Making the decision for hospice care for your loved one is perhaps one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make. “It’s an emotional time,” Kenneth Haglind says, “and it’s a time that’s especially hard on you as a family member.” For that reason, Ken Haglind says finding the right hospice care can go a long way in easing your worries. The agency you choose should be one that you’re completely comfortable with. Here, Kenneth Haglind talks about some things to consider when thinking about hospice care for your loved one.
Hospice care is end-of-life care, Kenneth Haglind begins. It is a time when the care shifts from medical curative and preventative care to focus primarily on palliative care, including comfort and relief of symptoms for the dying person.
Just because you’re choosing hospice care doesn’t mean you’re giving up, Ken Haglind says. It means you’re choosing your loved one’s welfare and comfort for their final days, he adds. It means you’re choosing to focus on quality of life instead of trying to cure a terminal illness. In the chance that your loved one recovers, he says, you can always change your mind and resume medical curative care. Patient choice is one of the many positive aspects about hospice.
Legally, hospice care can be ordered if the physician believes the patient has less than 6 months to live. However, we see far too many people starting hospice much too late, Kenneth Haglind says. Medical staff in the hospital can give palliative care, he adds, but hospice care is so much more than that. Hospice focuses on pain relief and relief from shortness of breath and other physical symptoms in addition to emotional and spiritual concerns, Ken Haglind explains.
The hospice team includes a physician and a nurse, a social worker, a home health aide, and a chaplain if needed. There are also volunteers which can assist with other things like running errands or even duties like light house cleaning. The physician is in charge of the medical plan, Kenneth Haglind says, and aides can help with things like bathing, dressing, and light cleaning chores. Social workers are available for the loved ones and caregivers, he adds, and it’s a very compassionate and caring team of professionals that provides support with hospice.
Hospice care can be in your home, Kenneth Haglind says, but it can also be provided at a hospital, nursing home, or another long-term care place. Almost everybody says it’s the best decision they could ever make for their loved ones.