What Is Hospice Care and When Is It Time to Consider Hospice?
Hospice care offers physical, mental, and emotional support services to a person who needs end of life care. When curative or medical care is no longer an option, hospice care allows a person to move through their end of life stages in peace, comfort, and safety.
Making the decision to find hospice care services for a loved one is emotional, difficult, and challenging. Most families choose between in-home hospice care services and assisted living hospice care facilities.
The choice you make depends on your loved one’s wishes, their health and prognosis, your budget, and your needs and goals. Let’s take a closer look at what hospice care is and when it is time to consider hospice care for a loved one.
What Is In-Home Hospice Care?
Home hospice care is end of life care that occurs in the comfort of the patient’s own home rather than in a hospice facility or assisted living facility. An in-home hospice care agency offers different levels of care depending on the family and patient’s needs, goals, and budget.
If you choose home hospice care for your loved one, they will get daily visits from a hospice team consisting of nurses, medical assistants, doctors, and other medical professionals. Some people choose 24/7 or around the clock hospice care.
That requires care from a live-in specialist or a team that rotates shifts so someone is always present with your loved one. In-home caregivers can also supplement hospice care by providing family support, assistance with housework and meal preparation, socialization and companionship, and more.
What Services Are Provided With Home Hospice Care?
Hospice care offers four different levels of services depending on your loved one’s needs:
- Routine Care – Routine hospice care is the most common type of home hospice care. It is recommended for patients who don’t need around the clock care. The patient might be stable and able to handle their own symptoms and care, or they might have family caregivers who offer assistance. Home hospice care is an alternative to entering into a facility.
- Continuous Care – Continuous care is necessary for patients who cannot manage any of their own medical or personal tasks. A home hospice aide or nurse can provide daily, recurring, occasional, or around the clock care. Consider continuous care if your loved one has a very short time left to live, if they have acute health issues that require constant monitoring, or if they can’t control their pain, symptoms, or care. Continuous care can also be administered in a facility.
- Inpatient Care – Inpatient care takes place in a facility like a hospital or nursing home. The goal is to control pain and manage symptoms when they can’t be managed at home.
- Respite Care – Respite care is occasional home hospice care or support that allows the primary caregiver to take a break. Respite care is important to allow primary caregivers to practice self-care, take care of important personal tasks, and maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health. Respite care can be for a matter of hours or days.
What Are the Benefits of Home Hospice Care?
Home hospice care allows your loved one the comfort and dignity of spending the last stage of their life in their own home rather than in a facility. The biggest benefits of home hospice care are:
- Allows your loved one to remain at home
- Maintains your loved one’s comfort and safety and manage their pain and other symptoms
- Provides professional care and intervention
- Reduces the risk of accidents or lapses in care
- Relieves the burden from your loved one and family caregivers
- Offers more time between your loved one and family members
- Ensures professional care is provided in a safe, timely, and compassionate manner
What Are the Signs Your Loved One Needs Hospice Care?
It is very hard to come to the realization that your loved one needs hospice care. Many patients and family members ignore the signs because they aren’t ready to face the truth of the situation.
However, remaining in denial can compromise your loved one’s health, comfort, and safety, so it’s important to be able to recognize the signs your loved one needs hospice care:
- Increased frequency of symptoms or complaints
- Worsening symptoms
- Change in outlook or prognosis
- Professional recommendation from a medical specialist based on symptoms, prognosis, and quality of life
- An accident or injury has worsened the outlook
- Frequent falls or mobility issues
- Increased need for medication
- Difficulty breathing
- Frequent cognition or memory issues
- Decreased capacity for conversation
- Confused or disoriented frequently
- Confinement to bed
- Inability to perform the tasks of daily living like bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, personal hygiene, toileting, and medication management
- Frequent trips to the hospital
- Curative treatment is no longer working
- Your loved one doesn’t want to be in a hospital and doesn’t want aggressive intervention
- Symptoms are getting harder to manage
- Inability to communicate or lapses in communication
- Sleeping almost all the time
- Multiple infections or complications
What Are the Goals of Hospice Care?
The goals of hospice care are to provide comfort and palliative care and improve the quality of life of someone who has a serious illness and is nearing the end of their life. A hospice caregiver:
- Relieves pain and suffering for the terminally ill
- Facilitates a ‘good death’
- Assists the family
- Provides guidance or referrals to support groups, spiritual leaders, and other professionals
What Is Assisted Living Hospice Care?
If your loved one can’t receive proper hospice care at home, they may need assisted living hospice care. Assisted living hospice care takes place in a facility rather than at home.
Hospice caregivers, medical professionals, and assisted living staff work together to provide end of life care in a safe, comfortable environment. These facilities offer pain relief, symptom management, medication management, mobility assistance, medical services, spiritual and emotional support, and family support and education.
How to Choose Between In-Home and Assisted Living Hospice Care
If your loved one would prefer to receive care and support in the comfort of their own home and you can afford to provide those services, they are often preferable to transitioning into an assisted living facility for hospice care. Moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility during end of life stages can be traumatic, uncomfortable, and upsetting.
If you are able to commit to home hospice care, your loved one may be better served by spending the end of their life in the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately, some circumstances make it impossible for someone to receive the quality and extent of care they need in their own home. Consider assisted living hospice care if:
- Your home or your loved one’s home is not safe or equipped to handle home hospice care
- You don’t have the time, resources, or support to provide in-home care
- Your loved one has expressed the desire to receive hospice care in a facility
- Your loved one’s health has declined rapidly and they need constant, around the clock care and support
- Your loved one needs palliative care or medical equipment that cannot be provided in your home
- Your loved one needs to visit the hospital frequently
Learn More About In-Home Hospice Care in Southern Arizona
If your loved one is nearing the end of life and needs specialized care, you may benefit from in-home hospice care services. At Placita In Home Care, we offer compassionate, skilled in-home hospice care in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas. We have a staff of highly skilled, trained, and experienced caregivers who are committed to providing compassionate care with respect and dignity.
We will honor your family’s wishes and customs and treat your loved one as if they were our own. Our hospice care services prioritize the wishes of the family and individual and we carefully follow your home care plan.
Our goal is to improve quality of life and relieve pain and other symptoms. We specialize in palliative care, assistance with daily living tasks, medication management, and socialization and companionship. We also offer family support and referrals to support services and assisted living hospice care placement.
To schedule a consultation for in-home care in the Tucson or Phoenix metro area, call us today or fill out our contact form online.