The biggest myth around hospice care is that it means giving up on your older adult.
The fact is that hospice is a type of medical care where the goal is to maintain or improve quality of life for someone whose illness, disease, or condition is unlikely to be cured.
Hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, but has a special focus on controlling pain and discomfort.
In some cases, patients in hospice may actually live longer because their quality of life has improved. The main difference between hospice and “regular” medical care is that the focus is no longer on “curing” your older adult. But realistically, many curative treatments carry high risks for older adults, aren’t as likely to succeed, and simply cause unnecessary suffering.
Who might benefit from hospice care?
Hospice programs are great for seniors in advanced stages of non-curable illness, very frail, or extremely aged. For example, someone with advanced dementia might qualify. Under hospice, medical professionals visit the older adult. This is a huge relief for people who are too frail or ill to go to the doctor’s office. Doctors also coordinate treatments so your older adult can feel as good as possible.
Hospice care helps families, too
What many people don’t know is that hospice care offers families much more support than they get under traditional medical care.
Families benefit from:
- Having hospice professionals on call 24 hours every day
- Not needing to go to the doctor’s office because nurses visit the home
- Getting help with bathing and other personal care tasks
- Reduced costs – typically, hospice care is less expensive than hospital stays or ER visits
- Family guidance, support, and grief counseling
Hospice care is for patients who are ill enough for a doctor to certify that they may not live beyond 6 months, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a death sentence.
Palliative care can be used during any stage of a serious illness. It helps seniors and family cope with the side effects of medical treatments, fears, and caregiver stress. By relieving symptoms, palliative care often improves someone’s ability to tolerate medical treatments and their ability to recover. The palliative care team can also help families make difficult medical decisions, taking time to discuss pros and cons. McGregor offers its Bridge Program with a focus on improving the quality of life for the individual by clairfying goals of care. The Bridge program is aptly names: it works to proivde a bridge between the last phases of medical treatment for life limiting illness and the palliative interdisciplinary focus of hospice. Families who are in conflict over goals of care may benefit from conversation swith their loved one and our Bridge program team.
The McGregor Hospice experience focuses on emphasizes comfort and support for both the individual and their family. We address the whole patient as well as the family’s physicial care, emotional support and spiritual needs. In some cases, seniors aren’t able to continue with hospice care because their health actually improves so much, they no longer qualify. At McGregor Hospice, we celebrate one of our traditions of a graduation celebration when the individual can go home!
McGregor is CHAPS certified and supports WE HONOR VETS.