(BPT) - Life is about living each moment to the fullest. A father's wedding dance with his daughter, a veteran's visit to the World War II Memorial and the opportunity to bring a newborn grandchild home ... these are only some of the moments made possible thanks to hospice care.
Many people are confused about what hospice really means. They think hospice patients are simply lying in bed, waiting for the end to come. However, the goal of hospice care is to help patients enjoy the remaining moments of their lives to their fullest in a way that values comfort, peace and quality of life.
Hospice is a team-oriented approach to providing specialized care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury. It includes expert medical care, pain management and emotional support. A hospice team creates a care plan tailored to the individual needs of each patient and family. In fact, most hospices provide training so that a close family member can become the primary caregiver, often in the patient's own home, allowing the patient to be continually surrounded by loved ones - an invaluable experience that may not be possible in a hospital ICU setting.
Choosing a quality hospice for you or a loved one is not difficult. Families of end-of-life patients should never hesitate to reach out to local hospices or their healthcare providers when it comes to selecting the right hospice. These professionals can identify what services are best for the patient and assist families in making this important decision, especially during such a difficult time. It is important to learn about the services that each hospice provides in order to find the best care for the unique needs of each patient.
Here are some questions you can ask to help identify what hospice is right for you:
* Does the hospice conduct a family evaluation survey?
* Does the hospice own or operate a care facility to provide home-like care in a hospice residence, hospital or nursing home?
* Will staff come to the home if there is a crisis at any time of the day or night or weekends? Who is available to make the home visit?
* Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?
* Are the clinical staff (physicians, nurses, social workers) certified or credentialed in hospice and palliative care?
* How quickly can intake/admissions staff come to begin the admissions process?
* What 'extra' services does the hospice offer?
It is extremely hard to accept and talk about death, but the structure of hospice makes it easier. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing, and emphasizes the quality of one's final moments and memories. Whether it's one more trip, one more dance or one more laugh, hospice makes it possible to enjoy one's life until the very end. Quite simply, hospice is more about life than death.
It's never too soon to explore your end-of-life options. For more questions to help you select the right hospice, visit momentsoflife.org/choosing-hospice. To find a hospice or learn more about hospices in your area, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Find a Provider tool at momentsoflife.org/find-hospice. If hospice has helped your family to enjoy more 'Moments of Life,' share your story at momentsoflife.org/forms/share-your-story.