If you’re taking care of an elderly or sick loved one, you’ve probably wondered: when is it time for hospice care? And, with 65% of Americans spending their final days in hospice care, you’re not alone in asking that question.
There are many signs that tell you when it’s time for you to place your loved one in a hospice care facility.
Choosing the right hospice care facility can be the best decision to make in trying times. Making sure your loved one spends their last days in comfort is the best thing you can do for them.
So read this guide carefully and decide if hospice care is the right decision for your loved ones.
When Is It Time for Hospice Care? When You Can’t Give Care Anymore
The hospice care definition is not whether or not you are able to physically keep someone alive. Hospice care refers to the kind of care you would give to someone nearing the end of their life.
Hospice care is focused on providing comfort and making sure that the person on hospice care is in the least amount of pain possible.
Most often, people on hospice have accepted that curative measures are no longer an option. However, some measures like radiation therapy for cancer patients is continued in hospice care.
Shrinking a tumor with radiation can lessen the pain and provide the person in hospice with a more comfortable life.
In dedicated inpatient hospice care centers, there are doctors and nurses working around the clock to make sure that pillows are fluffed, pain medications are delivered, and that patients are feeling ok.
Taking care of someone who is nearing death can be emotionally and physically exhausting. This can be made all the more difficult if you already have a job and have to take care of your loved one at home.
Being too tired to take care of someone you love doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you’re better off letting professionals handle the day to day parts of care.
Plus, you’ll always be able to visit.
When It Becomes Financially Impossible to Keep Giving Care
The cost of living with an illness like breast cancer, for example, is quite steep. Taking care of someone with breast cancer can be similarly expensive.
If you aren’t prepared to pay the costs of frequent hospital visits, insurance premiums, and deductibles, or if you’re in charge of paying for their treatment and they’re uninsured, your finances are going to take a lot of damage.
The best thing to do is enroll your loved one in Medicare, or Medicaid if they qualify, and find a hospice center that accepts either one. If you can’t, you’ll find yourself bogged down by hospital bills.
If you have to work extra hours to come up with the extra money or take a second job, you won’t have nearly as much time to spend with them.
It’s best for everybody to get your loved one into a hospice center as soon as you can.
The first question many people have is, “How long is hospice care?” And generally, most people remain at hospice centers for six months. Most people pass on within that timeframe.
However, this time span is not a hard and fast rule of hospice care. Many people who live past this time are allowed to stay for as long as they need.
The person in hospice care is also allowed to leave hospice care to purse revolutionary treatments that could cure or transform their lives with the illness.
When You’re Emotionally Exhausted
When you’re at the end of your emotional rope, it isn’t surprising that you might wonder when to call hospice all the time.
Taking care of a sick loved one requires a lot of emotional effort that, depending on when you found out your loved one’s illness was terminal, you weren’t prepared for.
If the person you care about is elderly, it can also be difficult to communicate with them effectively, especially if they’re becoming senile.
When talking to a senior whose mind is going, stay on one subject and keep conversations as simple as possible. Learn more about talking to the elderly and how proper communication can help them be more comfortable.
Picking the Right Hospice Facility
If you’re wondering when is hospice needed, the next question you need to ask yourself is this: How can you identify a good hospice facility?
The first thing you want to look out for is how long they’ve been in business. If the center has been in business for over 30 years, it’s almost certain they have a great track record.
You should also prioritize non-profit hospice centers, as they spend a lot of money on making patients more comfortable.
A Medicare-certified hospice center is also good, as Medicare will take care of the costs of care.
Lastly, you’ll want to pick somewhere that’s close by so you can visit often.
Make Moving on Comfortable
One of the primary signs that you need to put your loved one on palliative care is when you find yourself asking “when is it time for hospice care?” over and over again.
It can be painful to have to let other people take care of someone you love. But if you choose right, you can make sure that they’re being taken care of by people who are better equipped than you to give your loved one the comfort they need.
For more information on the leading causes of death and how you can prepare for or avoid them, check out our blog post.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provide in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.