Archbold's Hospice of Southwest Georgia Encourages "Have the Conversation"
Most people don't like to think about having a conversation with their loved one about hospice. But just one conversation can really help save a loved one from suffering, and provide much needed support services and relief for caregivers, too.
Hospice provides essential medical care, including management of pain and symptoms, for the patient in the comfort of their home. Hospice care is covered by Medicare for up to six months in many cases, and is appropriate for patients with end-stage terminal illnesses.
And though hospice provides the essential medical care patients need, hospice also helps families in many ways, too. Hospice helps families understand, prepare for, and support each other through a final illness, and throughout the grieving process, as well.
“When a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, the focus changes to quality of life. We help families to shift their focus to enjoying valuable time together,” said Sheri Walters, administrator of Archbold Health Services' Hospice of Southwest Georgia. “That’s how hospice can help. We provide the essential medical care for our patients, but we also provide another source of help and support services for family members, too, so they can focus their efforts enjoying their loved one.”
According to Walters, hospice really is for everyone. And the earlier hospice is engaged, the more support they are able to provide each family.
“Families should really think about hospice, and have the hospice conversation, long before they are faced with a medical crisis,” said Walters. “We offer so much assistance for families that can be beneficial. Our trained volunteers will sit with a patient so an exhausted caregiver can get some much needed relief, we will even run errands for families, among other things. Our staff and volunteers really have a heart for helping people, and the sooner we can be involved, the more help we can provide.”
Walters said a physician may recommend hospice, but families can also self-refer for hospice services.
“If a family feels they could use our assistance, they should certainly call us,” said Walters. “It’s most common for physicians to refer a patient when they feel they could benefit from hospice services. But it’s important for families to know they can also self-refer for hospice services.”
“It’s important for families to know that talking about hospice care does not mean giving up hope,” said Walters.
When should you start the hospice conversation?
Consider talking to your patients and their loved ones about hospice when:
· A loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness
· Repeated trips to the emergency room or hospitalizations are occurring
· A loved one’s condition has steadily or significantly declined
· A caregiver is discouraged, exhausted and could use support services
· A patient has requested no further curative treatment
· A physician suggests hospice care during a routine visit