When Is the Best Time to Begin Hospice Care?
It can be scary for families to consider hospice care. They may feel as if they are giving into the disease. Many individuals put off searching for a hospice program or asking for a referral to hospice until the end is right around the corner. Here are some reasons why choosing hospice sooner rather than later is the best choice and how to know when hospice should be started.
- Hospice can be started when the patient has six months or less to live.
To be approved for hospice care patients must be diagnosed with a disease that gives them six months or less to live. The physician usually documents this. However, some patients actually live longer than this and remain in hospice care for more than six months. As long as the referring doctor continues to document that six months or less of life is expected, the patient’s needs should still be covered by an approved insurance company or Medicare.
- Starting hospice early can improve the patient’s quality of life.
Hospice allows the patient to get the care he or she needs to be comfortable. It focuses on comfort as well as on treating the entire person. The patient can be focused on managing pain well and will not be poked and prodded as much as he or she would have been by staying under traditional medical care. Additional care programs associated with hospice can help care for the patient’s mind and spirit, proving that even the final days of one’s life can be spent well.
- Starting hospice early can help family members rest and process the experience well.
Home health aides and volunteers can provide much of the daily care for the patient, allowing family caregivers to enjoy a respite from the daily grind and to experience these final precious moments with their loved one. Many times, volunteers can go out on errands for family members, allowing them to spend time at home with their loved one instead of running around town.