When to Call Hospice? May 12, 2017

When we visit health care professionals, it's typically in an effort to stay healthy and extend our lives. When it comes to hospice care, however, the goals aren't the same. Hospice care is intended for individuals who don't have long to live, and if you have a loved one in this situation, you may be trying to better understand this type of care and when it's time to call hospice.

What Is Hospice Care?

The U.S. National Library of Medicine succinctly defines hospice care as "end-of-life care." Hospice centers are staffed by a variety of professionals whose main job is to help a person remain comfortable during their final days. In addition to medical care, hospice care includes psychological and even spiritual care.

Hospice professionals also provide support to the family of a dying loved one. Every hospice care plan is different, but the main goal is to maintain a certain quality of life. You may be hesitant about placing a family member in hospice care, but in certain situations, it's the most merciful option available.

Illnesses that Lead to Hospice

Hospice is only meant for patients who are unlikely to recover with continued medical care. Because of this, any terminal illness or issue can result in a person needing hospice care. There are certain medical conditions, however, that lead to a disproportionate amount of hospice admissions. These are just a few:

  • Kidney disease

  • Heart failure

  • AIDS

  • Several forms of cancer

  • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome

This list is far from exhaustive, but if your loved one is facing any serious disease, you may need to make a decision on when it's time for hospice care.

The Right Time to Call Hospice

For a person to be eligible for hospice care, doctors must agree that the patient has six months or less to live. This doesn't mean you need to send your loved one to hospice right away. If your family is still aggressively seeking curative treatment, for instance, now isn't the right time.

If treatment is no longer an option for your loved one, though, you'll want to call a hospice care center as soon as possible. These centers are focused on helping patients maintain their dignity and remain comfortable during their last days. Because of this, seeking out hospice care as soon as a doctor provides the prognosis is typically the right move.

If you have questions about hospice care or believe it's time for a loved one to enter a community, contact Brookfield Senior Living today.