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Three important things to know about hospice

Caring for a loved one with a serious illness can be one of life’s most important responsibilities. But when a doctor gives a terminal diagnosis, the next steps can be difficult. Death is a normal part of life, and signing up for hospice can help patients make the most of their time. Many people say that signing up for hospice is a choice to live one’s final days to the fullest.

“Hospice care is not about giving up hope,” says Colleen Short, hospice operations manager for VNA of Ohio. “It is about shifting focus from curative treatment to comfort and quality of life.”

If you are considering hospice, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are three important things your doctor wants you to know about this important decision.

Comfort is number one

Hospice has a goal of comfort, rather than curing illness. Patients can stay in their own homes and out of the hospital, whether home is a house or apartment, an assisted living, or a nursing home. Many medications are available to alleviate pain, as well as other therapies like massage, meditation, deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Hospice nurses know what cues to look for and the right treatments to make the patient as comfortable as possible.

Hospice can increase the quality and duration of life

The average time a patient is in hospice is three weeks, but families often report that they wish they had signed up earlier and feel like they waited too long. At the same time, patients can leave hospice any time if they choose to resume treatments.

Spiritual support

Hospice helps with the emotional distress of the patient and family members, and provides spiritual support, if that is something the family wishes to have. Hospice spiritual services can be tailored to the family’s wishes, whether it’s part of an organized religion or non-denominational. What’s more, this support tends to give families more time to handle logistics and planning for final arrangements.

“At VNA of Ohio, we really focus on the goals of patients and their families,” added Short. “Continuity of care is such an important part of developing a good relationship with our patients and caregivers.”

Learning that a loved one needs hospice can bring on many emotions, but it’s important to know that this type of care is meant to help patients live better and more comfortably. To learn more, contact VNA of Ohio today.