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What is Hospice? November 21, 2019

Person holding the hand of someone in the hospital

If you’ve ever wondered exactly what hospice is, who it is for and what services are provided you are not alone. While most of us are at least aware of hospice and may have a general idea about what’s involved, we may lack some specific knowledge about exactly what is involved with hospice.

What Is It?

Hospice Foundation of America defines hospice as:

“Medical care to help someone with a terminal illness live as well as possible for as long as possible, increasing quality of life.”

Hospice involves a team of professionals from a variety of disciplines who address various physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of both the person who is dying and their family. It is designed to help all involved address symptom management, coordinate care, and decision-making. It helps families set goals for the care and the quality of life desired for the dying person.

Who Is It For?

Hospice is for those who have been diagnosed as terminally ill with a lifespan that has been determined to be six months or less. When hospice first began gaining in popularity in the United States in the 1970s, it was mainly used for terminally ill cancer patients and their families. Today, it is estimated that more than half of hospice patients suffer from a terminal disease that is not cancer related.

What Services Are Provided Through Hospice?

One of the most appealing aspects of hospice is that can be provided where the terminally ill patient calls home. This could be their physical house or a medical facility or nursing home. Some hospices have their own care centers.

Services provided include:

  • Visits to the home by the hospice team.
  • Symptom control and pain relief medications.
  • Necessary medical equipment including wheelchairs, bandages, walkers, etc.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Nutritional and dietary counseling
  • Speech pathology services.
  • Other Medicare-covered services recommended by the hospice team.
  • Short-term in-patient care if at-homes services aren’t sufficient or in instances of “caregiver burnout”
  • Grief counseling for the family.

When is it Time for Hospice?

It is time for hospice when a doctor has determined a patient has less than six months to live. They also may exhibit other conditions like weight loss, decline of mental status and an inability to perform daily activities. The patient may also be more interested in maintaining a certain quality of life as opposed to undergoing treatment.

Hospice helps the patient and family through difficult end-of-life decisions, which may include final arrangements. It is an opportunity for the patient to express their final wishes and maintain some level of control in the final stage of their lives.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes, we have been honored to serve families in Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati area for generations. This includes families with someone undergoing hospice care. In fact, our caring professionals can even come to your home to discuss final arrangements. End-of-life decisions are rarely easy, but hospice can help make them just a bit easier. We encourage you to learn more about these remarkable caregivers.

Should you have any questions or would like to discuss what is involved in planning final arrangements, please feel free to contact us.

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