Early Hospice Care and Naming a Healthcare Proxy Benefit the Patient and Their Loved Ones.

January 21, 2020

Hospice is a comprehensive approach to provide meaningful and effective support to ease pain and embrace life. This program focuses on comfort and quality of life, and also offers assistance to loved ones during a very challenging time. Starting hospice is a difficult decision to make, but it should be done early, so the patient can experience the program as it was intended – holistically.

While Hospice care is considered end-of-life care, patients can actually be eligible for benefits if they have a life expectancy of 6 months or less. In fact, studies show that patients benefit most from being in hospice for more than 60 days.

Advantages of Hospice Care:

  • The patient is a central part of the decision-making process. Advanced directives can be created if needed, and caregivers know the patients’ wishes before they are in a crisis situation.
  • It aides with closure. Loved ones and patients are both provided emotional and spiritual services during the illness and throughout the bereavement process.
  • Hospitalizations are reduced or eliminated.
  • In many circumstances, patients may live longer and have a better quality of life under hospice compared to utilizing standard care.

Having an Advocate

Hospice will provide healthcare, but patients also need advocates along the way. According to a study from the Journal of American Medicine, half of the people over age 65 admitted to the hospital are unable to make decisions for themselves. Designating a Healthcare Proxy is critical as we age. A proxy is able to communicate the patient’s wishes and make healthcare decisions when they are unable to. They can be a spouse, family member, or friend. Most importantly, they should know and be able to carry out the patient’s end of life medical wishes on their behalf.

Ideally, it’s best to name a Healthcare Proxy before becoming ill, but many find starting this conversation uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be. Think of it this way; having an advocate that shares the patients’ values can make tough medical decisions easier for everyone. Many are relieved to have the discussion knowing all involved will be prepared and ready to make the right decisions when needed. Don’t delay this critical conversation any longer.

If you or your loved one is facing a life-limiting illness, give yourself some peace of mind. Expand your support system to include a knowledgeable, high-quality hospice team to help early on, and be sure to name a Healthcare Proxy you trust.

For more information on McLean Hospice, please call 860-658-3954 or visit the Hospice page on our website.

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