Many people may be surprised that the modern hospice movement is just over 50 years old. Certainly, people have been dying with dignity for thousands of years, but increasing interest in palliative care has provided new options and more modern practices for residents of Mount Vernon and elsewhere.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice is always eager to educate families on the options available for people in all sorts of medical situations, including those who may have a terminal condition and want to know more about local hospice options.
Hospice creates opportunities for people to receive end-of-life care in a more peaceful environment than in a hospital. If a client is eligible for home health care and hospice care, they can also receive palliative care in their own environment, surrounded by familiar surroundings and people they love.
This approach has been promoted since the mid-1960s when experts in death and dying began suggesting the medical industry begin treating the process of death a little differently. This includes placing more of a focus on quality of life, less medical intervention, and better surroundings. This approach can create more tranquil conditions as opposed to having to relocate somewhere else to receive care.
It also led to advances in palliative care, a medical philosophy that hospice care is part of. It places less emphasis on healing and more on dignity.
During the hospice period, clients can receive visits from not just nurses but physical therapists, massage therapists, and occupational therapists if any of these services are needed or requested. Hospice providers can even provide social services, including assistance in end-of-life planning like arranging a funeral, financial details, or letting family members know about grief support options in their area.
Some clients may be fine with having caregivers visit a few days a week, others might want someone there more often, even around the clock.
All of these little details can combine to create an environment that’s comforting and dedicated to helping a client’s quality of life. In comparison, hospitals can be noisy, uncomfortable, and difficult to find tranquility. Or assisted living centers may be unfamiliar territory too and require relocating away from you and your families, neither of which may be appealing if given the choice.
So the home care option can present a lot of appealing aspects to family members and to clients themselves.
For those who want to know more, this month is National Home Care and Hospice Month. It’s an opportunity to learn more about some of the options available as a client, and a chance for those in the medical field to let consumers know about the value of these types of programs.
Why hospice is important
- Peace of mind. As mentioned, some hospice programs allow clients to stay home, which can be appealing in a lot of ways. This type of atmosphere can be soothing. They don’t have to move temporarily or permanently. They can be around familiar surroundings, such as family photos and their own bed and furniture.
- Fewer restrictions. When a client enters hospice, their medical focus changes from “let’s try to heal you” to “let’s try to manage your pain.” Health care providers may ease up on rules for what to do and not do, such as taking certain medications or eating certain foods. A provider may even be able to provide pain medication that may not have been available prior to entering hospice.
- Opportunities for independence. Clients receiving hospice care can live as independently as possible, which can also be encouraging for their well-being. This means cooking, cleaning, errands, hobbies, and normal activities that may not be available or easy to do in a different environment (playing music loud, pets, etc.) A caregiver might be needed for some tasks such as bathing, but being at home still provides some freedom.
- More room for friends/family. Hospitals or assisted living centers likely have restrictions on the number of visitors at any time. This could be due to health rules, space concerns, or noise levels. If someone is home and receiving hospice care, there’s potentially no limit on how many people can visit, when they can come by or how long they can stay. Of course, caregivers can and should try and make sure things aren’t overwhelming or suggest more optimal times for guests. But generally, this can be flexible.
- More opportunity for interaction. While a home health representative can come, do their job, and leave, few of them are like this. More likely, they’ll take a little time to get to know the client. They also can give him or her all their attention during the visit. Home health care staff are generally kind, compassionate, and eager to brighten people’s spirits by their visit. This also can extend to family members too, who may enjoy getting to know the people providing care.