When an illness is terminal, doctors and loved ones may decide that it’s time to stop treatments that are no longer effective. The doctor can then refer the patient to hospice care, also referred to as comfort care or end-of-life care.
Patients in hospice are typically suffering from pain, sometimes shortness of breath and other medical issues that are debilitating. This is when it’s time to call in hospice.
Many people mistakenly believe that hospice means they’ve given up, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Still, others think that the word hospice means that no medical care will be given. This is also inaccurate. In hospice, the patient’s medical team, including the hospice caregivers, focus on the quality of life in lieu of curing a medical condition.
This hospice team may include a nurse, doctor, social workers, chaplains, counselors, and some family members. The hospice team can also offer to counsel and help with housekeeping and other daily tasks for stressed family members.
When Can I Begin Hospice?
Hospice may be implemented by a doctor as soon as the diagnosis of a terminal illness is made. When death is anticipated within the next six months or less, hospice can be implemented. Even if the patient lasts longer than six months, hospice may be retained.