The decision to place your loved one on hospice care is one that takes considerable thought. Many families think about placing their loved one on care long before they make the final decision. Questions that typically arise when consider care are:
1. Will placing my loved one on hospice make them pass away faster?
2. Will hospice take away my loved ones medications?
3. Will I have any say in the care of my loved one when on services?
4. Who pays for hospice care?
5. I thought hospice care was only for those in their last days of life?
If you are considering care for your loved one, a member of the hospice team will work around your schedule to answer your questions.
Now, let's answer the following questions outlined above:
1. No, hospice care will not make your loved one pass away faster. The goal of hospice Care is to provide comfort and care to those at home. Unfortunately, many people wait too long before starting services. Starting services early allows you and your loved one to become comfortable with the team and helps to manage some of the symptoms that may be uncomfortable for your loved one.
2. No, hospice will not take away your loved ones medications. Patients are free to continue taking medications if they wish, especially those that are important for their comfort. As patients approach the final stages, they often lose their ability to swallow. Often times at this point medications are stopped as it can cause more discomfort for the patient to swallow. When medications are still essential, hospice staff utilizes liquid forms of the medication that may be placed under the tongue or in the cheek. This is often used when patients are dealing with things like pain and/or anxiety.
3. Yes, hospice staff always wants to rule in favor of our patients whenever possible. When a patient becomes unable to make a decision, family or someone assigned as a medical power of attorney will often step in to speak on behalf of the patient.
4. Hospice care is covered under Medicare Part A as well as most private insurance companies.
5. Yes and no. Hospice care is for those determined to have a terminal illness. This is defined as a life expectancy of 6 months or less with "normal disease progression." What is normal disease progress? And what happens if my loved one lives longer than 6 months? Are they kicked off the service? Patients are re-assessed for eligibility every 60 or 90 days and re-certified by a MD that they continue to qualify. Some patients experience a slow decline and are still able to stay on services even over a year.
If you are considering hospice care for your loved one please feel free to call us. A hospice team member is available to speak with you 24 hours a day 365 days a year.