Introduction to Hospice Care
Any time a loved one or close friend suffers from a terminal condition, trying to plan for the future can get overwhelming, especially if you have never explored hospice care before. Hospice provides pain and symptom management for a patient who might have a life expectancy of six months or less. This type of care involves a team of practitioners and caregivers who can address all aspects of the patient’s condition–from the physical to the psychological and spiritual. Since you’re looking for the best solution for hospice care, we have put together this guide to get you started in your search for support for your loved one.
Choosing the Right Hospice Services
Hospice services generally have the same offerings, but you’ll find that you still have to thoroughly research your options to find the best fit. A great place to start is by asking for recommendations from your relative’s primary care physician or specialist. Likewise, you can also ask for insights from family and friends who have been caregivers in the past. Either way, you gain some valuable information from individuals who have firsthand experience working with hospice care providers. Once you’ve narrowed your list, you can start looking further into their accreditation through the Joint Commission and exploring their online reviews.
Once you start meeting with representatives from various services, be sure to compile a list of questions ahead of time. For instance, you can inquire about their expectations for the designated family caregiver(s) and whether any training will be provided. Also, you can inquire about the scheduling for therapists, doctors, and nurses as well as when to expect the plan of care to be distributed to the family members who will take part in caring for your loved one. Plus, questions about Medicare or Medicaid coverage may come up. Overall, this interview would greatly help determine your choice.
Navigating End-of-Life Options
Although family members may have difficulties with discussing end-of-life care and your relative’s options, this conversation proves to be crucial, especially when your loved one still can make these important decisions. This may include the care that he or she wishes to receive at home instead of in a nursing home or hospital. Likewise, your relative will want to designate one or two decision-makers if he or she is no longer able to. The key to having these discussions and planning for the future is including any practitioners who can answer questions about palliative care and any other professionals who specialize in helping the family and the patient to arrive at decisions that are legal, ethical, and respect the rights of the patient and anyone else who is involved. Of course, this also entails signing and notarizing legal documents and making sure that everyone understands the patient’s final wishes.
Making Informed Palliative Care Decisions
Additionally, working with a comprehensive team of professionals (ie: doctors and/or nurse practitioners, social workers, psychologists, and chaplains) would further enable you and your family members to make a sound decision about palliative care. This includes open communication with the care team and other family members who are caretakers and being receptive to training from the providers and support. Nonetheless, this process starts with taking your questions to prospective teams who offer palliative care and selecting the best organization that meets the needs and wishes of your loved one.
Importance of Family Support in Hospice
Lastly, don’t forget another vital aspect of hospice which is the support that the personnel provide for the family. The hospice team would likely have a counselor and/or an LISW on staff who can offer emotional support to you and your family along with a chaplain to provide spiritual support as well. Plus, they would include grief counseling as part of the care plan.
Please know that you’re not alone. Our team at Abundant Hospice Care provides highly skilled, personalized, and compassionate care and pain management for your loved one whether they require an in-patient situation or would prefer to stay at home. Our plans are created with your relative’s specific needs in mind, and care is administered by certified nursing assistants and therapists under a doctor’s supervision. We also offer emotional and spiritual support for you along with respite for whenever you need a break to recharge. Call us today to find out more.