Making the decision to enter hospice care
Is hospice the right choice?
Making the decision to enter hospice can be difficult and emotional. Transitioning from curative to palliative care leaves patients and their families needing time to adjust to accepting the disease instead of fighting it. Hospice begins after a physician determines that curative care is no longer working or something the patient wants. Hospice works to control pain and provide comfort for the patient and support for loved ones.
Who should make the decision for a person to enter a hospice program?
The Patient Self Determination Act of 1990 declares it’s the decision of the patient. Often, the patient’s family and physician are also involved in the decision-making process.
How will I know when it is time?
Choosing to enter hospice usually happens after a physician informs you that curative treatments are no longer an option for your serious, advanced disease. The emotional decision sometimes may not occur until much, much later, as a patient needs time to accept what is happening.
When is it best to call hospice?
Patients should start hospice care before they become unable to appreciate its pain and symptom control benefits. These benefits let patients spend the end of their lives as free from pain as possible.
What can I expect from hospice care?
Once you’ve decided to stop curative care and involve hospice, you and your loved ones should expect to receive the following:
- A multi-faceted approach to care, including the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of each individual.
- Care that focuses on quality of life, as determined by the patient.
- A team of health care professionals, including a physician, nurses, social workers, nursing assistants, chaplains, and volunteers. This team coordinates with the patient and their family to develop a health care plan unique to each patient, according to their wishes.
- Caregiver training and family support.
- Medical equipment, medications, and supplies related to the patient’s illness.
What if I want to go back to regular treatment?
Individuals can decide to stop using hospice at any time. They can also choose to begin hospice care again at a later date. If you have any questions about hospice, our staff can answer them. They will discuss specific program details with you, as well as go over issues unique to your case. We recommend that anyone who will make decisions about your health be present for the meeting. This way, we can include all your loved ones in the care plan.