If you're facing a terminal illness and you're receiving treatments to manage pain and comfort rather than to cure your condition, then it may be time to talk to your doctor about using hospice. The purpose of hospice is to help you and your family through your last months of life so you are as comfortable as possible and have as much support as you need. Here are some things to know about hospice.
Your Doctor Can Order A Consultation
Your doctor can arrange for a hospice consultation. A hospice representative can come to the hospital, nursing home, or your home to interview you and verify you qualify for hospice. The representative will ask about your health condition and they may get your medical records from your doctor. They'll also want to know how you want to spend your final months and what kind of help you'll need for a peaceful passing, whether it's medications, counseling, or spiritual help.
Your Insurance Pays For Hospice
Many types of insurance have a hospice benefit. If you're on Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance, your policy may pick up the cost, although they may have regulations you need to follow. If you don't have insurance and you can't afford private pay, hospice might cover the cost for you through their fundraising efforts and donations.
You Stay In Your Home
If your home is a suitable place to stay and that's where you want to be, hospice will come to your home to provide care. Some people qualify to stay in a hospice care facility, but not everyone does. Stays in a hospice facility are often done so you can avoid going back to the hospital for palliative care. If you're staying in a nursing home, hospice can visit you there too.
You Receive Medical Care
One thing that qualifies you for hospice is that you'll no longer receive medical care other than palliative care. You may still need medications and treatments, but the goal of them is to reduce pain and help you stay peaceful and comfortable. Your hospice nurse can start an IV if you need it or provide injections.
You might also be treated by respiratory, physical, or occupational therapists. Nursing assistants may come to your home too for daily personal hygiene and other caregiving tasks.
You Can Receive Spiritual Counseling
You'll feel a full range of emotions when you approach the end of a terminal illness, and your family will too. It may be easier for you to talk about your feelings with a counselor or religious leader since your family members are probably struggling as well. Hospice supports you in any way you need it so you can pass with dignity and peace.