside from providing comfort and reducing pain and suffering, you might wonder: What are the other benefits of hospice care? As mentioned, hospice care is family-centered, which means that family members will remain the principal caregivers for in-home hospice services and have the support of experts who make scheduled and regular visits.  Family members are included in all decisions related to their loved ones in a hospice facility.

This team of experts for both in-home and in-facility hospice care includes nurses, a physician, a bereavement specialist, social workers. Facility hospice care is beneficial because it includes aides and volunteers. The goal is to ensure that a senior loved one is pain-free, comfortable, and can keep the highest quality of life. Additionally, they can aid you in making crucial decisions for the patient. That said, below are the five ways hospice care can benefit your aging parents or grandparents and the rest of the family:

#1. Personalized 24-Hour Care. A hospice care facility provides 24/7 care and support to patients and their families. The main focus is to ease the stress and anxiety of the patient and their loved ones. Also, whether the patient is in a hospice facility, long-term care facility, or assisted living, hospice care is available 24/7. This includes weekends and holidays. 

#2. Comprehensive Plan. A thorough plan is the key to ensuring patients are comfortable throughout their remaining days. This plan includes keeping family members abreast of the changes in condition.  Family members must provide information that directs the facility what must occur once the patient passes away. 

#3. Sense of Dignity. Hospice allows a patient to die with dignity. This means not being checked and prodded by healthcare workers every hour or hooked to machines. They also do not have to undergo invasive procedures to prolong their life. 

Families can focus on spending time with the patient by placing a loved one in hospice care.

#4. Reduced Financial Burdens. For most families, hospital bills can be overwhelming. However, in hospice care, out-of-pocket costs are reduced.

#5. Enhanced Treatment. As a family, loved ones can only do so much for someone terminally ill. On the other hand, a hospice has a team of experts who can aid in reducing a patient’s suffering and pain. As such, they can allocate the rest of their abiding days in total comfort.

How to Start the Hospice Conversation

Understand the options. Know as much as you can about end-of-life care options, such as both in-home and in-facility hospice, to offer reassurance and answer questions to your aging parents or loved ones. 

Start talking early on. Talk to your senior parents about their preferences for end-of-life care, ideally before their health fails.

Offer a listening ear. Listen to your aging loved ones’ concerns and empathize with the complex decisions they are facing. You can also read the caregiver book by Eleanor Gaccetta.  She shares in detail her experiences choosing the right hospice facility and the right care for her mother. This personal memoir will make you laugh or tug at your heart as the author shares her experiences about providing 24/7 care to her mother for 9 ½ years until her mother’s death at age 102. Reading this book, you will feel as though you are in the author’s living room, and she is telling her story and offering an abundance of advice and information

Ask to attend a doctor’s appointment. The family member who has Medical Power of Attorney should arrange a meeting with their elder loved one’s physician to discuss hospice care and the options.

You Now Decide

Hospice care is not the stage of life for curing an individual’s disease. Rather, it is about ensuring a terminally ill senior family member’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Hospice care is beneficial because it is interdisciplinary and comprehensive. That is because a patient will require specialized end-of-life medical attention, and the family members simultaneously receive aid in processing their emotions during a difficult time.

So when an aging loved one is diagnosed with an end-stage illness and has a poor prognosis, never hesitate to consider hospice care.

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