Deciding whether a loved one is ready for hospice is never an easy choice. For many when we hear the word hospice we associate it with losing someone dear to us, making the decision to involve hospice that much harder. Hospice is not about death; it is about the enhancement of life a person has remaining.
Although end-of-life care is often difficult to discuss, it is important for families to have the “talk” well before it becomes a concern. By doing so, you lessen the stress for everyone when the time for hospice is needed. Once you’ve had the discussion, you can then begin to research possible options for your loved ones specific needs. Typically, hospice care begins at the request or referral of the patient’s doctor. Once a referral is made, a hospice representative contacts the family to schedule a meeting to discuss the specific needs of both the patient and the family and or caregiver.
• Confirm that the agency/organization is licensed by your state.
• What services do they provide?
• How is a patients’ pain controlled?
• How often will a nurse or other hospice staff visit?
• How much of the care provided is covered by Medicare?
• Are there daily updates for the family?
• Is there an emergency number in place if a family member is caring for the patient and needs assistance?
Hospice is about affirming life, and exists to support those with incurable illnesses as they begin the journey to their end. Although many of us associate hospice with sorrow, the hospice experience often includes times of joy, heartwarming memories and peace.