What Is Hospice Care? Questions & Answers

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caregiver hand resting on hand of a seniorIf you’re caring for a sick family member and their doctor has mentioned hospice care as a possibility, you probably have a number of questions. Some of the most common questions are, “What exactly is hospice care? When is the right time?” We discussed palliative care in our previous article, but hospice care differs from palliative care in some important ways. Hospice is for patients whose condition has progressed to a point where a doctor believes the patient will probably die within the next six months. Both the doctor and patient have decided to move from active curative treatment to a focus on comfort and quality of life enhancement. Assisting Hands provides hospice support for loved ones in hospice care within Montgomery County, MD.

Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on managing the patient’s symptoms. This ensures that their last months or days are centered on dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. Hospice is also family-centered and provides a great deal of support for families both before and after the end of a loved one’s life.

Hospice care is provided wherever the patient lives whether it’s in their home, long-term care facility, assisted living or retirement community or hospital. Here’s a look at some of the support hospice care provides:

  • Palliative Care and Symptom Control: Palliative care can also be referred to as supportive care, symptom management or comfort care. The main goal is to help patients be as comfortable as possible while helping them enjoy the last stage of life. Discomfort, pain, nausea, and other issues are managed to make sure the patient feels as good as possible and alert enough to interact with family and friends.
  • Spiritual Care: Patients differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, so hospice spiritual care is set up to meet the specific needs of the individual.
  • Family Meetings: Regularly scheduled meetings keep family members updated about a patient’s condition and what to expect.
  • Coordination of Care: The hospice team coordinates and supervises all care 24/7 and ensures that everyone involved is sharing information.
  • Respite Care: For patients who are cared for at home, some hospice services offer respite care so family can take a break from caregiving to rest and recharge.
  • Bereavement Care: During the period after a loss, the hospice care team works with surviving loved ones to help them through the grieving process.

Research has shown that hospice can increase both the quality of life of a patient and how long they live. It’s also very beneficial for families, both in terms of support while a loved one is receiving care and help with bereavement after their death.

If your loved one is in hospice, Assisting Hands Home Care Potomac works with you to provide additional support for the family – in Bethesda and throughout Montgomery County. We can help with respite care – proving companionship, meal preparation, bathing, dressing and bathroom care. If you are interested in the support care provided by Assisting Hands when a loved one is in hospice, please contact us and let’s discuss your needs.

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