Hospice FAQ – Caring For an Aging Parent at the End of Life

What is hospice?

The idea is rooted in the ages-old idea of hospitality, which allowed travelers to rest after a long journey. Hospice services are designed to ease patients and their family into the final stage of life.

Hospices offer management of pain or disease-related symptoms and spiritual and emotional support. Some providers also offer respite care as well as elder caregiver support. Care can be provided in the hospital, at the patient’s home, or in special hospice facilities. Frequently considered an elder care solutions option, hospices help anyone who is reaching the end of life, regardless of age.

What kind of professionals work at hospice?

Hospices take an interdisciplinary approach to the end of life, which means they care for the patient’s body, mind, and spirit. The staff might include a medical team, pharmacists, clergy, and funeral directors. It will work closely with everyone involved in a caring for aging parent plan.

Hospice centers typically offer counseling services for patients and for those caring for an aging parent. Be sure to find out exactly what sort of professional is counseling patients and families. Some facilities offer counseling through chaplains or social workers. While this can be appropriate for some families, consider looking for a center that offers counselors with special training in grief management and end-of-life issues.

The doctors say Mom is ready for hospice care. How do I break the news to her?

First, don’t let your Mom guess the poor prognosis by watching whispered conversations between you and her doctors. Experts recommend having a straightforward conversation in which you explain that while you and the medical team is hoping for the best, it’s time to start planning for the worst. Suggest that you, she, and the doctors have a discussion about hospice elder care solutions.

I feel guilty about even considering hospice. Does hospice mean I’ve given up on Momma?

As someone who’s caring for an aging parent, your feelings are completely normal. If your mom is terminally ill, death will come whether you provide hospice care or not. By making the decision to entrust Mom to a good-quality hospice program, you’re allowing her to live her remaining time in comfort, making it an important part of an elder care solutions plan. The staff will provide as much medical and emotional support as is needed to guide your mother on her final journey.

Remember that hospice professionals are not replacements for regular caregivers. Think of hospice as an extra set of hands, eyes, or ears. If you’re caring for an aging parent, they’ll hold mom’s hand while you slip away for a shower, they’ll monitor her physical condition, and they will listen to concerns you or she may have. They are there to support you, not replace you, making them an important part of your family’s elder care solutions.

How do I know when it’s the right time for hospice?

You won’t need to consider hospice elder care solutions until your parent has been given less than 6 months to live and has stopped trying to cure their condition. As you’re caring for aging parents, it’s likely a doctor or medical professional will suggest the right time to consider this elder care support option.

If Mom suddenly gets better during hospice care and doctors say she’s on the rebound, simply discontinue end-of-life services and return to elder care solutions designed for her full recovery.

I know Dad needs hospice care, but I’m afraid of the cost!

Medicare and many insurance companies pay for part or all of hospice. Check with your loved one’s plan to find out exactly what hospice elder care solutions it covers. If your dad is not eligible for coverage, talk to the hospice center about other options. Some facilities will not turn patients away-even if they cannot pay.

Mom is extremely ill, and I want her to live her last days at home. Can hospice come here?

Absolutely. In fact, most hospice services are provided in a patient’s home or anywhere you’re caring for an aging parent. This allows your mom the opportunity to receive all the benefits of an end-of-life care professional while surrounded by family, friends, and memories.

When the time comes for Mom or Dad to pass on, hospice can be a compassionate part of any family’s elder care solutions plan. If you’re caring for an aging parent who is terminally ill, talk with your doctor about the right time to begin hospice services.

Source: Gregory Weldy

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