An article in USA Today mentions that most of us call hospice in far later than we should. It’s not that difficult to figure out why. None of us wants to admit that death is close whether it’s for us or for a loved one. Once we do call in hospice there are things that we need to know.
Where: Hospice can be called in from any location. The patient can stay at home or be in a facility. Our elder’s assisted living supports hospice care. So do many room and board facilities. What we need to decide is where it is appropriate for the patient and family.
That is a decision we made when we selected the unit our elder is in. She had been on hospice before and by now we know that moving her again would be traumatic for all of us. This is something you should establish long before it becomes a necessity.
Needs Met: Hospice is there for the entire family, not just the patient. There are locations that may make it harder for hospice to work effectively for both. Hospitals and many nursing homes have visitation rules and unless the patient is moved to a different unit (again, not ideal) not all of the needs will be met.
What You Need to Know: Most people are aware that hospice is there for the patient. Hospice does far more than that and this should factor in when you are choosing not just where hospice will be but where the patient will be prior to this need.
The patient will not need to go to the doctor again. The doctor comes to the patient. In fact, skilled nurses often go to check on the patient and can be called in at any point hospice in ventura in time. I know; I called one in at midnight and she stayed with me for three hours helping keep our elder comfortable.
No more pharmacy trips. Medications come to the door. While the patient isn’t being treated for the illness anymore there are still medications that are needed. It’s called paliative care… keeping the patient comfortable.
You can receive counseling. A social worker came to the house several times during our elder’s term on hospice. Granted she was mostly there for our elder but she took time to see how I was coping. She let me talk out some of my frustrations. You may need that. I know I did.
Hospice doesn’t necessarily mean the end. Our elder graduated off hospice after three months. While it’s not the norm it does happen and it’s been good to have her with us.
If you need it, ask. You may need respite care; someone else to sit with the patient while you have a break. You may need a spiritual counselor. They come to the home, and it is someone from your religion and usually from your denomination or as close to it as possible. Even if hospice doesn’t offer it they may be able to help you get what you need.
Settling on hospice isn’t just about choosing a facility for someone to die in. It can be done that way, but advance planning is your friend in this instance.