Hospice Is Not Giving Up. Hospice is Full of Hope.
Support for the Patient & Family
There is a common misconception that choosing hospice means giving up hope. The facts about hospice, however, prove otherwise. Given the time, hospice actually relieves suffering, promotes dignity, and facilitates closure for patients and families. Those are the benefits of hospice care.
The hospice team is specially trained in end-of-life care, which can be provided anywhere the patient calls home, whether that’s assisted living, a nursing home or a private residence. Hospice care can also be provided in hospitals and facilities that cater exclusively to hospice patients.
In addition to pain and symptom management, hospice care benefits include a variety of support services for patients and their families: education, emotional and spiritual support, help with financial issues, help with the patient’s personal care and hygiene, and respite care to give a family caregiver a break of up to 5 days.
What Is Hospice Care and What Are Its Purposes?
Hospice care is specialized palliative care for patients with advanced illness who are nearing the end of life. This comfort-focused care aims to improve patients’ quality of life once they have elected to no longer seek curative treatment.
Hospice is integrative. It addresses the patient’s clinical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and it honors their goals and wishes for end-of-life care. In doing so, hospice patients are often able to live out their remaining days, weeks, and months more comfortably—and in many cases, for longer periods—than they would if they had continued seeking curative treatment until the point of death.
While hospice care focuses on a patient with advanced illness, the patient’s family members and caregiver are also supported through:
- assistance with day-to-day care
- opportunities for respite care
- emotional, spiritual, and long-term grief support
Hospice Is Full of Hope
Some hospice patients experience an improvement in their health, often a result of the solicitous; some even choose to revoke their Medicare hospice benefit for a while.
Even when the disease continues to progress as expected, studies show that terminally ill patients who receive hospice care can live longer than similar patients who don’t receive hospice.
Hospice patients gain a sense of relief and control. Regular visits from their nurse and hospice aide get pain and other symptoms under control and prevent emergency hospital visits. Being at home, surrounded by family and friends, can improve quality of life. Chats with the team social worker or chaplain address emotional pain. Slowly, a hospice patient—and their family—begin looking forward to tomorrow.
The benefits of hospice care empower patients and their caregivers. Patients can control how they live out their final months; caregivers can benefit from physical and emotional support while spending quality time with their loved ones.