Hospice Brings Hope, Not Fear
Written by: Catholic Community Health
Hospice can be a scary word. Once you understand what it means you will see hospice brings hope, not fear. The first time a medical professional suggests hospice, many feelings rise to the surface. All to often people think being referred to hospice services means the end is near. Sometimes people feel that it means they are giving up. And others think that you lose control of your ability to make decisions. The truth is, these are all common myths. Here we will dispel fear with truth in in this article and help you make the best decision.
Hospice is a unique service that changes the focus of care of patients who are facing end-of-life illnesses. In traditional medical approaches, the clinical team will work to cure the disease and restore health. In hospice care the intention isn’t about ending the disease, rather ending the symptoms. There comes a time when it is evident that the patient’s affliction is terminal and efforts to defeat it are in vain. Often treatments for diseases are hard on the body and do more damage than good. This is when hospice is the right option.
Often when a patient is admitted to hospice care we find that they feel better and as a result live longer. This is due to the nature of fighting an illness. It is taxing on the body to battle a disease, especially in later years. Modern medicines are strong and take a toll on essential functions leaving the patient weak and uncomfortable. When hospice care gets involved, the patient can breathe easier and live more comfortably.
Our hospice care works as a holistic team, addressing all the symptoms a patient is experiencing. We are also concerned for the family of the patient. We recognize that everyone involved is facing issues related to the illness. Our interdisciplinary team consists of a RN case manager, social worker, home health aide, bereavement coordinator, and a chaplain. We also have complimentary music therapy to help calm and soothe the patient. We collaborate with the patient’s primary physician to make decisions and advise. This team approach ensures that you are receiving the best care possible.
Hospice isn’t appropriate for everyone, so it is important to know the signs that it might be time to speak with your doctor. Hospice is considered when you or a loved one is diagnosed with a life limiting illness. Hospice might be appropriate for late-stage dementia and Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, ALS, COPD, and others. The following are issues to pay attention to in your health or the health of a loved one.
- Weight loss
- Rapid physical and/or functional decline and disease progression
- Increased visits to the ER, hospital or doctor
- Increased dependence for ADLs (At least 2)
- Progression of cognitive impairment
- Progressive pressure ulcers despite optimal care
- Recurrent falls
- Recurrent UTIs and other infections
- Terminal illness
At Catholic Community Health we offer symptom and medication management from hospice nurses, coordinating resources from a social worker, spiritual and emotional care from our chaplains, and much more. Most importantly, end-of-life care needs to be personal. You deserve a team that recognizes that death is the final stage in life and will work to provide comfort and dignity. The team at Catholic Community Health can provide the care and love you need during this time.
To learn more and get your questions answered, call us today.