Is Hospice Right for My Loved One?
Most people don’t like to think about having “the conversation” with their loved ones about hospice. In fact, it can even be uncomfortable for physicians to start a conversation about hospice with a patient’s family.
Just one conversation can really help save a loved one from suffering and provide much-needed support services and relief for caregivers, too.
When your healthcare provider recommends hospice, it’s important to remember:
- Talking about hospice care does not mean you're giving up hope
- It can be comforting to know there is a Registered Nurse available 24 hours a day to address pain and symptom issues or to make a nursing visit when needed
- Discussing hospice gives your loved one–and your family members–access to information and resources that are available to them
When should you start the “Hospice Conversation”?
A person should think about hospice long before he or she faces a medical crisis, however a number of events can trigger a conversation about hospice care.
Consider talking to your loved ones about hospice when:
- They have been diagnosed with a terminal illness
- Repeated trips to the emergency room or hospitalizations are occurring
- Their condition has steadily or significantly declined
- When they are discouraged, exhausted and could use support services
- If they have requested no further curative treatment
- When a physician suggests hospice care during a routine visit
How Will I Know My Loved One Needs Hospice?
If your loved one has a terminal illness and their goals include comfort and maximizing the quality of time they have left with loved ones, hospice care could be a great option. Hospice care may begin when your loved one’s doctor decides the patient’s life expectancy is six months or less. You can always ask your physician if hospice could be beneficial for your family.
Some of the most common illnesses that hospice care is beneficial for include:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Liver disease
- ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Are All Hospice Agencies the Same?
There are many hospice agencies you can choose from, and it can be difficult to know who you can trust. To help you decide which hospice agency is best for your family, consider asking each agency the following questions. Their answers will help you ensure you’re choosing a team of qualified healthcare professionals to oversee the safety and care of your family member.
1. How long has your hospice agency been in business?
If the agency has been in business for more than 30 years, like Archbold’s Hospice of Southwest Georgia, you can rest easy knowing you’re working with a reputable hospice agency.
2. What certifications/accreditations does the hospice agency have?
If the agency has certification from The Joint Commission, the National Association of Home Care and Hospice, or the National Board for Certification of Hospice & Palliative Nurses, you can feel confident that they met rigorous certification criteria based on the quality of care they provide.
3. What is the reputation of the hospice agency?
One of the best ways to validate the quality of care the agency provides is to ask others about their experience with the agency. You may also want to check online reviews. If a hospice agency has a great reputation around town, you can rest easy knowing that they will provide the same level of care to your loved one and your family.
4. Will the hospice agency be available when you need them most?
When you’re caring for a loved one at home, you need to know that your hospice team will be there when your loved one needs them most. Be sure to ask the agency for details regarding how they schedule visits. You’ll also want to ask about their availability after hours, on weekends, and on holidays. It’s critical that you know how and when your hospice team will respond should your loved one’s condition require attention outside of scheduled visit times.
You Can Choose the Hospice Agency to Care for Your Family
If you have an established relationship with a hospice provider, you may know right away which hospice agency you’d like to care for your loved one. If you’re not as familiar with hospice, you can always ask your physician or a social worker to recommend hospice options that could be a good fit for you.
It’s important to know that you have the right to choose the hospice agency that will care for your loved one. You can always ask your physician to refer your family to Archbold’s Hospice of Southwest Georgia.
We’re Here for Your Family. Contact Us Today!
We’re for you whenever you need us. Call us at (229) 584-5500.