Making the decision to enter hospice care
Is hospice the right choice?
It can be a difficult, emotional decision to go into hospice care. Making the transition from curative to palliative care requires patients and their families to accept the disease instead of fight it. Hospice starts once a physician makes the determination that curative care no longer works or once a patient decides they no longer want it. Hospice providers try to control pain and comfort a patient and support their loved ones.
Who should make the decision for a person to enter a hospice program?
The Patient Self Determination Act of 1990 says the patient makes that decision. However, the patient’s family and physician are also usually also involved in making the decision.
How will I know when it is time?
Patients usually enter hospice after a physician says that curative treatments are no longer having an affect on the disease. Sometimes, the emotional decision to enter hospice care will not occur until much later, since patients need to spend time trying to accept what is happening.
When is it best to call hospice?
We recommend patients start hospice before they are unable to appreciate the benefits pain and symptom control bring. These benefits allow patients to spend wait time they have left with as little pain as possible.
What can I expect from hospice care?
Once you’ve decided to stop curative treatments and enter hospice care, you and your loved ones should expect to receive the following:
- Care that focuses on providing emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental support to patients.
- Care from a team of professionals, including a physician, social workers, nurses, nursing assistants, and volunteers. This team coordinates with the patient and their families to create a unique health care plan, according to the patient’s wishes.
- Medical equipment, supplies, and medications related to the patient’s illness.
- Care focusing on the quality of life of the patient.
- Support and training for family and caregivers.
What if I want to go back to regular treatment?
You can stop using hospice care at any time. And, you can choose to start hospice care again at a later date. Our staff can answer any questions you may have. They can explain specific program details and go over your unique issues with you. We recommend that anyone who makes your health care decisions be present for the meeting. This way, all your loved ones are included in the care plan.