When Should You Schedule Home Hospice Care?

Author: Andrea Miller

Reviewed by: Brindusa Vanta

You should schedule home hospice care when your family member has a terminal diagnosis and wants to end treatment for the disease while still receiving palliative care to alleviate symptoms such as pain and nausea. Hospice palliative care becomes available through Medicare when a physician certifies that the person has a life expectancy of six months or less.

How Does Home Hospice Benefit Your Loved One?

Hospice care offers numerous advantages that significantly enhance the overall well-being of patients with terminal illnesses and their families. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Enhances Quality of Life: Provides physical and emotional support tailored to patients with terminal illnesses.
  • Patient Autonomy: Helps patients avoid unwanted medications, treatments, and tests.
  • Family Satisfaction: Increases satisfaction among family members regarding care quality.
  • Symptom Management and Pain Reduction: Improves overall symptom management and it effectively reduces pain experienced by the patient.
  • Facilitates Communication: Providers often improve understanding between the patient and their loved ones. It’s particularly beneficial for patients with communication-impacting conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Why Do Families Delay Hospice Care?

Families delay hospice care because it’s difficult to start a conversation about the end of life with their loved one. Loved ones feel that the person will think they’ve given up if they suggest hospice.

Individuals who have a terminal diagnosis decide to delay hospice if they want to continue treatment to fight the illness. In other cases, families aren’t aware of hospice services, and the health care team doesn’t bring up this option for their loved one. Talk with your family member’s health care team to see whether they recommend hospice.

What Does Home Hospice Care Include?

Home hospice care includes services that support your loved one’s physical and emotional well-being. It also incorporates support for the patient’s family. Your family member’s care plan could include counseling, spiritual support, pain and symptom relief, physical and occupational therapy and end-of-life planning assistance.

Individuals who qualify for hospice receive regular visits from experienced care providers. Their support makes this challenging time easier for the entire family. Although hospice doesn’t include overnight care, the providers offer around-the-clock assistance by phone in case an emergency arises with your family member.