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Continued: Understanding Hospice Care

Continued: Understanding Hospice Care

Continued: Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice care is a form of medical treatment that focuses on improving the quality of life for terminally ill patients as much as possible. In other words, rather than treating a condition, hospice care focuses on providing palliative, compassionate care and comfort to those nearing the end of their lives.

If you or a loved one requires end-of-life care, understanding hospice care can help you make the best decision.

How Do I Prepare My Home for Hospice?

Hospice tries to make patients as comfortable as possible by easing their pain and meeting their other physical needs.

Many people opt for hospice to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations or maintain their independence for as long as possible. Also, many individuals choose to spend their final days at home, surrounded by their family and friends.

There are some steps you must take to ensure safe and high-quality hospice care at home:

Inquire with your hospice care provider to verify that hospice matches your requirements.
Find a spot in your house for a patient and medical equipment (a hospital bed, a wheelchair, oxygen devices, etc.) to make the patient, caregiver, and hospice workers more comfortable.
Give the patient privacy by giving hospice care in a separate room or by putting up bed curtains.
Take measures to ensure safety at home, e.g., install nightlights in all rooms, remove tripping and slipping hazards such as stools, mats, and rugs.
Organize and manage the patient’s medications.

Also, if you are a caregiver, ask the hospice care team to assist you with respite care.

Respite care involves giving caregivers a short break while the person they are caring for is cared for by someone else.

For example, your terminally ill loved one may be able to stay at an approved hospice facility, allowing you to take a break and relax for an afternoon, a day, or a couple of days. Medicare will fund respite care for up to five days if you require respite care.

What Does Stage 1 Hospice Mean?

Stage one or level one hospice, as defined by Medicare, involves routine home care with a range of services provided at home, in a nursing facility, or any other place. Stage one hospice services usually involve the following:

Nursing care
Pain medications
Occupational therapy
Speech-language pathology services
Medical supplies and equipment
Social services
Nutrition counseling
Spiritual support

Routine home care aims to provide emotional support and care for the patient’s physical needs.

How Long Does the Average Person Live While in Hospice?

According to the National Institutes of Health, over 90% of people under hospice care die within six months of being enrolled.

Also, research shows that approximately half of the patients in hospice care die within the first three weeks.

According to the National Institutes of Health, how long a person under hospice care will live is determined by five major factors: age, gender, diagnosis, Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) score, and hospice care location.

  • Age. People in hospice younger than 65 are less likely to die within six months.
  • Gender. Males have a greater death rate within six months than females.
  • Diagnosis. Patients with cancer have a higher mortality rate than individuals with other diagnoses within the first six months after diagnosis.
  • PPS score. A higher PPS score indicates a greater likelihood of dying sooner.
  • Location. Individuals who are moved from a hospital to hospice have the highest chance of dying within six months, whereas patients admitted to hospice from nursing homes have the lowest chance.

Is Hospice the Last Step?

Hospice represents end-of-life care. As such, it is the last step of care, providing compassionate care for individuals in the last stages of a terminal illness. Although a team of hospice care professionals works together to treat the symptoms of the illness and provide the person with the opportunity to spend the final days with dignity, hospice care does not treat the illness itself.

When a Person Dies Can They Still Hear?

According to research, hearing is the last sense to fail throughout the dying process. Studies show that people who become irresponsive at the latest stages of life can still hear.

What to Do Immediately After Someone Dies?

Despite your grief, there are some things you must do immediately after the death of a loved one.

Each hospice patient is assigned a phone number that will be dialed upon the patient’s death. The hospice care personnel will arrive to confirm the death. You also need to contact a nearby funeral home to arrange for the body to be transported and make other final arrangements.

How Long After a Hospice Patient Dies?

About 90 percent of hospice care patients pass away within six months of entering hospice. While each person is unique, some common signs of approaching death may involve:

Deterioration of a person’s health
A loss of consciousness
Both vision and hearing deteriorate.
A person may be agitated and confused
They may stop taking food and liquids
Heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure gradually decrease
Breathing becomes irregular
The person may become irresponsive

What is the Last Sense You Have Before Death?

The activity level of a dying person decreases significantly as death approaches. Senses start to fade, and a person may become unresponsive. However, hearing is one of the last senses to fail before someone dies.

How Soon After Death Do You Go to Heaven?

According to the Bible, after you die, you go to Heaven immediately to await the resurrection on the last day, when you will live on the New Heavens and New Earth.

What Happens in the Final Moments Before Death?

The final moments of life are different experiences for every person. Still, in the final moments before death, a person may experience changes in breathing. Their breathing may become shallow, irregular, or noisy.

Also, your loved one’s energy may significantly decrease, and they may lose consciousness. They may also lose interest in eating and drinking, and their pain may become overwhelming. The person’s skin may become cold, blotchy, and purplish. As death approaches, the person may sleep longer and have difficulties waking up.

What Happens at The Moment of Death?

Many people lose consciousness in the days or hours leading to their death. However, each person’s death experience is unique. While some individuals grow upset, others remain calm. In addition, the eyes of a dying person may appear watery, glassy, and half-open. They may be delusional and have hallucinations in their dying moments.

They may have difficulties gasping for air or have instances when their breathing stops entirely. The heart eventually stops beating, and the individual stops breathing. Within a few moments, the brain stops working completely, and there is no breathing or heartbeat.

Where Do Bodies Go After Hospice?

When someone dies in hospice, the hospice nurse verifies the death, completes the appropriate legal papers to acquire a death certificate, and notifies the hospice’s medical director.

The mortuary arrives to pick up the body when the family is ready. For example, suppose a loved one dies in a hospital. In that case, their body will be kept at the hospital morgue until the family arranges to pick it up.

What are the Disadvantages of Hospice?

Some of the most apparent advantages of hospice care include avoiding needless hospitalizations and medical procedures, receiving comprehensive, compassionate care, and having access to care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Although hospice care generally aims to provide physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual comfort to terminally ill patients and their loved ones, this care might not be the right choice for some individuals and families.

Depending on your loved one’s specific needs, hospice care might have disadvantages you should consider when deciding.

Remember that hospitalization is discouraged after your loved one enters hospice care. They may still require medical attention to treat the symptoms of their illness, though. While Medicare covers inpatient therapy (short-term hospital stays for symptom management), there are no clear admission or coverage requirements for inpatient treatment.

In addition, one of the most significant drawbacks of hospice care is late referrals. Because hospice care is only available to the terminally ill, there is a prevalent misperception that signing up for hospice implies you will die immediately. As a result, many people avoid entering hospice until the very end.

On the other hand, hospice is meant for patients with up to six months to live and can considerably enhance their lives before it ends.

Also, under the Medicare hospice benefit, a hospice gets a set amount of money daily that must cover all medical costs. This could cause some diagnostic tests and procedures to be turned down.

Lastly, you or your terminally ill loved one might be unable to try new therapies. Because clinical trials and experimental treatments are thought to lengthen people’s lives, your loved one won’t be allowed to participate.

Why Do People Go Into Hospice?

When it is clear that curative therapy is no longer effective, some patients choose hospice care. You or a terminally ill loved one may also decide to stop curative treatments or avoid hospital stays and medical procedures that aren’t necessary.

Patients with a prognosis of six months to live or less due to the expected course of their illness are eligible for hospice care.

Therefore, you or your loved one need to talk to a physician about hospice care. Hospice care may be recommended when no further treatments are available to treat your disease.

When patients cannot decide for themselves, their loved ones or caregivers must decide if hospice care is appropriate.

What is the Burst of Energy Before Death Called?

The burst of energy before death is known as terminal lucidity.

Terminal lucidity refers to the rush of energy that occurs just before death. It is a burst of energy caused by a sudden hormone increase that temporarily raises heart rate and blood pressure, giving energy to the dying individual.

Terminal lucidity can occur days, hours, or minutes before death, often giving the families of the terminally ill the false hope that the person will get better.

How Do You Know When Someone Is Ready for Hospice?

Your loved one with a terminal illness may be ready for hospice care when:

Their health deteriorates.
Curative treatment is no longer giving results.
They wish to stop aggressive intervention.
They want to avoid hospitalization.
They become confused and unable to communicate.

What Do You Do If an Elderly Parent Dies at Home?

If your elderly parent dies at home, there are some things that you need to take care of immediately, despite your disbelief and sadness. The first thing you should do is contact the hospice’s on-call nurse. They will come to the residence to officially declare death and inform the hospice’s medical director.

After that, the family will have time to say their final goodbyes and make plans for the body to be taken to a funeral home.

What to Do When Your Husband Dies at Home?

No one can feel prepared for the death of their life partner. However, even though you may feel overwhelmed by grief and sadness, try to stay calm, as there are some things you have to do besides saying goodbye to your significant other.

First, you will need to contact the hospice nurse so they can come and officially confirm death. Then, you may want to call your children and other family members’ funeral homes and make final arrangements.

What Happens When Someone Passes Away in Their Sleep?

Call the on-call hospice nurse or hospice facility when a loved one receiving hospice care passes away in sleep.

If the person was not in hospice and there was no medical staff present, contact 911 to declare death formally. After that, contact your funeral home.

What is the Procedure when Someone Dies At home?

When someone dies at home, medical personnel such as an on-call hospice nurse, paramedic, or doctor must be called to confirm and declare death.