Making Plans for Hospice Care
Beginning your end-of-life journey can be an overwhelming and scary time filled with many emotions. But one of the best things a family or a patient with declining health can do is make hospice care plans — and make those plans early.
Research and studies have shown that on average people live 26 days longer when they receive hospice care. They tend to have a higher quality of life, too. Still, members of the Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care team so often hear patients and their families say, “we wish we would have known about this and started hospice earlier.” To better understand if it’s time to consider hospice, watch this short video.
Wherever you are in your plans for hospice care, Crossroads wants to help you and your family make this transition as easy as possible. There are a few things you can do today to start that process. And remember: It’s never too early to learn about what’s available for you or your loved one.
What is hospice care?
For many patients, hospice can be provided in their homes, or wherever they call home. At Crossroads, we go to them – so patients can be surrounded by the people (and things) they love most. Hospice care can also be provided in a hospital or long term care facility.
Today, most hospice providers are focused on the care — not the cure. This means that hospice nurses and physicians treat their patients for their quality of life, rather than trying to find a cure or extend their life through medication. Hospice care is available to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live if the disease progression runs its normal course. In other words, starting your hospice journey doesn’t mean you’re dying immediately. You have plenty of time to live.
When you begin hospice care with Crossroads, you can expect regular visits from your hospice team. These visits will include things like medical evaluations by nurses and aides, conversations with chaplains and visits from social workers and volunteers.
The goal of hospice is to make your remaining time left as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. We at Crossroads believe that with the right hospice care, some of your best days are still ahead of you.
Make an informational appointment.
Knowing where to begin is sometimes the hardest step in making hospice care plans. You might be asking yourself, “If I start hospice, can I stay in my house? Do I need a new doctor? Is my life going to change tomorrow?” These types of questions are common, and can be answered during an informational in-person appointment or phone call with a hospice provider.
Most hospice companies have staff members dedicated to answering new patient questions. During these sessions, you will be walked through what to expect. They can also provide additional resource materials and literature about their services, and let you know their current availability to accept new patients.
Find the right doctor.
Having a geriatric practitioner can make a big difference in the type of care and advice you receive. These physicians specialize in the health of elderly folks, and understand that starting hospice care earlier rather than later will help your end-of-life journey be more fulfilling and comfortable.
Oftentimes, general practitioners feel as though they’re letting down their patients when they get to the hospice stage of medical care. They’ve been trained to “cure” patients. But that’s not what you need at this stage. Remember, hospice is about the “care” – not the “cure.”
A geriatric doctor understands the language and framework of the hospice system and is less likely to shy away from ‘tough’ conversations that will help ensure you get the care you need.
Before meeting with your doctor about hospice care plans, you’ll want to know what questions to ask. Writing down your biggest concerns and fears will help guide this conversation. To find a geriatric doctor, ask your current physician for a referral or use a search engine like Google to locate specialists in your area.
Learn more about Crossroads or other providers in your area.
The Crossroads website can answer common questions, help with referrals, search for nearest locations and provide information about qualifications for your care. The best part is that you can do it from the comfort of your living room.
If Crossroads is not available in your area, you can use a search engine like Google to see what companies offer care in your area. Medicare’s Hospice Compare is also a good healthcare tool to see which providers are available near you and what they offer their patients.
The sooner you know your options, the sooner you can begin your plans for hospice care and start living without fear of end of life.
To find more hospice information for patients and families, give us a call at 1-888-564-3405.
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