Knowing what to expect is important if you or a loved one are starting hospice at home. Hospice care is typically provided for individuals with a life-limiting illness and focuses on comfort and quality of life in the final stages of that illness.
Hospice care is a type of medical care provided to patients with a life-limiting illness. Hospice focuses on providing comfort, pain management, and quality of life during the final stages of an illness.
While hospice care can be provided in a hospital or an inpatient hospice unit, many people receive hospice care at home. If you or a loved one are considering hospice at home, it’s important to understand what to expect.
When is the Right Time for Hospice?
This question weighs heavily on the minds of those facing a terminal illness and their loved ones. Hospice care is designed to provide comfort and support during the end-of-life journey and can be offered in the patient’s home or specialized facility. The decision to enter hospice is deeply personal and can be made in consultation with the patient’s physician, family, and caregivers.
Hospice care may be appropriate when a patient’s condition is no longer responding to curative treatments and requires more specialized care to manage their symptoms and maintain their quality of life. There is no set timeline for when hospice care should begin, but early referrals can ensure that patients and their families receive the many benefits from hospice.
Starting Hospice at Home: What to Expect
If you’re considering hospice care for a loved one, it’s natural to have concerns and questions about the process. This guide is designed to provide you with a better understanding of what to expect from receiving hospice care at home. Here are five things to consider and expect when starting hospice at home:
1. Your Hospice Care Team
When you choose hospice care at home, you’ll work with a team of healthcare professionals with experience in end-of-life care. This team may include a nurse, social worker, chaplain, and volunteers. The nurse will visit regularly to provide medical care, monitor symptoms, and provide education and training for family members. The social worker can help with counseling and connecting families with community resources. The chaplain provides spiritual support and can help with funeral planning.
Your hospice care team will work with your primary care physician to manage any medications you may need. Medications may include pain management drugs, anti-nausea medication, and medication for anxiety or depression. Your care team will monitor your medication response and adjust dosage as needed.
3. Home Modifications
Your hospice care team may recommend home modifications to make your home safer and more comfortable during the end-of-life stage. This may include installing handrails, a hospital bed, or a wheelchair ramp. The team may also help arrange in-home medical equipment and other supplies as needed.
4. Caregiver Support
If you’re receiving hospice care at home, it’s likely that a family member or loved one will be your primary caregiver. Your hospice team can provide caregiver support, including education, respite care, and counseling. This support can help ensure caregivers are not overwhelmed, and the patient receives the best care.
5. Bereavement Support
Hospice care doesn’t stop when a patient passes away. Your hospice team can provide bereavement support for the family, including counseling, support groups, and referrals to other community resources. This support can help families cope with grief and adjust to life after a loved one’s death.
5 Process When Starting Hospice at Home
There are a variety of steps involved when starting hospice at home. Here are five important ones to keep in mind:
Choosing hospice care at home can be a difficult decision, but it can also provide peace of mind and comfort during the final stages of a life-limiting illness. It’s important to discuss hospice care with your primary care physician or healthcare provider to determine if it’s the right choice for you or your loved one.
If you do choose hospice care at home, be sure to communicate openly with your hospice care team and ask questions along the way. Understanding what to expect can help you feel more prepared and ease some stress during a difficult time.