Knowing that your loved one doesn’t have much time left on this world is a terrible feeling. Seniors who are diagnosed with a terminal illness usually wish to spend their remaining days in their own home, surrounded by family members. Unfortunately, the nature of an advanced disease demands constant medical attention, typically with expensive equipment. Hospice care is a support program for dying patients, aiming to make their passing as comfortable and painless as possible. The word ‘hospice’ usually invokes the image of hospital, but the truth is most people receive their care at home. Learning more about the possibilities of hospice could help families make better decisions and honor the needs of their fatally-ill relative.
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is eligible to people with a life expectancy of six months or less. It’s conducted by a team of highly trained professionals (including physicians, nurses, certified caregivers, social workers and chaplains), who attend the patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. There are multiple hospice care providers available in the country who make the necessary arrangements. The treatment’s costs are covered by the hospice benefit, but paid directly to the chosen provider. Each hospice station can be called 24/7, meaning there is always a doctor or nurse on-call during an emergency.
Hospice Care in Practice
At-home hospice is a collection of care services and is meant to manage the pain and discomfort of the terminally ill patient, but the positive effects extend to the other family members as well. The length of care depends on the needs of and the sickness of the person in question, therefore the first step should be to make an arrangement with the local hospice. A nurse or a caregiver will be appointed to the family, who’ll act as a mediator between the hospital and the family. Together with the doctor they’ll create a health plan for the elderly person, including a caregiver’s shift and to-do list for the relatives.
The nurse will visit the home on a regular basis, providing further help and emotional support. Depending on the aging relative’s condition, the visits can increase or professional caregivers can take the place of family members, giving them a free weekend. Furthermore, hospice nurses answer any lingering questions, and help acquiring additional equipment, like oxygen masks. After the patient passes away, the hospice employee won’t disappear, but instead support the family members during the grieving process.
Medical Alert Systems for Hospice Homes
Just because a terminally ill person is surrounded by caregivers and family members, it doesn’t mean a medical alert system becomes obsolete. Quite the opposite, in fact: it’s an easy to use alarm that acts as a safety net. You probably won’t be able to sit by your relative’s bed all day and night, sometimes they must be left alone. If their condition suddenly gets worse, all they need is to push a button to summon help. The monitoring agents can be instructed to call family members and the hospice nurse instead of the paramedics. The system is much quicker and easier to handle for a person battling an incurable disease.