There’s nothing about watching a loved one approach their final days of life, especially when you as their loved one can’t provide them with the type of care they need.
When that happens and you choose hospice care or a hospice service for your loved, it can be a difficult choice. But in many cases, it’s a necessary choice to help your loved one lived their final days as peacefully and as comfortably as possible. The number of hospice patients has grown from 513,000 in 2000 to about 1.4 million in 2015.
Choosing hospice care can be tough, but there are many benefits it can offer your loved one and your family:
- Options: When it comes to hospice care, you and your loved one have options. You can choose outpatient care where your loved one is treated at home or you can choose inpatient care where your loved one is treated at one of the local hospice care facilities in your area.
- Familiarity and routine: Whether your loved one stays in hospice care facilities or is treated at home, hospice care offers them routine and familiarity with their hospice care team. This can be very beneficial, especially if your loved is still coming to terms with being in hospice care or is dealing with pain from an illness.
- Respecting wishes: Hospice care allows a loved one to spend their final days in the peace and quiet of their own home if they so wish. This keeps them from being poked, prodded and constantly tested at a hospital and gives them some privacy where they can meet with loved ones and health professionals.
- Personalized care: From offering up favorite foods to pain medications to even just a listening ear when loved ones aren’t around, hospice care facilities and hospice workers visiting homes can offer personalized care and support to your loved one. Hospice care service members are on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, meaning they are able to provide care for your loved one when and where you may need it.
- Help for families: There’s no doubt that being placed in hospice care can be tough on a person, even if it’s the best thing to help them. But it can also be tough on their loved ones. Not only is the choice to put a loved one in hospice care tough, but families can go through a wide range of emotions during their loved one’s final days. That’s where hospice services come in. Whether it’s in hospice care facilities or with outpatient care, members of your loved one’s hospice team can help families during the entire process, explain to families what they might expect. Hospice services also offer grief and bereavement counseling after a loved one passes away.
It’s true that hospice care offers many benefits to loved ones and their families, but there are also some potential disadvantages that may arise concerning some aspects of treatment. As an example, under Medicare hospice benefit, a hospice service essentially gets a per diem with which to pay for all medical expenses. This can make things difficult in the following ways:
- Testing denial: For some basic testing such as X -rays and blood work, those costs become the burden of the hospice agency taking care of your loved one. Since some of them are costly, a hospice agency may not approve them.
- No hospitalization: Once a patient is under hospice care, hospitalization is discouraged because a lot of the admission criteria isn’t defined all that well. Medicare does provide for some short-term hospital stays, but generally hospitalization is discouraged.
- Treatment restrictions: Hospice patients are in hospice care because they are considered to be near the end of life. As such, they aren’t allowed to participate in clinical treatments or experimental trials, since they are considered to be life-prolonging.
With hospice care service, your family can better and more comfortable about your loved one’s last days, knowing that they are getting the support they need. Before choosing hospice care for your loved one however, it’s important to considered all factors in play to determine if it’s the best course of action.