How Hospice Care Helps the Elderly

When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it’s a shock to the entire family. As the patient’s condition progresses, more intense care will be needed. This can become a strain on the primary caregivers. Everybody in the family benefits from hospice care, from the extra helping hands to bereavement counseling. Here’s an in-depth look at what hospice care can do for you and your loved ones.

Daily Aid at Home
Hospice honors the patient’s wishes to remain in their home during the end stages of life. This usually means the family members are the primary caregivers. While this may be very manageable in the beginning, seniors can quickly need help with the everyday tasks of living from hygiene in the morning, to help with medications and meal prep, to general help around the house. Hospice nurses work with you to plan a convenient schedule. Along with the aforementioned help, they’ll also provide empathetic care and the comfort of human interaction.

Spiritual and Mental Support
Difficult feelings and thoughts about what occurs after death happen to everyone dealing with a terminal illness. The subject can be difficult to discuss with loved ones. Hospice provides spiritual and bereavement counseling to both the patient and the family members. Counseling can last for several years after the patient has passed to help loved ones learn to cope with their grief and loss.

Continuous Care
Routine hospice care is not round-the-clock care. Team members work with the family to determine the best schedule to provide care in regular shifts. However, when a medical crisis occurs and the patient’s symptoms intensify, continuous 24/7 care may be needed. During continuous care, hospice nurses and other team members remain with the patient all day to try and provide maximum comfort. Continuous care typically lasts between 2-7 days, and the goal is to stabilize the patient’s symptoms so they may return to receiving regular care.

In-Patient Care
In-patient hospice care is round-the-clock care that is provided in a hospice facility or hospital. A temporary move to a medical facility means the patient can receive digital imaging, lab work, and other high-level care from doctors, nurses, and specialists. The setting is relaxed and more comforting than an acute care facility. Family members can step back in their role as caregivers and focus on being there emotionally for their loved ones.

Respite Care
Seniors in hospice care might not be able to be left alone for extended periods. Life for the family will keep rolling, and that might mean big events like weddings and births. Respite care is 24/7 care that can last up to five days within a benefit period. That means the patient is well cared for while family members have the opportunity to attend family events or simply take a mental wellness break.

Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies
Patients with Medicare and MediCal will never incur any out-of-pocket costs for services or supplies. That means patients can receive necessary medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, oxygen and oxygen-delivering equipment, bedside commodes, and more. Patients will also be supplied with medical supplies like wound care, gloves, wipes, underpads, and more as needed.

Medications Made Simple
Requesting refills and picking up medications can be a real pain for caregivers. Hospice services employ physicians and medical directors who can prescribe medications for patients while keeping in constant communication with the patient’s regular physician. In addition, many hospice services provide medication delivery as well as help with the daily administering of medications. This can be especially helpful for seniors in hospice with poor eyesight, decreased cognition, and multiple medications.

Advice and Assistance When You Need It
Hospice agencies employ experienced nurses, physicians, and other team members who are happy to share their knowledge about the hospice end-of-life process. Many agencies provide points of contact 24/7 and can get back to you quickly with both advice for concerning situations and assistance with non-emergencies. Other helpful members of the team often include nutritionists and therapists who help keep the patient’s body and mind in peak condition naturally with healthy foods and stretches.

A Higher Quality of Life
The goal of hospice is to help the patient be as comfortable as possible while raising their quality of life during the end stages. The compassionate care that is delivered can raise spirits and give a sense of accomplishment that one is worthy of the life one lived. Hospice nurses are people who feel deeply for others who were thrown into unfortunate circumstances. Training and experience help them to ease the process for the patient and their entire family.

Patients without Medicare and MediCal need not despair. Many hospice agencies accept private insurance and can even help connect families with community financial resources if needed. Hospice care is the helping hand that every person with a terminal illness deserves.

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