By Aditi Sethi-Brown, MD
Here are six facts about hospice care you need to know:
1. Hospice care is not just for the terminally ill. In fact, hospice services can help manage care of a loved one with advanced chronic health problems who remains at home.
2. Seeking out hospice care is neither “giving up” nor something that hastens death. On the contrary, the goal of hospice support is to increase patient comfort as much as possible, as well as provide care for the caregivers.
3. Everyone should be thinking about the possibility of needing hospice services at some point, especially as they grow older and grapple with health challenges — and the earlier they consider these possibilities, the better. Waiting puts one at risk for not being able to fully and succinctly express their wishes for end-of-life care. In short, future caregivers need clarity, and patients want peace of mind.
4. There is a lot of information about hospice care available — through community events and educational opportunities. The most effective way to learn about these services, however, is from those whose families have been helped by hospice.
5. Those who are given hospice care consistently live longer than those who didn’t receive it; their comfort is increased, too.
6. Hospice services can continue after the patient has passed away through support groups and grief counseling, depending on the hospice programs available.
Aditi Sethi-Brown, MD, is Medical Director of CarePartners Solace Center.