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When is the right time to call hospice care?

by Shannon Lee

Hospice care can help ease the end-of-life transition for your loved one. Many people wait to call hospice until the final days, but that might not be the best option.

Calling Hospice Care: When is the Right Time?

Making the decision to call hospice care for your loved one can be heartbreaking. But in giving your loved one the best end-of-life care possible, hospice is a very good choice. How do you know when it's time?

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is designed to provide medical care, comfort, and compassion during a person's last days. When all potential treatments have been exhausted and a person decides it is time to let nature take its course, hospice care provides pain management and emotional support. It also offers bereavement counseling for those who are left behind.

Why Hospice Care Matters

Hospice care vows to neither prolong nor hasten death. Hospice workers strive to provide the utmost dignity for a person while allowing death to occur naturally. Hospice support can ease the physical end-of-life transition, but it can also provide the immense relief that peace of mind can bring.

Hospice patients can know that their loved ones are not alone in their struggle to accept death and grieve the loss. That simple yet vital knowledge can make their last days much easier.

Is it Time to Call for Hospice Care?

Each person's final months and days are unique to that individual. Therefore, setting a certain time frame on how long hospice care will be needed can be a difficult decision. The best way to clarify the situation is to sit down with a hospice professional as soon as a terminal illness or serious medical situation is diagnosed, and discuss what to expect in the near future.

When a patient has decided to forgo any medical treatment or search for a cure, they are probably ready for hospice care. It is important to contact hospice before pain management becomes an issue. Most insurance companies pay for hospice care during the last six months of life. Some might find hospice useful for that entire period of time, while others might prefer to wait until they are closer to the end of their life.

Hospice is Not Just for Patients

Though hospice care focuses on making the last weeks and days comfortable for patients, it is also a great relief to their loved ones. End-of-life decisions are always hard, but hospice workers are trained to help family and friends let go in a peaceful, loving atmosphere.

Hospice support continues for surviving family members after a patient's death. Hospice care can include supportive discussions, visits, phone calls, and even provide help with funeral arrangements.

When It's Time...

Choosing hospice is a very personal decision. Keep the lines of communication open with your loved one, and when they mention it might be time to consider hospice, take them at their word and make the call--and then trust the highly trained and compassionate hospice workers to help you with whatever comes next.