a senior woman being hugged from behind by her adult daughter
a senior woman being hugged from behind by her adult daughter

How to Know When It Is Time for Hospice Care

Transitioning a loved one into Hospice Care is never an easy decision. In fact, it often comes with more questions than answers. What is Hospice Care? When is it time for Hospice? How can you be sure it’s the right time to make the move? What does Hospice do?

Finding Hospice Care you feel comfortable with may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but knowing the right time to start your search is a vital first step.

The timeline for considering Hospice Care typically begins during the final six months of life. Your loved one’s physician or other key caregivers can advise you when you’re approaching that period. Whether you find yourself within that window of time or not, understanding what will happen to your parent in Hospice can help lessen the stress that comes during this difficult season of life. Sometimes, simply beginning the conversation is the first step to making everyone involved feel more comfortable. That’s why it’s often best to make plans when your loved one is still able to participate in the decision-making process.

What Is Hospice Care?

A quick definition: Hospice Care is provided to patients typically suffering from a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less. Rather than seeking a cure, Hospice Care strives to make each remaining day as meaningful and comfortable as possible. This could mean pain relief, nursing care, emotional support and help with simple daily tasks. This perspective on end-of-life care also takes into account the needs of family, friends and caregivers. Everyone is involved in this difficult journey, and all can benefit from compassionate professional support.

Hospice can be referred by you, a medical professional, a clergy member, or anyone who feels your loved one has reached the final months of life and will benefit from Hospice services.

When Is It Time for Hospice?

Hospice Care is often the best choice to ease symptomatic suffering after medical cures have been exhausted. Often, symptoms include shortness of breath, acute pain, or cessation of fluid and food intake. Hospice service, which includes palliative care, strives to make this time easier and more peaceful for your loved one and those close to them. It not only provides physical relief to your loved one, but it can be a blessing to transfer care to a professional team so you can focus on being a spouse, child, friend or other special person to your loved one.

Your Hospice Care team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, chaplains, home health aides, and any other volunteers who wish to make life more manageable for you and your loved one. Many Hospice providers also offer counseling and may even help with practical matters like cleaning and shopping.

If you and your care team feel like your loved one is ready for Hospice, begin exploring local Hospice options. There are many, and they’re ready to provide the services you need. Connect with staff members, talk with families of patients, and most of all, stay involved. The most important thing is ensuring your loved one is cared for and comfortable.

At a community like McLean, our health services include Hospice Care, administered by a compassionate and experienced staff. To learn more about Hospice Care at McLean, give us a call at 860-658-3950. We’ll be happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have.