There are many misconceptions about Hospice Care and end-of-life care. Due to these misconceptions, many who might benefit from the service may not receive it until the very end. Here are six things I wish everyone knew about hospice…
Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a building or a location. Many people say they want to die at home, which makes sense! Unfortunately, 75% of the time, it is not possible for families because it becomes too difficult to manage. Hospice can help you achieve that goal.
Hospices bring everything you might need to the home — hospital bed, bedside commode, medications, wound care, expert consults — so that you or your family member can still have their unique needs for end-of-life met.
Starting hospice doesn't mean ending all other medical care. Transitioning to hospice implies that you are shifting goals. Instead of trying to seek to lengthen your life by finding a cure, you are now trying to figure out how to get the best quality of life from the time you have left. The Hospice teams assist you and your loved ones in achieving those goals.
Did you know you may live longer while receiving Hospice care? Research shows that Hospice recipients live longer than those who choose to remain in traditional care. As Hospice provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary care team, you or your loved one will receive which includes a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Certified Nursing Assistant, Chaplain, Licensed Social Worker, as well as Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator and Medical Director. All of these individuals will contribute to providing you the assistance to have a prolonged life.
Hospice can enrich the last stage of life. Many people with terminal illness pass away in the hospital supported by machines that do little to nothing to delay their death. Hospice is designed to help make this stage of life more personal. If it a time to reflect on an individual’s life, invest in significant relationships more intentionally, find closure, and support any end-of-life goals you may have for yourself or your family.
Hospice is for the entire family. It's not always easy to witness the end stage of life. A hospice nurse can assist by understanding and explaining the signs of transitioning or actively dying. When families need a break, your loved one has the option of staying in respite care at a nursing home or hospice facility.
Hospice continues after death. Did you know that optional follow-up grief support for family is included under Medicare for 13 months? Most people don’t realize this! Our Bereavement Coordinators continue to provide grief counseling to families and friends of patients to ensure proper grieving is achieved, especially in challenging situations.
Written By: Bridgett Skelton, MBA, RN, BSN, RNC-OB is the Regional Administrator for Encompass Hospice in Atlanta.