Hospice care should be considered anytime you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the care options available with your physician, including hospice.
Common illnesses appropriate for hospice care include the later stages of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, cancer, heart disease, lung disease, AIDS, and ALS, among others. Patients diagnosed with these illnesses are eligible for hospice care when their physician determines that, given the natural course of the illness, life expectancy is six months or less. At that time, comfort care and symptom management become the primary focus, and continuing treatment is no longer beneficial or desired by the patient. A good question to ask yourself is, would I be surprised if my loved ones were not here in a year?
Hospice care provides a higher level of support, unlike any other. A multi-disciplinary team of physicians, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, medical social workers, spiritual counselors, grief counselors and volunteers works together to address the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family. Hospice Alliance teams provide care to patients wherever they call home including a personal residence, home of a loved one, assisted living or skilled nursing or in one of hospice alliance’s home-like residential care facilities, regardless of the patient’s age or ability to pay.
Hospice Alliance encircles each patient and family by providing expert care in pain relief and symptom management, emotional and spiritual counseling (if desired) and grief support.The most frequent thing we hear from patients and families is, “we wish we would have called you sooner.”
You should contact your physician if you or a loved one experiences one or more of these signs:
- Multiple admissions to the hospital in a short period of time
- Unexplained weight loss with a noticeable difference in how clothing fits
- Spending most of the day in a chair or bed
- Shortness of breath while sitting or lying down
- Multiple falls within a 6-month period
- Symptoms (such as pain) have become unmanageable
Information on Caring Connections can assist people in making decisions about end-of-life care and services before they are absolutely needed. It is offered as a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which also provides quality resource materials and information.
The National Hospice Foundation and the Hospice Foundation offer valuable supporting resources as well.
Contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation: (262) 652-4400