At the End of Life

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While this may not be a topic that many are prepared to talk about or accept, I thought it would be a good idea add an informative post about hospice. There are many people who probably do not have a full understanding of what hospice is– or have a misconception of what it is. Just the word “hospice” throws people off.

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There are many hospice companies in the Bay Area. What differentiates one from the other is size, experience and length of business. All hospice companies are regulated by Medicare guidelines for hospice eligibility. The main criteria for hospice is a terminal prognosis of 6 months or less. If you have a loved one with a prognosis of 6 months or less, you may both want to look into what hospice can offer.

You can sit down with a member of a hospice company to help explain and answer any questions you may have about the care that is provided and how exactly hospice works. Once you’ve had the chance to understand hospice, you can make a decision on whether hospice is the right choice for you and your loved one. Some decide they are not ready for it or do not wish to utilize hospice services during the end of life of their loved one.

However, there has been more awareness and understanding of the support and benefit that hospice offers during this difficult time. While your loved one is under hospice care, care will come to them. You no longer need to take them to the doctor’s office, to the hospital– the interdisciplinary team will come to them. There is usually a team of nurses, caregiver, spiritual counselor, social worker, volunteers and physician.

The nurse and caregiver make weekly visits to your loved one’s place of residence. During the visit, the nurse comes to assess the patient for pain, comfort, safety, see how the patient is eating, how the patient is feeling and help the patient maintain as much normalcy in his or her life and life with dignity and comfort during the end of life. The caregiver comes to help with more physical tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. The visits from the psych-social team may happen once or twice a month to provide support, resources and assist with end of life planning.

We understand that this is a difficult time for any family member to manage the care of their loved ones which working and caring for their own families. It is stressful and overwhelming. This is where the hospice company steps in as the experts to help relieve the duty of care for the primary caregiver.


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