Do you have a parent or other loved one who is battling a terminal illness? Has their condition deteriorated in recent months? In these situations, the family often must face a painful transition from fighting the disease to ensuring the loved one's comfort in his or her final days. When you reach that point, hospice care can be a great solution. A hospice provider offers enough care to keep your loved one relatively pain- and anxiety-free, but does not attempt to treat the underlying disease. Some hospice providers will even provide this care in the home. Here are four ways to know when it might be appropriate to call hospice:
When death is near and inevitable. This point comes in all terminal illness battles, and it is often difficult for the family to accept. However, at some point, the doctor may tell you that there are no more medications, surgeries, therapies, or trials available that could improve your loved one's condition. If you've had this discussion with your loved one's doctor, then you may want to think about how you can make your parent or family member comfortable.
When further treatments would cause extreme pain and stress. It also may be possible that there are still treatments available. However, those treatments may be very painful and may have low probabilities for success. In this case, you and your family members will have to decide whether the treatments are worth the discomfort for your loved one. For example, cancer patients may often reach a point where chemotherapy and radiation have little chance to be successful. While those treatments can continue, they'll also cause further nausea and sickness. Some families opt for hospice care rather than going through additional rounds of chemotherapy.
When your family member wants to die at home. If being at home is a primary concern, then hospice can be a great solution. Often, they can set up a bed in a comfortable room in the home. They can also train family members on how to administer medications and provide other treatments to keep your loved one comfortable. That way, your loved one can die in peace at home surrounded by the people that he or she loves.
When a doctor will write a statement for it. Many hospice providers require a written statement from a doctor that the patient is near death and that further treatments are unlikely to be successful. Your loved one's doctor may offer to provide this statement to you. If he or she makes this offer and you haven't yet considered hospice, this should be a sign that now may be the time to make that consideration.
For more information, contact a hospice care provider in your area, like Carolina East. They can answer your questions and provide guidance on when their care may be necessary.