What is Hospice?
Hospice care conjures anxiety, dread, and shame in the minds of many, but it should evoke feelings of catharsis, rest, and relief. Hospice workers provide care which people can receive in the last six months of their life, but it’s not just a period of waiting for the inevitable. Instead, hospice is a way to make the most of your loved one’s last months of life.
Hospice care includes palliative care, or health care designed to make someone as comfortable as possible. The last stages of life can present new challenges for pain management, and keeping your parent pain-free and conscious is often a goal for families. Hospice workers are experts in pain management and have unique strategies for making people comfortable that other healthcare specialists don’t normally explore.
Yet, hospice care is also much more than palliative care. Hospice care workers look at the big picture, not just of their client’s health, but of their client’s life. They find out what matters most to their clients and work to make that happen.
Emotional Needs are Considered
Hospice addresses the emotional needs of your parent and your family members. You can include grief counselors, religious leaders and other professionals in hospice care to provide the support that you, your parent, and everyone else in their life needs, even after your parent’s death.
You may be you parent’s primary caregiver, in which case hospice care can offer you physical and emotional respite. Don’t feel that seeking support with your parent’s care, in their last days no less, is selfish. Many feel this way, but it’s exactly the opposite.
You and your parent deserve to share time together, when the responsibility of care-giving doesn’t complicate your relationship. With the help of hospice, you can get rest and truly appreciate your parent and have the clarity you need to say a goodbye. When your loved one sees you well-rested, you can relieve their worries of how you’ll be after they’ve gone, which can help ease their passing.
In fact, hospice care offers the potential for so many powerful emotional moments. One hospice worker shared a story of her patient, who was too ill to be able to travel to her granddaughter’s wedding. So, the hospice worker arranged for a small reenactment of the granddaughter’s wedding– right at the foot of her patient’s bed.
Hospice is Anywhere
Speaking of a hospice bed, it can be anywhere. Hospice is not a place. Instead, you can incorporate hospice care into home care, hospital care, nursing home care, or, if you wish, start hospice in a specific hospice care center. Your parent doesn’t need to abandon their regular doctor to receive hospice care, nor do they have to require 24-hour care to get palliative care. Once your parent is in palliative care or hospice, they don’t need to stay there should their condition improve.
Obtaining hospice care for your parent is not giving up on them. If you’re struggling with decisions about hospice care, or have questions, reach out to our team of experts. At Aging Life Network, we can help you through the different phases of your caregiving journey. In our experience, the only thing people regret about hospice care is that they didn’t seek it earlier.