Hospice care improves the quality of life and provides support and comfort when a cure is no longer possible. Instead of those who are ill and their families dwelling on the imminent loss, hospice care helps them to focus on making the most of the life that remains. Through hospice care, patients can focus on the things that matter most to them without having to worry about the pain and treatments.
Hospice care can take place wherever patients feel most comfortable. Hospice nurses make visits to see patients wherever they call home whether it is their own home, a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Hospice care is not only for patients with cancer, and applies to many diagnoses. Other common diagnoses that receive hospice care are Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, congestive heart failure, and stoke.
This is simply not true; patients can stop hospice treatment at any time. If a patients’ condition improves, their disease goes into remission, or they want to return to a curative-based approach they can do so at any time.
Hospice care supports the patients’ family as much as they do the patient. Hospice teams act as a support system for the family and work with them to help prepare them for the passing of their loved one. Hospice also offers bereavement services after a loved one has passed and social workers are there to help the family make difficult decisions.
Referrals to hospice care can come from not only physicians but also nurses, social workers, case workers and the patients and their families. Although anyone can make a referral, a physician’s order is required for hospice admission and they need to certify that the patient has a terminal illness with a life expectancy of 6 months or less.