Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can have devastating and wide reaching effects, not only for the individual diagnosed, but also for family members. Dealing with such shocking and overwhelming information can be challenging to say the least. Having the ability to lean on professional support and assistance during such dire times is often invaluable.
What Is Hospice Care?
The word hospice can be particularly frightening due to its association with the end of life. However, hospice care is designed to provide comfort, understanding, and acceptance for patients and their families as they attempt to process a terminal illness diagnosis. Hospice care is not about giving up hope, but rather focusing the individual’s wishes and options to provide an opportunity to live out their remaining time in comfort and contentment.
Is Hospice Care The Same As Palliative Care?
Often thought to be the same thing, both palliative and hospice care are geared towards individuals with a serious condition, but the services are provided at different stages of the illness. Palliative care services can begin immediately after the diagnosis is delivered to explore different options for treatment. Hospice care services are provided only after the patient is no longer responding to treatment, and the focus in on providing comfort and care at the end of life.
Benefits Of Hospice Care Services
Home hospice care can be beneficial to severely ill patients and their families in numerous ways, some of the helpful advantages are:
- Familiar surroundings for comfort and security
- Patient focused support
- Professional assistance
- Family counselling and bereavement
Familiar Surroundings For Comfort And Security
In most situations where hospice care is sought out, the terminally ill individual wants to live out their final days in the comfort of home. This is completely understandable as the situation is already daunting enough without adding unfamiliar surroundings to the equation. Hospital stays are often not possible due to lack of available beds, and care facilities can quickly become costly and are often not the most comfortable environments. Hospice care services can be provided at home as frequently as needed and can focus on the specific needs and preferences of the patient.
Patient Focused Support
Home hospice care is completely focused on treating the person rather than the illness. This can involve anything from pain and symptom management to emotional and spiritual requirements. It is all about respecting the patient’s end of life choices and seeing those through as closely as possible. The goal is to maximize quality of life in the final days and weeks and to provide the ability to die with dignity.
Professional hospice care assistance offers a range of benefits that are often not considered. For instance, having the support of professionals that have been through similar situations many times before can provide helpful insights into dealing with adversity. Also, professional hospice caregivers can offer various techniques and approaches that family caregivers are not trained or qualified to provide. They can also provide relief for family caregivers when they need a rest.
Family Counselling And Bereavement
It is not only the individual with the terminal illness that needs support during this time, but also the family members. A terminal diagnosis generally sparks a range of emotions from anger and frustration to sadness and helplessness. Family bereavement and grief counselling really helps with acceptance and closure.
Hospice care provided in the comfort of home also provides the family the opportunity to spend some quality time together while the professionals can help reduce stress and strain.