Hospice care focuses on pain and symptom management, including anxiety and depression, to improve quality of life for the whole family. Kelly Erola, chief medical officer, explains the benefits of hospice care for those living with a life-limiting illness and the importance of getting care early.
The truth about hospice is that we are here to help patients live as well as possible for as long as possible. We are not here to hasten death. We can’t change the fact that the patient is dying. It’s the disease that’s causing it, but there’s no reason for anyone to suffer. And that’s what patients tell us.
People are most concerned about suffering at end of life. They know they’re going to die, but they don’t want to suffer, and that’s why medications and support are there to ensure that the patient’s pain and symptoms are managed at end of life. Hospice care is designed to provide the support and care in the last six months (or more) of a patient’s terminal illness. Hospice improves quality of life.
Patients Live Longer in Hospice
Studies have actually shown that patients benefit from hospice support and actually do live longer, and that’s because they get pain and symptom management. This includes management for the physical symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
In addition, hospice also provides:
- Emotional support
- Spiritual support
- Support for their family
There’s also education, so the patient and family understand what is happening and know what to expect as the illness progresses. With improved symptoms, patients actually live longer.
Hospice provides extra support such as respite care and volunteer services that can give some relief to the family, so that they are better able to take care of the patient.
Hospice is Not Just for the Last Days of Life
Because patients are often referred to us too late, many people think hospice care is just for the last days of life. And that if you sign up for hospice it means you’re dying and that it’s going to happen in a few days.
Hospice care is there to benefit the patient and family. It gives them a dedicated care team consisting of a physician, nurse, aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer. The focus is on caring for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The team also provides education and support for the family. Assistance is available 24/7 – nights, weekends, and holidays.
The eligibility for hospice is determined by the patient’s physician and the hospice physician. If you’d like any more information, all you have to do is to call Lower Cape Fear LifeCare. We can answer any questions you have to get you the care and support you and your loved ones need.