When you have a loved one who is chronically ill or has been given a bad health report, how do you know when you should involve hospice care?
This is probably the most common question we receive, and for good reason. It’s so challenging to make that decision with a loved one, especially when the news that they will likely not recover is unexpected.
78% of families surveyed wish they had called hospice sooner.
There is no crystal ball to tell us when or how we should go about seeking hospice care for our loved ones; oftentimes stress, anticipatory grief, and the belief that we need to remain strong for our loved one can keep us from asking for help or seeking out advice. But there is a reason that so many families look back and wonder how different things could’ve been had they called hospice sooner.
Sooner rather than later…..
Typically our advice is to seek counsel sooner rather than later. The most devastating thing we witness is when a family comes to us during a medical crisis. This forces rapid decisions, undue stress, and trauma during a time that should give space for the family to be together, to comfort one another and to say goodbyes. This is so heartbreaking to witness as it takes time for a family to cope with a terminal diagnosis; to rush this process is truly challenging for everyone involved.
We believe early hospice care gives families the support they need to be a good support system for their loved ones. The grieving process begins the moment of diagnosis, but this is often when your loved one needs you most. When hospice is in place early, it empowers caregivers to provide competent care alongside our medical staff so that a patient may remain at home, comfortable in familiar surroundings. It also gives you the ability to research and find the right hospice care provider that will provide the comfort, care and support needed for your loved one and family to ensure the best possible transition for all involved.
Signs your loved one may need hospice care:Unintentional weight loss or decreased appetite or interest in food Sleeping more than 16 hrs. during a 24hr/period Difficulty breathing with minimal exertion. Overall weakness; difficulty with bathing, dressing, walking, or getting out of bed. Multiple visits to the ER, Urgent Care, or hospital within the last 6 months Unexplained or frequent falls (more than 2 in a 3-month time frame) Confusion that does not clear or inability to care for oneself due to the confusion. Swelling of the legs, ankles or feet that remain even after propping them up. Unmanaged or poorly controlled pain, anxiety, nausea, or shortness of breath Pressure wounds and inability to change position independently. Your medical provider has told you that there is not anything else that can be done to cure the illness.
One of the biggest fears we encounter is that families believe once they contact a hospice provider they are “locked in” to care. This keeps them from seeking advice as they often don’t know or understand the process, or if it’s even needed at the moment.
Reaching out to a hospice company does not commit you to anything. This call or visit simply helps you better understand your options and determine the best course of action for your loved one. Sometimes just speaking with us can help you determine if it is the right time or not to proceed.
At Aria Hospice Comfort Care, we are happy to meet with you and your family anytime to discuss the hospice process and the benefits to implementing hospice care for you and your loved one. It does not require a physician’s order to have us explain our services. We are happy to provide information even if the person is not yet eligible. If you determine the timing isn’t right for hospice, our team of registered nurses and medical social workers can help you navigate caregiving, physician appointments, and long-term care policies/coverage. We understand how challenging this can be and our team of caring professionals seeks to be a resource for you and your loved one during this time.
This process is so difficult, and should never be walked alone. We exist because we know, we care, and we want to help.
If my loved one does need hospice, what happens next?
If the person does qualify and desires hospice care, Aria will provide an expert team of clinical staff to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support. We understand that things can change quickly and so we are available 24/7 with a 15-minute response time. You do not have to do this journey alone; we will be by your side every step of the way.
If you would like to speak to someone you can call us 24/7 at (520) 547-7000 and we can schedule a same day appointment to discuss care options. Again, there are no commitments or contracts; hospice can be added or removed anytime.
Choosing hospice care does not mean giving up hope but instead choosing to focus on spending your time on what is most important to you and supporting your loved ones!
Please call us today to find out how comfort care can help you and your loved one.