Deciding to put an ill or aging loved one on hospice care is a difficult decision. By doing so, you are acknowledging something that can be difficult to admit – that your loved one is going to die. But hospice care can help ease your loved one’s physical and emotional discomfort at the end of life. Hospice is a loving way to provide comfort and care to your ailing family member. Through hospice services, your loved one can receive in-home health services, emotional and spiritual support, and palliative care.
The decision to put a relative into hospice care is one that should be made in conjunction with your family, your ailing loved one, and his or her medical care team. Here are some considerations that can help guide your decision.
Your loved one has an advanced, incurable condition. Hospice care is intended for people who have six months or fewer to live. You will not be removed from hospice care if you live longer, but the service is intended for people who are at the end of their lives.
Your loved one no longer wants treatment for his or her condition. Sometimes, the pain and suffering that comes with medical treatments is too much to bear. Instead of continuing to endure the pain, many people choose to give up treatment and instead focus on living the end of their life in greater comfort.
You and your family are struggling to provide care. If your loved one is at the end of his or her life and you feel overwhelmed by the responsibility to provide care, hospice staff members can help ease the burden, leaving you the time and energy to spend meaningful time with your family members.
Your loved one needs significantly more care than in the past. Needing extra care isn’t necessarily a sign that your loved one is nearing the end of his or her life, but combined with other changes – such as physical pain, significant weight loss, or poor healing – this may be a sign that you should consider hospice care.
Your loved one expresses interest in end-of-life care. If your loved one is able to communicate a desire for comfort care, consult with his or her doctor to find out of hospice is appropriate. Sometimes, an older adult is more prepared to face end-of-life decisions than his or her family. Be open and willing to discuss your loved one’s wishes on these important issues.
Enrolling your loved one in hospice care can be a compassionate decision. If you are concerned about paying for care, whether soon or in the distant future, the Life Care Funding program may be able to help. Contact us today with your comments or questions about senior care and how to prepare for your future needs.