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ISSUE NO. 01 DECEMBER 2021It’s Time for Hospice CareWritten by Keagan MattisonChoosing hospice can be difficult and scary − but waiting too long means missing out on important comfort measures. Here are expert insights about when, and how, to transition to hospice care.Choosing hospice can be difficult and scary − but waiting too long means missing out on important comfort measures. Here are expert insights about when, and how, to transition to hospice care.
There’s a common misconception that choosing hospice care means giving up hope. It may seem like a last resort; as though opting for hospice means a patient has lost the will to live. Hospice does focus on comfort rather than cure, according to Jeffrey Landsman, MD. But for many patients, this shift unlocks a higher quality of life.
To help you understand when it’s time to choose hospice, we asked Dr. Landman and former registered hospice nurse Jennifer Prescott, who now runs Blue Water Homecare, to weigh in. What is hospice care?Hospice helps people who are terminally ill live comfortably, according to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In other words, hospice care involves treating symptoms rather than curing disease − and, according to Prescott, it allows for a more comfortable, dignified death. Hospice care is also a specific Medicare benefit, explains Dr. Landsman. Hospice care covered by private medical aids may include:
Nursing services at home
Essential medical equipment (walker, wheelchair) and supplies (bandages, catheters)
Prescription drugs not intended to cure the terminal illness
Grief counseling for caregivers and family members
Respite care (short-term help that allows family caregivers to rest)
The primary qualifications for hospice care are these two factors:
having less than six months to live (as determined by a doctor)
for the purpose of symptom management, instead of disease reversal
Choosing hospice may not be easy.But if someone you love is dying, hospice can help to ease their pain and improve the experience of this period of their life − for them, and possibly for you, too.When patients and caregivers avoid hospice until the final days, they may miss out on comfort measures, peaceful moments with their ailing loved one, comforting friendships with hospice nurses, and respite and grief support for the family.