When Does Hospice Come in?
In preparing for your end of life journey, many people wonder when to consider inviting hospice care for yourself or a loved one.
Hospice provides medical and emotional support to the patient and your family. Physicians, nurses chaplains, and volunteers are trained in caring for people at the end of life. They can relieve pain, reassure you in the face of fear and confusion, and help to explain what to expect when you weren’t expecting to die. One of the guiding principles of hospice is to help you live as fully as possible until you die.
The decision to enter or accept hospice services is entirely up to the patient. Loved ones can and should be part of the conversation to help support and encourage the patient to seriously consider their own comfort and well-being in their last months, weeks, and days. Hospice services become more and more valuable as you approach the end of life.
Celebrating the life cycle
Few people would wait until the last minute to begin planning and preparing for a baby to come in to the world. Yet, culturally, we don’t have that same mindset surrounding our death. Sometimes the end of life comes without warning, taking us by sudden and shocking surprise. Accidents and sudden illnesses can tear loved ones away from us in the blink of an eye. However, more often, we experience the of a life-threatening disease for weeks, months, and years before we are finally defeated by it or another event or illness.
When does hospice come in?
Since many of us will have some advance notice of our condition, why not plan to celebrate life? You can do this while you’re receiving treatment, seeking the company of others, and planning to depart. There are many ways to live fully right up to the end of life including inviting hospice to assist you along your final journey with compassion and care.
If you have received a life expectancy of six months or fewer, hospice should be a high on your list of to dos. If you are struggling to come to terms with your death, hospice can help. If you can’t manage your emotional or physical pain, hospice can help. When you don’t understand your options for palliative care and what comes next, hospice can help. These gentle and professional guides assist you with just about any questions or needs that you have along your journey. They do not speed up, nor slow the dying process, they are simply there to help you live fully until you die.
In addition to asking yourself, “when does hospice come in?” consider living fully by engaging in life-affirming activities that help you reflect on the best of your life’s experiences. Watch home movies, look through photos, and talk with family members and friends about your favorite memories and tell stories about what a full life you have led. Consider recording your stories for posterity and to connect your life to your loved ones in a way that will bring both you and others a wonderful sense of encouragement. Imagine the inspiration you will be when you share your struggles, lessons learned, and highlights of your life with those who are younger. They will learn from you and your life will be forever honored as a tribute to dying well. You can be the consummate teacher of living fully, even as your reach the end of your life.
If we can help explain when hospice comes in, give us a call. We’re here for you.