What is Hospice?

Do you know what hospice is and why you might want to use it for a loved one or family member?

Do you know how hospice services are provided or what it means to get this service?

Do you know who pays for hospice care?

Should you care?

I will use this space to try to answer these questions. This is a problem that will likely crop up in everyone’s life if you are lucky enough to live that long hospice care in houston. Baby Boomers are now approaching their sixties and beyond. If you are lucky enough to have your parents around, enjoy them because they won’t be here forever. The reality of life, the natural course of events, the way natures evolve species, you choose. We all die. How we handle it is the issue of palliative care. We are everywhere preparing for childbirth and helping a woman bring new life into the world. Entire industries are dedicated to it. Shouldn’t we put at least a little effort at the other end of this natural cycle?

Hospice, as used here, means home for the terminally ill. It comes from the Latin “hospitum” which means guest house, hospitality. It means that it denotes making one feel comfortable. It is simply easing any of our lives into the unknown and easing our families and loved ones during this transition.

The death of a family member is traumatic for everyone. This is true even when passing is expected. Hospice staff help mitigate this trauma and make the event bearable for everyone involved. To accomplish this, they utilize nurses, medical social workers, clergy, and volunteers who work together to care for the needs of the patient and family.

It starts with the patients’ doctor. If a patient suffers from a progressive and incurable condition, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, etc., death can be predicted with some certainty. At some point in the progression, a decision will need to be made about whether to continue trying to cure the disease or to let nature take its course. If you decide to let the process move forward, hospice is an option. The physician will generally recommend an agency that provides hospice services to the patient and will contact the agency to refer the patient.

Hospice services can be administered in a specialty facility, a long-term care facility, or in the patient’s home. The decision will really rest with the family and the patient. If the patient still lives in her home, then there is no reason to transfer him to a specialized center. Patients are comfortable, the family is comfortable, and everyone can spend their remaining time together. Nursing services can easily be provided at home, along with any specialized equipment that may be needed (ie, hospital bed, oxygen, etc.).

Hospice nurses provide palliative care. Palliative care simply means providing relief without healing. We have all been treated with palliative care before. When we take an aspirin for a headache, we are treating a symptom. Well, we are doing the same with a hospice patient. There are all kinds of wonderful pain relievers available for terminally ill patients. Most people can now be pain free due to illness with proper medication. However, it is important to remember that hospice medication is for comfort only, not for treatment. Don’t forget that at this point we are letting nature take over.

In fact, some patients’ conditions improve with palliative care. Approximately 13% of patients nationwide improve enough in palliative care that they are discharged from palliative care. Yes, hospice is revocable. It is not a death sentence or a sign of giving in to the inevitable hospice in houston texas. It is an acceptance of the fact that all living things die. We simply cannot predict with certainty when that might happen.

Hospice is a paid benefit of Medicare and many private insurance companies. Check with your provider to see if your policy includes a hospice benefit.

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