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Making an Important Choice: A Complete Guide to End of Life Care Options

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About 90 percent of Americans say that it is important to discuss end-of-life care with their loved ones. No doubt that discussion involves the different end of life care options available for the people that need them. The main differences in the various care arrangements and end-of-life housing are the level of care each type of care provides.

When the time comes to decide where your loved one will live at the end of their life, you need to evaluate the situation they’re facing honestly. Since your loved one isn’t able to effectively handle some aspects of their daily life on their own, they’re better off getting a housing option that meets their needs. 

As soon as you and your loved one have figured out the best way for them to live, it’s time to assess the different housing options available. In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about the various care options available for your loved one. Read on to learn more.

End of Life Care Options to Choose From

As we mentioned earlier, the primary difference between the various care options is the amount of care they offer when it comes to medical care and basic daily activities. Some care options provide medical assistance day and night. Others focus on residents who are able-bodied and independent, so they provide minimal care like medication dispensing. 

In this section, we’ll discuss the five main types of end-of-life care.

1. Assisted Living

If your loved one can take care of themselves but occasionally need help, then assisted living may be a suitable housing option for them. 

In assisted living facilities, there are doctors and nurses round the clock in case there’s an emergency. There are also other staff members to assist with daily living activities like cooking, managing medications, cleaning, and so on. 

Assisted living facilities offer residents a considerable degree of independence. Your loved one will most likely be living in an apartment with a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Some facilities may also have shared bedrooms. 

To facilitate socializing, most assisted living homes have one or more common rooms, game rooms, gyms, and recreational facilities.

Some of the essential services that your loved one will get in an assisted living home include:

  • Meals
  • Transportation assistance
  • Housekeeping assistance
  • Assistance with dressing, grooming, bathing and visiting the bathroom
  • Help when it comes to managing medications
  • Staff round the clock
  • Topnotch facility security 
  • Emergency medical services 24/7

Besides these services, some facilities also provide

  • Physical therapy
  • Scheduled recreational activities
  • Medical specialists on-staff

2. In-Home Care

In-home care brings medical care to your home. Given that the vast majority of seniors prefer staying at home as they get older, this type of care is quite popular. 

If your loved one insists on spending their final days at home but needs someone to assist them with day-to-day activities like cleaning, cooking, managing medications, and so on, talk to them about in-home care.

To a large extent, in-home care is not medical. That’s why the people who provide assistance are usually certified nursing assistants or professional caregivers, not registered physicians or nurses. Many times, friends and family help out too.

If you and your loved one have decided in-home care is the best option, then you should start planning for some home modifications to make life easier for them. For instance, you may have to widen the doorways in case there’ll be need for a wheelchair. You may also need to install railings on stairways, a wheel chair lift, and ramps.

3. Nursing Home

In case your loved one needs significant medical care, you may want to consider a nursing home. These facilities are designed to offer near-constant assistance to the residents. Other than medical care, your loved one will also enjoy assistance when it comes to daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, walking, and so on.

Residents in a nursing home usually live in a shared bedroom or a bedroom that has a bathroom. Each room has an emergency call system. Other features in the facility include a common room, a library, recreational facilities, and so on.

When it comes to services, you can count on the nursing home to come up with a plan that’ll meet your loved one’s specific needs. 

4. Hospice Care

Hospice refers to end-of-life care whose focus is to provide comfort and dignity to a patient at the end of their life. There are certain signs that inform you that it’s time to consider hospice. As soon as you notice these signs, don’t hesitate.

The objectives of hospice end of life care are realized in a variety of ways, including:

  • The management of pain and symptoms
  • Care for the patient in their own home
  • Involving a network of caregivers to provide care

Hospice takes the members of the patient’s family into consideration, offering comforting psychological and emotional support before and after the death of the patient. 

In the hospice vs. nursing home discussion, it’s beneficial to note that patients receiving hospice usually have about six months to live. Nursing home residents, on the other hand, are relatively healthy and may go on to live for years.

5. Palliative Care

The goal of palliative care is to relieve stress, pain, and other symptoms of a life-threatening illness. The approach focuses on improving the quality of life of patients who are seriously ill or at the end-of-life. Palliative care is needed by approximately 40 million people each year. 

When it comes to the palliative care vs. hospice care debate, it’s essential to note that palliative care is available to any seriously ill patient, whether the illness is terminal or not. Patients receiving hospice care, on the other hand, are in their last months of life.

Choose the Best End-Of-Life Care for Your Loved One

There’s a variety of end of life care options for seniors and terminally ill individuals. The choice one makes largely depends on the amount of care they need, the resources at their disposal, and their individual preferences. 

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