Tip to make End-of-life care easier – Hospice

Every few weeks, the Retiree Center will present a new article in its End of Life tips series. While we know these are difficult discussions to have, our goal is to ensure our retirees get access to helpful information to help them plan safely for the inevitable. There are many ways to ensure the future includes and safeguards our individual hopes and wishes as life begins to change with increasing age.

Did You Know:

Today, more than half of terminally-ill patients have illnesses which make them medically eligible for hospice services, such as late-stage heart, lung or kidney disease, and advanced Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Hospice is professional level care for individuals living with a terminal illness, meant to provide them comfort and an increased quality of life. As individuals age, it becomes increasingly difficult to care for one’s declining health. Family members of a loved one may feel added pressure to provide intense medical care. Hospice allows family members the opportunity to provide clarification of goals, address symptoms of disease and illness, and relieve spiritual and psychological distress. If you are wondering whether or not hospice care is right for you, consider these factors carefully:

  • Does the patient require physician-level care for 6 or more months?
  • Has the patient experienced a rapid decline of health in addition to receiving medical attention?
  • Have you talked to the patient about their goals and desired quality of life?
  • Does the patient require physical therapy or dieting counseling?
  • Does the patient live alone or have a strong support system?

While hospice does not provide treatment to cure any terminal illnesses, it does allow the patient to feel that their pain is manageable. Often times, psychological distress is caused by the unknown factors of future care or possibility of health accidents. Hospice allows the individual to remain cared for in the safety of their home rather than in a medical facility. Many hospices follow Medicare requirements to manage illness, loss, and grieving.

While it may seem overwhelming to initiate these conversations early, it is important to guarantee your own satisfaction nearing the end of life. For further information regarding hospice care, please visit the National Institute on Aging.