The history of hospice dates back to the 11th century, when a religious order of monks set up hospitals along a pilgrimage road leading to Jerusalem. Obviously, the process has changed entirely since then, and it's now more involved than ever. Not only are hospice staff members on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week, but there are countless other benefits that are unique to hospices, and especially holistic care hospices. But before you start the process to receive hospice care for yourself or a loved one, it's helpful to have an understanding of how the process works. Here's part one of our guide that will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about hospice care.
Can I (or a loved one) get hospice care at home?
Yes — unlike nursing homes and hospitals, hospices are designed to provide the level of care that best meets the patient's medical and comfort needs. This means that most centers are versatile and offer many care options, including but not limited to in-home care, round-the-clock inpatient care, acute symptom management in the home, and more. Between in-patient hospice units, caregivers that come to a private residence, nursing home, or assisted living community, and more, the decision is likely to be based on both the level of care needed and the comfort of the patient.
What are some signs that indicate that a person is in need of hospice care as opposed to traditional care?
Each case is different regarding hospice care needs, but there are a number of major physical signs to look out for: Continuous trips to the emergency room, frequent infections, ongoing weight loss, unrelieved pain, shortness of breath, and overall decline in eating and physical functions are just a few signs. Above all, the patient is considered to be ready for hospice care services when the burden of the treatment process outweighs its benefits.
Ultimately, understanding the answers to these questions regarding hospice care is the key to determining the best medical options for yourself or a loved one. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we'll answer some more common questions about hospice care.