I Am A Patient

What does hospice mean for cancer patients

Cancer patients who receive Hospice care have a better mental outlook, get relief of symptoms, engage in better communication and may have a less stressful death. Hospice care improves patients quality of life.

Hospice is care for your physical, mental, and spiritual needs at the end of life. It does not treat the patients cancer, but it helps keep them free of pain and other symptoms. And it helps them and their families get the most out of the time they have left together.

Hospice care can be in patients homes, in a hospice (In Patient Unit), or at a hospital. Services include:

  • Doctor and nursing care
  • Pain management
  • Medical equipment and medicines to ease symptoms
  • Grief counseling for family and friends
  • Social worker services
  • Respite care, to give your caregivers a break

Medical Definition Of Hospice Care

  • Hospice care is the  Care designed to give supportive care to people in the final phase of a terminal illnesses and focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure.
  • The goal is to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain, so that they live each day as fully as possible.

Understanding The Dying Process

  • The dying process is often referred to as the terminal phase of illness. The body begins to shut down as major organ functions are progressively impaired. This is usually a gentle and undramatic series of physical changes which are not medical emergencies requiring invasive interventions.
  • Generally, as a person gets closer to death, the body begins to gently wind down. There is less circulation of blood and a noticeable slowing of breathing and brain function. It is natural to sleep for longer periods and to refuse food and fluids. This is part of the gradual shutting down of the body in readiness for death.
  • Some people may become restless or agitated. There may be pain, confusion or breathlessness. Palliative care treats these symptoms to make the dying person as comfortable as possible.
  • The presence of family and friends can be very comforting; hearing their voices and feeling their touch.
  • Every experience is unique. Palliative care can help to provide the best care so the person can die in comfort, dignity and with the support of family and friends.
  • Patients are admitted for 14 days maximum (For pain control and other symptom management)
  • The 14 days varies according to a patient’s condition, if symptoms are controlled in less than 14 days then the patient can be discharged back home and the home care nurses will continue nursing him/her at the comfort of their homes. If symptoms are still no controlled in 14 days, then the length of stay may be increased till the patient is comfortable.

The Importance of Hospice Care

  • Hospice care uses a team approach and provides physical, emotional, spiritual and practical support. It focuses on both the patient and the family. It makes sure that the patient’s goals for life and care are met

How To Talk To Your Parents About Hospice Care

  • Parents try their best to give their children the best life possible. From the moment their child is born, parents are prepared to do whatever they can to make sure their child is well cared for. Perhaps, that’s why it’s only a natural response for adult children to want to return the favor of loving care and provide support for their aging parents. However, when it comes to end of life care, discussing hospice care with your parents may seem overwhelming.

Guiding Steps To Follow:

  • Make Sure Everyone Is On The Same Page – Before you sit down with mom or dad, gather with your siblings to discuss your ideas. It’s important that you all share the united goal of recommending hospice care.
  • Make An Appointment With A Hospice Nurse – Sometimes the idea of hospice care can seem scary simply due to the patient of family member not having enough information about what hospice care really is. Making an appointment with a hospice nurse or hospice care provider is a great way to discuss your concerns. It gives you and your siblings a chance to talk to someone who is extremely experienced in all matters related to hospice care.
  • Don’t Forget To Listen – When you are able to find a peaceful moment to sit down with mom or dad to discuss hospice care, there’s a lot you’re going to want to say. Remember, it’s important to give your parent time to absorb all of the new information you share. Let them respond and ask questions. Acknowledge and empathize with any emotional response your parent has. Let them know their feelings are heard and understood.