One of the most difficult realizations for those with loved ones fighting a serious illness is understanding that treatment is no longer working. No one wants to admit that it has become a losing battle against a serious illness. Many people are hesitant to call hospice for a loved one because they see it as “giving up.” In reality, contacting hospice is a choice that can lead to fewer worries and more meaningful moments during a serious illness or near the end of life.
- Excessive sleeping throughout the day
- Weakness during daily living activities
- Unplanned weight loss
- Multiple hospital visits/stays in the past six months
- Excessive swelling of the legs and ankles
- Difficulty breathing at rest or with increased oxygen levels
- Pain that is not minimally controlled
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Trouble sleeping due to pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms
- Not “bouncing back” after an illness
- Not responding to current treatments or therapy
- Loss of appetite and/or speech
- Frequent changes in medications
- Wounds that aren’t healing and Infections
If you or your loved on is experiencing any of these symptoms, please call us or your physician today.
“Considering Hospice Care: A guide for families and loved ones”.
We hope this will help assist your family in the important decision hospice care is. If you would like to have a FREE hard copy of this booklet, if you have additional questions or would like to schedule a free/no obligation consultation, please contact us today!
Download/view the PDF:
According to a new study, many people wait too long to get special end-of-life care.
People who put off hospice care—in which attempts to cure a disease are usually stopped and replaced with treatments just for pain and suffering—might spend months in and out of hospitals, with their families struggling to take care of them. Hospice is specifically designed to address such issues with drugs and other interventions, which can increase patients’ quality of life toward the end of life.
“At some point, patients and their families and doctors realize that hospice is appropriate, but that happens perhaps later than it should,” says study author Thomas Michael Gill, M.D., a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and investigative medicine, and the Humana Foundation professor of geriatric medicine, at Yale University. “When folks are referred to hospice only in the last days of their life, it’s difficult to have a meaningful benefit.”
For nearly 16 years, Gill and a team of researchers from the School of Medicine at Yale University followed 754 people who were all over 70 years old when the study began. Even though more than 40 percent of the 562 patients who died during the study entered hospice care during the last year of their lives, the median time spent in hospice was less than two weeks.
Many of their most debilitating symptoms—including pain, nausea, depression, and shortness of breath—decreased substantially only after hospice began. That means many patients might have been suffering needlessly for months, says Diane Meier, M.D., the director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care and a professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital.
Health crises, emergency-room visits, and hospitalizations can become routine toward the end of life, and “that is a very distressing and stressful experience for patients and family members,” says Meier. “Remaining in your own home [something hospice makes possible], a familiar place with familiar people, is safer and offers better quality of life.”
Here’s what you need to know about hospice care, and how to know when it’s time to begin considering it, for yourself or a loved one.
Read more informative hospice articles here.