When is it Time for Hospice Care? This is one of the most common questions heard by hospice workers, and also one of the most difficult to answer. Also known as palliative care or end-of-life care, home hospice care is intended to provide guidance to those who are nearing the end of their lives, ensuring that all patients enrolled in their services are able to maintain their dignity and comfort and that families and loved ones have access to the support they need.
Is it Time to Make the Call?
End-of-life care is offered to patients who are suffering from terminal diseases and require help managing pain and physical disability. That doesn’t mean families have to wait until the last weeks of their loved ones lives to begin taking advantage of these services, though. If family members notice their terminally ill loved ones experiencing increasing falls, changes in mental abilities, difficulty performing daily tasks, progressive weight loss, or signs of deteriorating health like infections, they should call a palliative care service to discuss eligibility.
What Can These Services Do?
The intent of end-of-life services is to provide comprehensive support for both terminally ill patients and their loved ones. These professionals work in conjunction with the patient’s current physicians and other professionals to come up with comprehensive treatment plans designed to address physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. They can also offer access to the medications and equipment required to alleviate pain and improve the patient’s standard of living.
How Long Can Patients Receive Care?
While end-of-life services are only available to those who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses which will, if they follow their normal courses, leave patients with less than six months to live. However, not all patients suffering from terminal diseases find that their illnesses follow a normal course. If a patient’s prognosis changes, he or she can receive a referral for extended care from his or her physician in order to continue receiving palliative care.
Who is Eligible?
End-of-life care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and just about all private insurance companies; that means most patients can receive the treatment they need at no cost to their families, allowing them to finish out their lives with dignity without forcing their loved ones into debt. Those who are uncertain about their eligibility for hospice and palliative care can call to speak with a representative to discuss their options. Family support services are offered in addition to patient care services, which often include grief counseling and other forms of emotional and physical support.