“Hospice” can be a frightening word for many people. Hospice care is the model of high-quality, patient-focused, compassionate care that helps terminally ill patients and their families live as fully as possible. Hospice care treats the patient, not the disease. The focus is on caring, not curing. Hospice utilizes an interdisciplinary team of experienced healthcare professionals and trained volunteers that addresses symptom control, pain management and provides emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Hospice is not “giving up.” It’s choosing to live the remainder of your time the way you choose. Palliative care brings this holistic model of care to people earlier in the course of a serious illness.
Who is hospice care for? Anyone who:
Has been diagnosed with a life-limiting disease with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease process runs its normal course.
Plans no further curative care or treatment.
Is asking for comfort measures only, such as pain management and symptom control.
Something often heard is that families wish they had chosen hospice earlier in a patient’s illness. The average time a person spends in hospice depends on the illness he or she is facing, but studies have repeatedly shown longer survival times when a patient chooses to discontinue attempts at curative treatment and enrolls in hospice care. A 2007 study that looked at Medicare beneficiaries with some of the most common diagnoses leading to death found that patients who received hospice services lived, on average, 29 days longer than those who did not receive hospice care. This study, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (March 2007) looked at 4,493 terminally ill patients with either congestive heart failure or cancer of the breast, colon, lung, pancreas, or prostate.
Those extra days can be filled with time with loved ones, reminiscing and enjoying meaningful moments together. With support from nurses, home health aides, therapists, social workers, chaplains and volunteers, the patient and the family are encircled by a community of care.
Phone: (260) 435-3222