Most older adults report that they’d prefer to die peacefully at home rather than in a hospital or other facility. Hospice care honors this preference by helping people make the most of the time they have left, in the comfort of their own home. Here are some of the benefits of hospice care:
1. Comfort and Quality of Life
Rather than aggressively treating a terminal illness, hospice care focuses on keeping patients comfortable and maintaining or improving their quality of life. Hospice care includes medications to relieve physical pain and symptoms. It also offers other forms of comfort such as companionship, spiritual counseling and providing thoughtful caretaking.
2. Potential for Longer Life
Sometimes, with the extra care and other benefits of hospice care, patients’ quality of life can improve. In fact, research shows patients on hospice can live longer than patients who do not receive hospice care.
3. Respect for the Patient’s Goals
It’s important for older adults to know that their end-of-life wishes will be honored. Whether their goal is to spend time with loved ones, wrap up unfinished business or have quiet moments alone, their hospice care plan is built around what matters most to them.
4. Support for Loved Ones
The benefits of hospice care extend to family members and caregivers as well. Hospice provides education, guidance and a listening ear to help loved ones with the difficult work of caregiving. Volunteers may lend a hand so the caregiver can focus on caregiving. Hospice aides help with bathing, dressing and other everyday tasks. Respite care may also be available to give caregivers some time off while their loved one is cared for in a hospital or skilled nursing facility for up to five days. Hospice also provides bereavement support to help loved ones work through grief and other feelings.
5. 24/7 Accessibility
Family caregivers and patients have peace of mind, knowing they can call hospice care team members 24 hours a day. If needed, a nurse can visit any time during the day or night, including on weekends and holidays.
Hospice costs are typically 100% covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. This includes medications, equipment and supplies related to the terminal illness.
7. Prevents Avoidable Hospital Visits
In some cases, trips to the hospital can be avoided with high-quality, coordinated hospice care. Patients who have a team of professionals they can call with questions and who are stabilized at home may have less need to visit the emergency room or hospital.
8. Safety of Home
Hospice care can be provided wherever the patient calls home, including a private residence, assisted living and other settings. The hospice care team helps the patient and caregiver create a safe and comfortable environment.
9. Team Approach
Hospice care is provided by a specially trained team of caring hospice professionals. The interdisciplinary hospice care team includes nurses, hospice aides, social workers, spiritual counselors, volunteers and bereavement counselors, who work together to address all aspects of a patient’s illness.
10. Emotional and Spiritual Support
Physical well-being is only one part of hospice care. Terminally ill patients and their caregivers also have emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice care helps meet these needs through counseling and spiritual support. Spiritual counselors can talk with patients about their faith and help them find meaning and peace in a way that resonates with the patient’s beliefs and values.
The sooner hospice care starts, the more the patient and family benefit. Learn more about the benefits of hospice care at Amedisys.