Dying with Dignity - Hospice and Home Health Care

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Everyone has the right to die with dignity. No one wants to spend the last months of their lives hooked up to machines with unfamiliar nurses popping in and out all night. Being at home, surrounded by friends and family, is much more desirable. When you combine hospice with home health care, it is entirely possible. Here's what you need to know.

What is hospice?

Hospice is a type of care that focuses on comfort and quality of life for terminally ill people. The goal is to help you manage your symptoms and make you as comfortable as possible. A hospice patient receives pain management, symptom control, and emotional and spiritual support, but not curative treatment. In other words, your medical team will cease all attempts to cure you and simply manage your pain with medications.

Is hospice only available in a hospital or medical setting?

Hospice care can be provided in various settings, including the patient's home, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Hospice care is provided wherever the patient feels most comfortable.

Given the option, most patients prefer to receive hospice care in their own homes. In fact, a study by The Stanford School of Medicine reports that 80 percent of adults would prefer to die at home.

Does hospice mean death is imminent?

Death is not necessarily imminent for hospice care to start. Many patients receive hospice care for months before they die. Hospice care is designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families, which could be at any time in the process.

Does hospice facilitate death?

No, hospice is not euthanasia. Hospice care's sole goal is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible when dying, particularly if no further treatment is available or desired. It does not hasten death.

What is needed to set up hospice care at home?

If you or a family member decides to receive hospice care at home, the first step is to call a hospice provider. The hospice team will come to your home to assess the situation and develop a care plan that could include:

The hospice team will also work with you to ensure you have the proper equipment and supplies, like a hospital bed or oxygen tank.

Receiving hospice care at home can provide the comfort and dignity deserved in the last months of life. Hospice will provide comfort and support to patients and their families during this difficult time. If you or a loved one are considering hospice care, please reach out to a provider such as Good Heart Hospice for more information.