All of us get concerned and worried when our loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness. As the disease progresses, we notice signs that specialized care, such as hospice or palliative care, may be needed. We hate to think our loved one is getting worse, so we may keep telling ourselves this is just a temporary setback and that our loved one will improve.
Many times, we don’t even want to consider these types of care unless a doctor tells us it is necessary. But in the era of COVID-19, people are seeing less of their doctors to avoid infection and doctors are seeing fewer patients to reduce the spread of the virus. So, waiting for your doctor to recommend care may deny both your loved one and your family the improved quality of life hospice and palliative care provide.
It’s important to know that anyone can refer someone for hospice or palliative care to improve quality of life for themselves or someone they know.
Palliative care is for people of any age and any stage of illness while curative treatment is ongoing and can begin at time of diagnosis. This type of specialized medical care helps control pain, manage symptoms, and reduce stresses while someone receives the treatment they need for their illness. It does its best work when added to the patient’s care plan as early in the disease process as possible.
Hospice care is for those living with a serious illness whose current prognosis indicates a life expectancy of six months or less. At its core is an interdisciplinary team who develop an individualized plan of care based on what is most important to the patient and their loved one. Getting assessed for care and starting hospice care early is important as studies prove that hospice care may also lengthen life expectancy. Unfortunately, most people wait until it is too late to reap many of the benefits hospice care offers.
Signs that may indicate it’s time to find out if hospice or palliative care may be appropriate for you or a loved one:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Spending more time confined to a bed or chair – decreased alertness and increased time sleeping
- More frequent falls
- Increased need for medication due to uncontrolled pain or symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulties performing the tasks of daily living: bathing, getting out of bed, getting dressed, walking, or preparing and eating meals
- Increased number of trips to the ER and multiple hospitalizations
If you are noticing these signs in yourself or a loved one, you should consider talking to one of our professionals by calling us at 800-733-1476. We can schedule an assessment to determine if either of these types of care could benefit you or your loved one.
Or, you can take our short quiz Which Care is Right. It can help you determine if hospice or palliative care may be appropriate for you or your loved one.
Don’t let the fear of COVID-19 keep you or a loved one from getting the care you need.
Even though there are legitimate concerns of infection during this pandemic, our team is experienced in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and goes through CDC-recommended screening procedures to reduce the chance of spread of the coronavirus. Care and support can be provided while precautions are taken to keep patients, family members and our team members as safe as possible.
If hospice care is indicated, we can provide the needed care and support in the patient’s home. Because of the virus, palliative care patients have the option of TeleCare, where virtual regular visits are used to manage pain and symptoms.
Another benefit of hospice and palliative care during the current pandemic is that they are proven to reduce hospitalizations and trips to the emergency room for symptom management. This keeps you or your loved one safe at home and helps to reduce the risk of infection.
Many families say they wish they had called hospice sooner. Don’t wait to get the care you or your loved one need.