It’s very difficult to gauge if someone is ready for hospice. There’s quantitative criteria that goes into if someone qualifies. This might help caregivers determine whether to seek a hospice evaluation.
- Your loved one has experienced a rapid medical decline despite medical treatment. This includes weight loss, mental status decline, as well as the inability to perform activities of daily living.
- Your loved one no longer wants to see aggressive treatment aimed at prolonging life.
- Your loved one has been told they have 6 months or less to live.
Of course, physicians and their care team will assist in these discussions. SHC offers skilled nurse and care professionals to evaluate your loved one to determine if an evaluation is warranted.
“Hospice can be a very scary word for some people, especially if you have ever had a family member or friend who did not have a good experience with hospice,” said Mikala Lodder, MSN, ACAGNP-BC, Vice President of Operations at Specialized Home Care and Hospice.
“It is often hard to know when someone is appropriate for hospice. I have heard hospice referred to as ‘giving up’, but I would have to disagree with this. To me, hospice is choosing to be comfortable when the doctors have found that someone has a life limiting illness.”
Hospice care can start at any time, typically after receiving a terminal illness diagnosis. Earlier is more beneficial, according to an article on Avera.org. That’s because the patient’s condition can be stabilized. Relationships/rapport between the patient and the hospice team can be established. In fact, a survey of hospice families revealed that many families wished they had started hospice care earlier, according to the Avera.org article.
How do you talk with family members about hospice?
This can be a difficult question to answer. Some talking points to consider when broaching the subject of hospice:
- Acknowledge and recognize the struggles of the patient lately.
- Dispel myths about hospice
- Share the family’s concerns and hopes with the patient