A couple of years ago we were told our elder only had two weeks to live and that we needed to get hospice right away. I followed instructions and received an education. We were lucky; our elder graduated off hospice and is still with us, but the help we received in that grim time opened our eyes to this service.
What is hospice? When the doctors say there is nothing they can do or a patient decides not to continue treatment for a deadly illness it is time for what is called “palliative care.” That means that the patient will be made comfortable but will not receive anything but the things that keep them that way.
What can they do? This is where hospice comes in. They are experts in this sort of medicine and can take care of the patient’s needs. Patients don’t go to medical appointments. Any medical needs go to the patient. The same goes for medications.
Palliative care also sees to hygiene issues such as bed baths and incontinence supplies. Twice a week a woman came to give our elder a sponge bath. A nurse visited once a month to check on her and see to her hospice near me medications.
They do more than that. They have spiritual counselors and social workers to help with the transition. Even those who do not have a religion may need someone to talk to at this point.
Hospice isn’t just for the patient, though that’s the focus. They are there for the family. The social worker sat down with me and talked about my feelings. When her sons were there they received the same help.
When to call them: A person can be on hospice for up to six months. If an illness is dragging on and slowly getting worse, talk to the doctor about this option. If the doctor agrees that the expected life span is in that range, the program will be authorized.
You may be in the same situation we were in. The incident was sudden and they didn’t believe she’d live more than two weeks, let alone six months.