During the often difficult last stages of a serious illness, many people feel that they have lost control over their lives and what will happen to them. They may experience unresolved pain, difficulty in talking to family and friends about their fears and feelings, and unfinished business, to mention a few. Yet, if you were to ask people how they would like to have their end of life be, most respond that they don’t want to have pain, 70% state they would like to be at home surrounded by those they love, and 60% say they do not want to be a burden to their loved ones.
So how can we achieve the latter? Hospice is an answer. Hospice care can show you your options and in doing so it can give you back some control. It allows you make decisions about things that are important to you. Hospice is simply a type of care that focuses on the quality of your life instead of treatment to prolong your life. This includes addressing the physical and emotional quality of life – the individual as a whole.
By looking at what hospice provides, you can see where choosing hospice can make that quality of life better. Hospice allows you to stay at home; wherever it is you call home (e.g., assisted living facility, nursing home, your own home) and provides:
- Medical care with a focus on pain and symptom control
- Access to a member of your hospice team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Medical supplies and equipment associated with the terminal illness and that provide comfort and safety
- Counseling and social support to help you and your family with psychological, emotional, and spiritual issues
- A break (respite care) for caregivers, family and others who regularly care for you
- Volunteer support
- Counseling and support after the death
Encompassing all of the above and taking into account your wishes can give you back some of that control and quality of life. Be an advocate for yourself. You have the right to have overall comfort until the end and hospice can help you do that.