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What's hospice care? Hospice care is intended for people who are nearing the end of life. Hospice care services are provided by a team of health care professionals who create a holistic plan of care that addresses pain and comfort, as well as physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs.
Hospice care is designed to address the needs of the entire family, not only for the patient. The focus of hospice care isn't to cure or treat the underlying disease, but to provide the highest quality of life possible for whatever time remains.
Our previous discussion was with the role of oncology social worker. Your social worker can assist you in finding a hospice care program that's a good fit for you. A few things to consider with choosing hospice:
Talking about hospice care isn't easy. However, it may be best to start this discussion early so that choices and initial decisions can be made before a crisis occurs. The fact is that many people enter hospice only in their last few days instead of their last months. Hospice care is designed to give you the best quality of life during the time when you need it most.
Feel free to share your thoughts and resources with each other on this topic.
Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Lori, it does take time to make a decision about hospice. Sometimes patients feel like they are "giving up" when they decide on Hospice care. Hospice is about keeping good quality of life at the end of life. Let your loved one know that it's ok to consider Hospice care - sometimes that permission from other loved ones is important to be able to take the next step.
A loved one is at the end stage of kidney disease. The docs. have told him dyalis isn't helping.He keeps going back and forth in the decision for hospice care. It is so hard as a caregiver watching him struggle everyday and he keeps going to d-treatments 3xweek. He says things like I keep hoping Ill get better. My mother-in-law is suffering from depression because of this to the point that she cannot fuction. I am doing everything for them. What can I do to help them help themselves.
I was very surprised at the cost of hospice care in my area. They charge a per diem rate, regardless of number of visits, that equals about $6000 per month. In my state, there are no 24-hour in-home or in-patient hospice services, only home visits as needed by an LPN. I have private insurance and am too young for Medicare. Insurance covers hospice at 80%, so that leaves me with $1000 per month out of pocket. To get coverage under my insurance for hospice, I must waive my right to call 911 or be admitted to a hospital. Hospice is not such a great deal for me, although others I know had free hospice care.
My husband has just been told that he has stage 4 lung cancer and it has scared me to death as i'am not sure where all of the answers are goint ot come from. He has already started dto take Chemo and I'am interested in the idea that Medicare will help with Hospic care. Don't know much about that, just that we can't do it by ourselves.
Doris- If your husband has end stage COPD, hospice can be a wonderful help to both of you. They can assist with oxygen, comfort measures and other needs at home. Ask his care provider for a referral to hospice. Hospice care is for anyone, not only for cancer patients.
We utilized our local not for profit Hospice for my 90 year old mother who had Parkinson's and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. They offered a beautiful homelike inpatient facility for respite care. The staff and volunteers we encountered on our journey were amazing. Hospice is NOT just for cancer. If you're struggling caring for a loved one at home please ask your physician about a referral to Hospice. They provide needed equipment as well as support. It's also possible to come "off" Hospice if needed and to be readmitted at a later date. Their loving care,concern, and support was a blessing for our family.
I know this is for cancer patients and caregivers, but my husband has advanced COPD, not cancer. It is much slower and very excruciating, both for him and me. There is no way to predict how long he has; he also has heart disease. I would like some help on a daily basis, but doctors haven't mentioned Hospice yet. This disease isn't as much about pain as about breathing, but I could really use help!
My husband was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in May of 2009. He passed away in September 2010. From July to September, hospice was there for both of us. I cannot begin to tell you what I would have done without the nurses, social workers, doctor, etc. They were gentle, offered suggestions to make sure my husband was comfortable at all times, hugged me when I needed it and even if I didn't. They were the ones I called when he passed away. And they kept in touch with me for 13 months after my husband died. I'm sure my story is not unusual, but I could never have gotten through that time without them keeping me grounded and moving forward. God bless all the hospice nurses, doctors, social workers, and everyone who works at hospice to make those last days bearable.
Hi I am a cancer patient and a hospice RN. I think it would be great if every cancer patient and family could have a referral visit just to understand how hospice works, even before you might need it. I think many times people think it is only for the very end of life, but it is not. Second, I strongly agree with 2 of the other posts, if you are the caregiver let the hospice staff know what you need and want to know. I personally want patients and families to be able to understand what is happening and what to expect so they can put their energy into whatever their goals are for the time remaining. YES, YES check out all the hospice programs in your area. Another valuable question is "How long have they been in this area?" "Are they a community based not for profit hospice?" In the US many for profit hospices now exist and their mission and goal is to make money, this is not true of community based services. Also, some have inpatient facilities and some do not. Thanks for this great discussion. I wish you all peace during the holiday season however you celebrate.
My Dad was in scared Journey for 13 weeks. He got the most wonderful, caring Nurses anyone could hope for. They are still my angles on earth. Now they are caring for my Mom at home. They help me understand the process of quality over quanity. Love everyone ther.
Please be aware that there are differences among hospices. I wish that I had checked more carefully before my husband entered the program.
Shirley, If you feel that Hospice is not keeping you informed, speak to them, as you are the caregiver and need to know so that you can formulate your care giving asction plans, they may even be helpful in that regard.
My husband has Pancreatic Cancer and it is now in the liver. Just this week we started with Hospice and are very pleased with the entire team. No question is a dumb question. They are compassionate and there for anything. It is hard to begin with Hospice but I can see where this is going to be a blessing for all of us.
My wife just passed away due to breast cancer. She was on Hospice care for 6 months and they did a wonderful job of keeping her pain free. Communicating with them may was difficult at times but after a meeting with them I resolved that problem.
Medicare pays for all costs of hospice care including drugs required to keep the person PAIN FREE
Husband is currently under Hospice care having colon cancer that has spread to liver and lung. Am very happy with the care givers we have, very caring and kind to both my husband and myself. Times I wish they would tell me what is happening, to me the unknown is terrible.
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