If you’re weighing a decision on hospice care for a loved one, you’re not alone. The CDC estimates that this type of care helped 1.4 million people in 2015, meaning that millions of families and friends struggled to consider their options before making a choice.
Hospice care provides compassionate support for a patient in need, but the decision is always a personal one. It’s important to weigh your loved one’s condition and preferences as you consider your options. Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of hospice care, and when your loved one might need it in the Twin Cities area.
What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care focuses on providing pain and symptom relief for people facing a terminal illness.
Though there are many similarities when considering palliative care vs. hospice care, it’s worth noting that hospice care is not curative. In other words, where palliative care provides many of the same services as hospice care, hospice care is often given to patients with a prognosis of six months or fewer to live.
Of course, even with a serious illness, it can be difficult to tell when a loved one around the Twin Cities needs this type of care. Working with a physician can help you determine when hospice care is needed, but you should also look for the red flags below.
1. They Have Been Hospitalized More Than Once
It’s not uncommon for older adults to experience a hospital stay for one-off health conditions, but recurring hospitalizations could be a sign it’s time to consider hospice care at home. If a loved one is in and out of the hospital on a frequent basis, having hospice care with an on-call nurse can be a better alternative.
2. They Have Experienced Recurring Infections
Again, frequent infections like pneumonia or urinary tract infections aren’t uncommon in older adults, but recurring infections should be a red flag. These growing infections may indicate the progression of a disease or simply a wearing down of the immune system.
3. Their Treatments Aren’t Working
Patients with a terminal illness may choose to preserve their quality of life over seeking aggressive treatment, which is where hospice care comes in. When a loved one’s treatment isn’t working, refocusing on hospice care can help them manage symptoms and provide pain relief. This can be especially helpful when their symptoms have become difficult to manage, even with treatment.
4. There’s a Decline in Basic Function
When a loved one has a hard time washing up or putting on a shirt, it can indicate a decline in their overall health. Their inability to perform basic daily tasks may frustrate them and put a strain on caregivers, especially with winter conditions in the Twin Cities. However, both of these issues can be eased with hospice home care.
In addition, you may also find that your loved one struggles with speech or has difficulty following a conversation, or that their hearing and vision aren’t what they used to be. Another common issue is the frequent need to rest in a bed or chair for most of the day.
5. As Their Caregiver, You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Caring for a loved one is a full-time job, and the challenge can feel stressful and exhausting. The job doesn’t allow for time off, which can make you feel like you’re too thinly stretched to provide the support you want to give. In cases like these, hospice can be a great way to ease the strain while offering compassionate care to your loved one.
Start the Conversation on Hospice Care in the Twin Cities Area
The decision to reach out for end-of-life care can be stressful for any family. However, seeking appropriate hospice care for your loved one can help them get the medical support and pain relief they need.
Our home-based hospice care services are designed to allow your loved ones to live with respect and dignity right in their Twin Cities’ home. As you embark on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions and concerns about this type of supportive care. Our team is happy to help you decide if and when our end-of-life care is right for your loved one.