By: Regale Harris/Kindred Hospice
When any family first hears about hospice and terminal illness, it’s always a difficult time. In these challenging moments, it’s important to know that hospice is a supportive and helpful option that places the focus on the quality of the life remaining rather than on dying.
The goal of hospice care is to maximize your loved one’s quality of life so he or she may live to the fullest while dealing with a serious and life-threatening condition. To receive hospice care, your loved one must have a life-limiting disease, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke or end-stage Alzheimer’s, with a life expectancy of six months or less.
With an early referral to hospice care, you and your loved one will gain a team of experts to help you understand what’s happening and how to prepare mentally, physically and spiritually for what’s ahead.
Here is what to expect from hospice care:
1. Once it’s been determined that hospice care is the right choice for your loved one, your physician will make a referral to Kindred Hospice.
2. Next, a hospice representative will contact you and make an appointment to come to your home at your earliest convenience. This is usually a nurse who will perform an assessment of the current health condition and start the admission process, if appropriate.
3. It’s a good idea to invite family members to the first meeting who will be part of your loved one’s support. Your nurse will also take time to help explain in more detail about your loved one’s condition, how it may change and what to do when things do change.
4. After the initial discussion, the nurse will review medications and work with the family to establish services you will need. The nurse will take this time to explain any forms that need signatures and answer any remaining questions you and your family members may have.
5. When care begins, hospice services vary depending on your loved one’s condition and the family’s needs. A typical weekly schedule is based on the plan of care from your attending physician, and the nurse will always let family know the approximate time of each visit. Other members of the care team will visit as needed.
There are four levels of hospice care:
Routine Home Care: provides custom care wherever your loved one calls home.
Respite Care: provided in a nursing facility or hospice inpatient unit and allows caregivers to rest or take personal time.
Inpatient Care: provided in a nursing facility, hospital or hospice inpatient unit and offers short-term crisis management of pain or symptoms that cannot be addressed at home.
Continuous Crisis Care: provided at home, in a nursing facility or assisted living facility and offers short-term crisis management such as nursing care to achieve relief of acute medical symptoms.
If you think your loved one may be a candidate for hospice, don’t wait. Talk to your physician today to learn more about how hospice can provide the care, compassion and support you or your family needs, or call 1-800-KINDRED.
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