Everyone wants to have a positive life experience, living independently and making their own decisions. As declines of aging or serious illness take a toll, LifePath and most hospice groups have services that help patients and families manage the challenges.
• If you or a loved one was seriously ill or in pain, do you know of helpful resources and services ? What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?
• Do you have a written plan stating what kind of health care treatments and support you would want (or not want) if you could not speak for yourself?
• Have you talked with family or physician about your wishes for medical treatment and end of life care?
Steps That Help Ensure Your Wishes Will Be Honored
• Learn about your options at each stage ( serious illness, end stage illness, terminal illness, vegetative state) and consider how you would like to manage conditions.
• Document your wishes. Complete Advance Directives and clarify the issues that are important to you ( tube feeding vs. withdrawal of nutrition/ hydration, ventilator assistance, comfort measures vs. continuing treatment, burial vs. cremation, etc.).
• Designate a Healthcare Surrogate to carry out your wishes. Tell your family and physician whom you have selected and what you specified to encourage their support.
• Learn about hospice and palliative care so that you can receive pain and symptom management while seeking a cure and when treatment is no longer beneficial.
Things You May Not Know About Hospice Services
Most of us know that hospice service provides pain and symptom management for
people who are no longer seeking a cure. But you may surprised by these facts:
– Patients frequently improve under hospice care and may be discharged because they no
longer meet Medicare criteria. When they decline again, they are easily readmitted.
– At the end of life, the patient may be more focused on spiritual needs while families are
concerned with medical interventions.
– Adult children especially have difficulty coming to terms with the realities of their parent’s
condition . Emotional and spiritual counseling are offered to any family member who needs
help in dealing with the circumstances. Social workers facilitate family meetings to gain
support for patient’s wishes.
– Hospice care is a choice; but the benefits are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and many
– Hospice provides respite care of up to five days so that a caregiver can take time off.
– Inpatient care at a Hospice House may be available for a period.
– Information visits with hospice representatives can answer family questions.
– If a physician has not made a hospice referral, a family or friend can request the service.
Remember, a referral is not an admission. It is simply a request to review a patient’s current