When your parents or close relatives get older, the process of their ageing may be difficult to accept. The issue of proper care sometimes looks like a very hard decision to make, especially if your loved ones have some illness and require special care.
Hospice care provides support and comfort to patients with a life-ending illness and their families. Hospice care can occur at home, in a hospice facility, or the hospital. Hospices offer services ranging from nursing and mental health care to spiritual advising. Specific services are up to the recipient and their family.
MyLifeChoice hospice care in Chicago can provide you with all the necessary information and support.
How to choose the right hospice for your loved ones?
It may be up to you to recognize the signs of declining health and the need for a different type of care. If the patient is eligible, with the right choice of hospice, they can receive specialized care, medications, medical equipment and supplies.
Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:
- Evaluate your needs: Start by assessing the needs of your elderly parents. Consider their medical condition, emotional state, and any other relevant factors.
- Research hospice providers: Look for hospice providers in your area and research their reputation, experience, and level of care. Check their website and read their reviews on online platforms.
- Consider the type of care: Choose a hospice that offers the type of care that your elderly parents require. Some hospices offer in-home care, while others provide care in a specialized facility.
- Check the credentials: Make sure that the hospice you are considering is licensed and certified by the relevant authorities. Check if the hospice meets your state’s regulations.
- Assess staff credentials: Find out if the hospice employs experienced and qualified healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.
- Evaluate the level of care: Check if the hospice provides 24/7 access to medical care and support services. Look for a hospice that has a multidisciplinary team that can provide holistic care.
- Consider the cost: Check if the hospice is covered by your insurance or if you need to pay out of pocket. Find out what services are included in the hospice care package and if there are any additional costs.
- Visit the hospice: Schedule a visit to the hospice and meet with the staff. Observe the quality of care, the cleanliness of the facility, and the overall atmosphere.
- Consult your family and your elderly parents: Discuss your findings with your family and your elderly parents, and consider their preferences and wishes.
No perfect answer exists about which senior home care option is best for your situation. Depending on your parent’s specific needs, you probably have a couple of choices.
It’s important to note that hospice care is not just for the last days or weeks of life. Hospice care can provide support and comfort for an extended period and can help the elderly person and their family to navigate the challenges of advanced illness.
How to know it is time to look for hospice?
An elderly person should consider hospice care when they have a serious illness or medical condition that is advanced, progressive, and not responding to curative treatment. Hospice care is appropriate when the focus of treatment shifts from curing the disease to managing symptoms and improving quality of life.
Here are some signs that an elderly person may be appropriate for hospice care:
- A decline in physical function: The elderly person may be experiencing a decline in physical function, such as difficulty with mobility, self-care, or feeding. Your ageing parents or loved one may no longer be able to do personal care activities as they once had. Or perhaps they were once able to move about independently and now they are using a wheelchair or walker. If they’re not feeling well most of the time or they stopped doing things they used to do, these are signs they may benefit from hospice services.
- Frequent hospitalizations: If the elderly person is being admitted to the hospital frequently, it may be a sign that their condition is not responding to treatment.
- No treatment seems to work: if your parents are diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer, dementia, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, kidney failure or liver disease, and the prescribed medication is no longer helping, or the patient doesn’t want to keep up with medication, it would be best to use hospice care.
- Weight loss and decreased appetite: Unintentional weight loss and a decrease in appetite are common signs of advanced illness and improper work of the digestive system.
- Pain and symptom management: Uncontrolled pain can lead to other issues, including shortness of breath, restlessness and anxiety. It can also prolong the grieving process for loved ones. If you notice an increase in pain or other difficult symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, trouble swallowing or pressure ulcers that don’t improve with treatment, hospice care can help to improve their comfort.
- Communication difficulties: different symptoms like Decreased circulation, hearing and vision problems and other issues may affect your ageing parents’ speech and ability to follow conversations. Which then can lead to isolation from social activity and loved ones.
- You are stressed: if you are the only or a major caregiver to the sick parent, it is obvious that you’ll fill extra stress as your parent require more help. It is an act of love to admit you need caregiver support and use all the resources available to you to provide the best care for your parents.
Once your loved one starts hospice services, the care team will devise an individualized care plan for him or her, as well as for close family members and others who will be part of the journey.