The decision to consider hospice care for your senior parent can be an emotional and challenging one.
It’s completely normal to have a lot of questions about what this new journey will look like for your family. We’re here to help.
Let’s take a look at the most common hospice questions asked. We hope this will help you navigate this new chapter in your parent’s life with confidence and peace of mind.
Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. We’re here to support you every step of the way.
What is hospice care?
Hospice care focuses on providing comfort, pain management, and emotional support. It aims to enhance the quality of life for patients in their final stages, rather than attempting to cure the illness.
Healthcare providers typically recommend hospice when a patient has a life expectancy of six months or less. The focus shifts from curative treatment to providing comfort and support.
You may hear the terms hospice and palliative care used interchangeably; however, there are differences between these two types of care.
Both hospice and palliative care provide comfort and support. However, palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness and can be combined with curative treatments.
Hospice care, on the other hand, is designed for patients nearing the end of life.
What services are included in hospice care?
Hospice care is individually tailored to the needs of the patient. It can include:
Respite care for the patient when the family caregiver is away
The patient and their family can choose to stop hospice services at any time. If the patient’s condition improves or they decide to pursue curative treatments, the patient can discontinue hospice care. Patients are welcome to re-enter hospice at a later time if their condition worsens.
Who provides hospice care?
Hospice care is provided by a team with members from multiple different healthcare fields. This team commonly includes:
A hospice board-certified physician
Hospice trained nurses
Spiritual support counselor
Certified home health aides
Each of these team members plays a unique role in supporting the patient and their family. They are here to answer your hospice questions and help to meet your parent’s physical and emotional needs.
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice care can be provided wherever your senior parent lives. This could mean:
The location depends on the patient and family’s needs and preferences. It can also change if the patient’s needs change over time.
The hospice will provide any special equipment necessary for your parent’s plan of care as part of its services. This includes medications, supplies, and durable medical equipment, such as a hospital bed, bedside commode, or wheelchair.
How can I support a loved one in hospice care?
Supporting a loved one in hospice care involves providing emotional support, spending quality time together, and assisting with practical needs. It’s essential to be present, communicate openly, and ensure they are as comfortable as possible during this time.
The hospice team encourages family and friends to visit and spend time with patients in hospice care. Your parent’s hospice team can also help with individualized suggestions if you have questions about providing support during hospice.
What resources are available for caregiver support?
Hospice care isn’t just about the patient. It also includes resources and support for caregivers, such as respite care, counseling, educational materials, and support groups. These services aim to help caregivers cope with the emotional, physical, and practical challenges of caregiving during this difficult time.
Bereavement support is an essential component of hospice care, providing emotional support and counseling to help family members and friends cope with grief and loss. This might include individual or group visits with a chaplain or counselor, workshops, or memorial services for family members after a loved one passes away.
For example, each year Parentis Health organizes a Celebration of Life event to commemorate the patients that touched our lives while we cared for them in our hospice program. Organized by our chaplain and bereavement counselor, this event offers families, friends, and healthcare providers of those who passed the chance to gather, share stories, laugh, cry, and heal.
What role do volunteers play in hospice care?
Volunteers play a vital role in hospice care and are often central to many hospice programs. Hospice volunteers can assist with:
Providing companionship and emotional support
Running arts and crafts activities
Facilitating pet and music therapy
Helping hospice staff with administrative tasks
Assisting with fundraising
What is an advance directive?
An advanced directive is a legal document that lets your parent make their wishes regarding medical care known if they become too ill or incapacitated to communicate in the future. They are often important near the end of life when many people aren’t able to speak for themselves.
Preparing these documents ahead of time can help avoid unnecessary stress and confusion for family members down the road by outlining:
Your parent’s personal attitude towards health, illness, death, and dying
The kind of care your parent wants if they become incapacitated or seriously ill
Your parent’s feelings about life-sustaining treatment, palliative, and hospice care
Any religious beliefs your parent wants incorporated into care
You can often complete an advance directive at the same time as other end-of-life documents, such as a will, living will, or power of attorney.
How can I find a hospice provider
Parentis Health’s experienced team is ready to answer all of your hospice questions and provide your family with the end-of-life care your senior parent needs.
Our hospice team puts patients and their families in the driver’s seat. We help families plan without pressure, advise on every aspect of the decision-making process, and adapt with you whenever circumstances change.
Parentis Health is also the only hospice in Orange County offering coordinated senior care services, giving families a single source for all their healthcare needs. Whether it’s hospice, visits from caregivers, respite care, or transportation, we are with you every step of the way.
So if you have hospice questions or questions about any other of our senior care services, don’t hesitate to reach out today!