originally published in Living Well Magazine, Summer 2012
1.) Hospice is a philosophy of care. It treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on quality of life. It surrounds the patient and family with a team of professionals who not only address physical distress, but emotional and spiritual issues as well. Hospice care provides all necessary medication and equipment. It also provides assistance with light housekeeping, errands, companionship and respite care to help caregivers recharge.
2.) You decide where choice care takes place. Nine out of 10 adults would prefer to be cared for at home rather than in a hospital or nursing home if diagnosed with a terminal illness. Hospice provides the option of being cared for at whatever physical place the patient calls home.
3.) Open dialogue is key. You can help the person you care for, and yourself by initiating a conversation about his or her wishes regarding end-of-life care. Although it is often difficult to speak honestly and openly about death and dying, it can be even more uncomfortable to have to make end-of-life decisions concerning a loved one without having had such a discussion.