Hospice care is a special type of holistic health care that mainly focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient’s pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs.
Hospice care is used when a disease, such as advanced cancer gets to the point when treatment can no longer cure or control it. In general, hospice care should be used in case when a person is expected to live about 6 months or less if the illness runs its usual course, frequent hospitalization in the past six months, progressive weight loss, increasing fatigue, weakness, and somnolence, change in cognitive and functional abilities, comorbidities, end-stage organ failure patients, deteriorating mental abilities and compromised activities of daily living.
A person of any age is eligible for hospice care after being certified by a physician as having a life expectancy that maybe six months or less, depending on the course of their disease.
Another requirement for hospice eligibility criteria is that patients who choose hospice care route must forgo any curative treatment, either because they no longer wish to receive it or because it is no longer effective.
Most hospice care is not started soon enough. Sometimes the doctor, patient or family member will resist hospice care because they think that it means “giving up” or that there’s no hope. But, in reality, hospice care brings hope of a quality life, making the best of each day during the last stages of terminal illness instead of being glued to a hospital bed or a nursing home.
Hospice endeavors to make the transition from life to death as comfortable and as easy as possible. Individual care plans are developed to ease both physical and emotional pain and meet spiritual needs if desired. This can help the patient and family to put their lives in order and make this last stage of life intimate and meaningful. This type of care enables families to navigate the end of life together in a setting that is most comfortable for them. An interdisciplinary care team is assigned to each hospice patient, which may include a physician, a nurse, pharmacist, social worker, chaplain, therapist, volunteers or who and whatever they require. Each team member is entirely focused on the person and not on their illness. Their goal is to make sure that patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met.
Most patients have multiple conditions which could potentially be hospice-appropriate diagnoses. there are several layers of thought which need to be addressed before establishing current status and maintaining status on hospice services. Some diagnosis is chronic and stable without a meaningful impact on terminal prognosis. Some treatments for chronic conditions may cause more harm than good during the terminal stage of life. Alternatively, therapies might fall into the non-palliative category or be futile given the stage of the disease. For each patient, there must be a complete evaluation of their conditions, including hospice-appropriate diagnoses and treatment plans.
According to research and data collected over the years, it is proved hospice does improve the quality of life in patients.