Saturday, April 18, 2015

What hospice care means to patients and their families

Death can come anytime to anyone, however many people prefer not to think about death in their day-to-day lives. For most people, a good death means being physically comfortable, at peace in your own home, enjoying as many moments as possible with loved ones doing the things they love to do up until the very end.


However, this is not the reality for some people facing a life-limiting illness or injury. Recently, I got to know about Hospice, which is a team-oriented approach that provides specialized care for those facing a life-limiting illness or injury. The care team includes a variety of experts in medical care, pain management, and emotional support. This is very important for patients and their families because these are hard times to deal with. Hospice care ensures that it gives support to the person facing the illness or injury to the fullest with dignity regardless of how much time remains.

Seven in 10 Americans have said on the Time/CNN Poll, that they would prefer to die at home, but twenty-five percent actually do according to the Centers for Disease Control. In a recent national survey, respondents agreed that expertise in keeping a terminally-ill patient comfortable is the most important consideration at end of life, and this is what Hospice care helps people to do.

One of the great myths of Hospice is that patients are lying in a bed, barely conscious. This is not true, because if a patient is admitted at an appropriate time, Hospice can help improve his or her quality of life. Nearly three-fourths of family caregivers agree that Hospice care is best for a terminally ill patient. Of this group, 69 percent believe that Hospice makes a better impact on the patient’s family as well.

Another myth that people have about Hospice is families lose control over what happens to their loved ones. The facts are that a family is generally able to choose their preferred Hospice provider and they have the opportunity to be trained by a specialist to serve as a primary caregiver, so they can provide support to their loved one when needed. This unique nature of hospice allows families to play a vital role in the patient’s care, and create more moments of life before a life is over.

It is the quality of these final moments that can define a "good death." To join the conversation on how to make more meaningful moments possible, find a hospice, or learn more about what hospice is all about visit MomentsofLife.org.
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