Hospice And Mental Health How Are They Related

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Mental health involves a person’s condition with regards to their thinking, behavior, and emotional well-being. Mental health shapes how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is very important at every stage of life, especially at an old age. Unknown to many, mental health care is integrated into hospice care. Decline mental health in the elderly could contribute to the need for hospice care. It could be partially caused by a condition like Alzheimer or the need for hospice care.

When people think of seniors’ hospice, they believe the center only cares for elders with physical ailments like brain injury, cancer, and complications from falls. Some seniors have mental issues together with these physical ailments. As such, adequate plans are set aside by many hospice centers to care for seniors who require mental health alongside their physical health. Mental care is also an integral part of the end-of-life plans of hospice centers. 

According to psychiatry online, psychiatric symptoms or mental issues may have adverse effects on physical health, quality of life, and the ability to respond to treatment. Therefore, it could deteroriate a hospice patient’s debilitating health condition. Also, psychiatric symptoms can interfere with one’s ability to make decisions, understand his or her situation, or even interact with caregivers appropriately.

Therefore, most hospice often makes provision for their patient’s mental health and physical illnesses. Psychiatrists, social work counselors, and psychologists visit hospice centers from time to time to support the hospice team in providing mental health services to help hospice patients cope better with end-of-life issues. They also support the medical team to come up with a mental health services plan that addresses the underlying problems with hospice patients.

Hospice patients could also suffer from different underlying mental issues. Some of these mental issues could be the cause of the declining health condition. Thus, adequate care needs to be taken to treat the mental problem.  Examples of the mental issues suffered by senior citizens include:

  1. Psychotic disorders: Schizophrenia and Hallucinations
  1. Anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorders, social anxiety, panic disorder and phobias
  1. Mood disorders: Depression, cyclothymic disorder, and bipolar disorders
  1. Personality disorders:  obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), paranoid personality disorders, and Antisocial personality disorders.
  1. Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorders
  1. Impulse control and addiction disorders: Gambling, alcohol and drug abuse. 

In conclusion, there is a nexus between hospice and mental health. If your elderly loved one who is a hospice patient suffers from any of the above mental illness, you must inform the hospice to provide care for that too. They should receive concurrent treatment for mental illness and hospice care.

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