It’s common to view hospice care as a last resort when someone has reached a point where life is no longer worth living. However, there are several reasons to get hospice care because of the possible improvement of a patient’s life, as well as death.
One of the first things about hospice care or hospice home care that is essential to understand is that “hospice” doesn’t necessarily represent a place. Hospice is a method for dealing with quality-of-life, confronting death, and living with dignity at the end of life or during a period of intense suffering or pain.
An Improvement in Quality of Life
The quality of a patient’s life can improve with end of life care because of a shift in the way the person approaches life without the pain and stress of treatments like chemotherapy for end-stage cancer. Without the debilitating effects of treatment, many people can engage in a semi-normal lifestyle for weeks or even months after starting hospice care.
A Longer Life Span
Estimating the time a person has left before disease, age, or some type of malady proves to be too much for the body to bear isn’t an exact science. However, there is evidence to suggest hospice care may help individuals reach the maximum estimate of time, as well as exceed those estimates in certain cases, while also enjoying a better quality of life. A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management suggested hospice care could increase a person’s lifespan by nearly 30 days.
Patients May Accomplish Goals
It’s not uncommon for healthy individuals to create “bucket” lists, but it’s also pretty common for individuals who have a terminal illness or who are facing hospice care to create such lists. Unencumbered by difficult treatments and other “last ditch” efforts, a patient can focus on the important things in life, like family, unfinished projects, and other goals. With the improvement in the quality of life, some patients may even be able to take care of “bucket list” items that never would have seemed possible at the start of a terminal diagnosis.
Loved Ones Can Breathe Easier
The stress of caring for a family member who requires round-the-clock care or who is in need of the level of attention offered in hospice can tarnish relationships and create unhealthy levels of stress in the mind and body. Hospice care means someone else deals with those difficult responsibilities of end-of-life care, and family members and friends can focus on their friend or family member’s life, rather than their eventual death.
A Peaceful End-of-Life Journey
Although every patient can’t exist in an idyllic pain-free environment, hospice care can reduce the pain of dying through methods used by hospice caregivers to control pain. Not only is a painful terminal disease a tortuous experience for the patient, but seeing a family member or dear friend in terrible pain can make it difficult to care for the person as he or she declines rapidly. Hospice care can improve the comfort of the patient, as well as provide bereavement services after the loss of the loved one.
One of the most difficult decisions a person can make is whether to try medical treatments with a very low chance of success or try to enjoy the last months of life in as much comfort as possible with the help of hospice caregivers. If you or a loved one is investigating options for end-of-life care, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our hospice care services and personalized care for seniors and individuals with a terminal diagnosis.