Hospice care is for terminally ill patients, who have less than 6 months to survive. The care ensures that the patients are comfortable in the last days of their life. The care does not try to prolong a terminally ill patient’s life, and it does not try to hasten the end. Instead the care tries to offer comfort and relief from the symptoms and pain. While hospice care is often preferred for terminally ill, it has its advantages.
In a hospital setting even if the patient has a terminal illness, the doctors will continue treating the patient with the hopes of prolonging their life until the patient’s body beats the disease or until the doctors can figure out a cure. On the other hand, this care stops all forms of treatment and finding a cure is not a priority. The medications that the patient is given are meant for easing discomfort and pain brought on by the disease. While hospice care tries to make the patient as comfortable as possible in the last days of the life, it does not attempt to treat the patient with medications to restore the person’s health.
Hospice care can be emotionally tiring for family members. Family members do realize that their loved one is doing to die sooner or later. However, the helpless that they experience that they cannot do anything to prevent the dying can be emotionally exhausting. In addition, the stress of caring for the patient is also exhausting. The family has to stop doing everything else and spend their time taking care of their loved which is a 24-hour job. So when a patient finally succumbs to the illness, the family may actually feel a sense of relief which can make them feel guilty.
Hospice care can be provided at home or in a hospice. Today, more and more patients are opting for home hospice care. As a result family members have to bear the responsibility of providing 24-hour care for their loved one. If a family has financial means, it can hire a professional nurse. However, most families do not have the means and end up taking care of their loved one which is extremely exhausting and tiring. Feeding, giving medications, bathing, toilet needs, changing linen and constantly checking on the patient is a full time job where the primary caregiver gets no rest or respite. This care giving continues until the patient finally dies.