End of life care: When is hospice needed?

When an elderly parent or loved one nears the end of his or her life, hospice care may be a viable option. A person is eligible for hospice care when the doctor determines life expectancy to be six months or less. Also, hospice may be an option if it’s determined that further tests and treatments are no longer effective, and will instead add to or cause suffering.

What is hospice?

The Hospice Foundation of America defines hospice as “a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.” Hospice care is provided by professionals with specialized knowledge of medical care — including pain management (palliative care) — and doesn’t prolong or hasten death, according to the HFA. Rather, the main goal of hospice is to offer a person suffering from chronic or terminal illness comfort and dignity. Emotional, social and spiritual support is also available for the patient and his or her family during this sensitive time.

A person’s hospice care likely takes place in a care facility, but can occur at home if circumstances allow it.

Related: HFA’s Understanding Hospice Fact Sheet

Home hospice

When home hospice care is provided, nurses are either on hand or on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These hospice care professionals can perform most of the procedures provided by a hospital or care facility, including administering medicine, set up IVs, do blood work, etc. Hospice professionals also keep family members informed on the progress of their loved one’s condition.

Related: Hospice: Conquering common misconceptions (via Chicago Tribune)

Encompass can help

Encompass Senior Solutions — currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa — provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the options available for those in need of hospice care and related end of life conditions.

All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or licensed clinical social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today.

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”