Nearly everyone in America has known someone in hospice care. This care, as scary as it may seem, isn’t necessarily a death sentence. Although many may be confused about this type of care or have questions on what it means for their loved ones, it’s not as complicated as it seems. Hospice care is a fantastic thing for families and patients and can be understood after just a little research.
Here’s what hospice care is and what it means for those who know the patient.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is the medical care that is put in place for patients with a short life expectancy. The reasons can be complications from Huntington’s, cancer, heart disease, or thousands of other reasons. Hospice care takes the time to treat the symptoms of these illnesses and ease the patients into comfort. It works to make patients comfortable, lets them have an easier last few months of their lives.
Who Needs Hospice Care?
Many may think of only the elderly needing hospice care. The imagery of an older man in a rocking chair with a blanket over his lap comes to mind for most- and although there are older patients, these aren’t all of them. Many young people need hospice care, as well. Health complications like HIV, AIDS, cancer, or dozens of other illnesses can make many young people need hospice care.
Besides illnesses, many also have to go to hospice care because of accidents, crashes, or other physical trauma from which they might not recover. It depends on what their doctors say and what their families can accommodate. Not every family can put in the hours every day of caring for someone in hospice care, and often it’s the healthier option for everyone involved.
Is it a Death Sentence?
Although, because of their medical needs and their health, most people don’t last longer than seventy-seven days in hospice care- this isn’t the case for everyone. Twenty percent of hospice patients benefit so much from the care that they’re able to be taken out of hospice! This percentage means one in five people improve enough that they’re no longer ‘at risk,’ and their life expectancy is extended beyond six months. Not everyone who goes into hospice care passes away there; there’s hope for some patients.
What Does This Mean For Loved Ones
Hospice care is a full-time job. It means 24 hour days, seven days a week, which is an incredible amount of work for anyone involved. By putting loved ones into hospice care instead of taking on the action themselves, families are saved a lot of work that could ruin how they view their family members in their last months of life. Many family caretakers, who haven’t been trained and doing this as a job, feel extreme burnout over the amount of work, and many end up exhausted and unable to help further.
Hospice care is there to make this easier for everyone involved. It cares for the ill while allowing the families to keep their autonomy as well.