As heartbreaking as it may sound, life in this world will end in death. Some die in old age, while others stricken by a deadly disease lose their lives while still young. It is both a curse and a gift to live. It is because being alive makes you experience all the wondrous things that it can give you, but it is most definite that all will end. What is more important is that those who are nearing their last days in this world will live peacefully, cared for by people who are capable of giving them comfort and security. For some people, the best place is their homes, but for some, hospices are ideal. What exactly is hospice care and how can hospice services benefit a patient’s quality of life?
An overview of hospice care
What is hospice care? It is a special form of patient care given to terminally ill patients nearing their end of life. The purpose of hospice care is to make the most of the quality of life for people in the last phases of a disease that cannot be cured. Hospice services are designed to relieve the patient’s pain and distress while promoting his quality of life even if living with a terminal illness.
Difference between palliative care and hospice care
There is a big misconception that palliative care and hospice care are the same. The use of palliative and hospice services have long been interchanged, thinking that these two are synonymous. This idea should be corrected once and for all.
While palliative care is also given to terminally ill patients, its services and goals are very different from hospice services. The most important difference that they have is that palliative care provides treatment to terminally ill patients with hopes that they will be cured. Apart from aiming to improve the quality of life of the patients by helping with alleviating their symptoms, palliative care also helps patients understand their choices for medical treatment.
Hospice care is given, on the other hand, to patients whose doctors deemed that their medical condition cannot be cured anymore. No treatment or cure is given to patients in hospice care. All a patient can have that hospice services offer is to have medications to improve his last remaining days or weeks, relieving the discomforting symptoms his condition is causing.
Goals of hospice services
As mentioned earlier, hospice care does its best to provide a better quality of life to patients suffering from a terminal and incurable disease. They provide relief of symptoms and discomfort while the patient enjoys his last remaining days with his family and loved ones. Other than that, hospice services also aim to support the family that will soon be left behind. It is indeed a sad and challenging time for the family and loved ones, so it is also the objective of reliable hospice services to provide all the help that they can extend to the family in this trying time. Ideal hospice services offer spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical comfort to their patients, their families, and their caregivers. The hospice care team is composed of doctors, nurses, medical staff, social workers, spiritual advisors, life coaches, and trained volunteers so they can all see through all the requirements to make the patient comfortable and at ease.
Where to find hospice services
There are patients who would rather spend their last days in the comfort of their homes, so hospice services a lot a support team to provide care at home. A primary caregiver is designated to oversee all the needs and demands of the patient, as well as provide support to the relatives as much as possible.
There are also hospice facilities and areas in other hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living programs that are specifically dedicated to hospice services. The choice as to where the care should be provided depends on the condition of the patient, the facilities that they need to provide comfort, and the preference of the patient and his relatives. However, there are times that no matter the condition of the patient and the amount of care that he needs, it is still important that their access to a hospital is unhindered.
You may be wondering what hospice services look like as a whole. There are different services and care that every hospice care provider offers, but basically, here are the most common hospice services that are included in their program:
- Nursing service the whole time the patient stays in hospice care
- Health teaching and medical advice to the patient and relatives
- Training and counseling of relatives regarding the medical condition of the patient
- Spiritual and emotional support for both the patient and his family
- Practical advice with regard to legal matters and issues, particularly in wills, financial settlements, and end-of live instruction
- Effective coordination between relatives and the patient’s doctor
- Alleviation and relief from pain, stress, and any other discomfort
- Providing support and assistance in the bereavement process