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Choosing hospice care for a loved one can be a difficult decision, but depending on your situation, it may be the best choice for everyone. Whether you’re the sole provider for a dying loved one or you have an entire family backing you during the process, it can still feel lonely and confusing without a professional to help along the way.
If you’re considering hospice care for someone you love, or are looking into it for yourself, here are some signs to look for as you make this difficult decision.
If you find yourself visiting the doctor or the emergency room more and more often, it’s clear you need a professional working with you on a regular basis to assist in the care of you or your loved one. With hospice care, a nurse will be on call 24/7 to attend to any emergencies that come up, and can handle any medical needs that arise, day or night. This support is crucial during this strenuous time.
Whether it be mental or physical, declining faculties are a sign that hospice care may be the best decision for everyone involved in the care of a loved one. If daily tasks become more and more arduous, having a nurse available to help can lift a major burden off family members. Individuals suffering from mental decline can also become difficult to care for, particularly for those who aren’t trained to deal with the variety of ailments that may lead someone to look into hospice. A hospice nurse knows exactly the right ways to cope with a confused elder who becomes frustrated as they attempt to grasp at memories or ideas that were once second nature. This time can be extremely trying for loved ones who want to say and do the right thing, but the burden doesn’t have to be solely on you.
Most often, the need for hospice care is determined by how long your doctor says you have to live. When options have been exhausted and further treatment is off the table, a hospice nurse can help you or your loved one enjoy what time is left by providing the best palliative care they know how. While hospice care does not necessarily signify end of life, it can be just the thing needed to get to a place of recovery, especially since it removes so much weight off of the person under hospice care.
If you or your loved one is in extreme pain all the time, it may be difficult to maintain quality of life. A trained hospice nurse can help manage pain with more extreme measures and provide a comfortable at-home experience. Hospice can also be received in a facility such as a nursing home, which can be especially helpful for those who have trouble navigating their home due to pain, such as climbing the stairs to the bedroom.