Know What Hospice Care Really Means

When we think about the term “hospice” we tend to solely focus on the negative. Hospice care is usually needed when a person is nearing the end of life, so it makes sense to do so. In reality though, comprehensive hospice care is about so much more than ensuring a peaceful passing. The medical and emotional support provided by hospice not only allows patients to feel more comfortable, but these services also allow family members additional comfort. Knowing that a loved on is cared for can take so much weight off your shoulders, but it’s still normal to feel conflicted about this situation. Experiencing anticipatory grief is common in hospice situations so don’t be alarmed if you experience a flood of emotions. Be willing to reach out for support and to rely on the hospice team to help.

Get Familiar With Your Hospice Team

One of the beautiful aspects of hospice care is that your loved one will have an entire team of trained professionals to ensure comfort during this difficult time. A registered nurse or nurse practitioner will help your loved one manage any physical discomfort or pain, while home health aides will deliver daily care to keep things comfortable. Another essential member of the hospice care team is the hospice social worker. This individual can offer guidance and counseling on the end-of-life process and has the professional background needed to provide support for you and your loved one. Most hospice social workers have a strong educational background, which often consists of a Master of Social Work program alongside 900-1,200 hours of field training, meaning they’re well equipped to help families through such a life-changing event.

Make a Financial Plan for Your Loved One

It’s hard to think about finances when your loved one is beginning his/her hospice journey. Unfortunately, paying for hospice care is a necessary component of this process.  Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance plans do help to offset the expenses associated with hospice care, but they may not cover all costs. You or your loved one may need to use personal funds to cover the costs of custodial care, for example, or even think about selling a life insurance policy. Before you opt for selling a life insurance policy though, be mindful of average funeral expenses. Funerals costs continue to rise, with averages around $7,000-$9,000, so planning ahead is wise to avoid paying those expenses out of pocket. You can check with your loved one to see if they have enough additional life insurance to cover costs or look into whether burial or final expense insurance is an option to help out with funeral costs and any unpaid medical bills.

Show Compassion for Your Loved One and Yourself

Talking with your loved one about funeral wishes and death may seem morbid. It may even be difficult for you to broach these topics. When a loved one is dealing with a terminal illness, however, being able to talk about these topics is essential for providing compassionate care. In addition to these emotional conversations, your loved one may wish to talk about regrets and other worries as well. It’s important for you to listen as much as possible, but also know that it’s okay to take care of your own emotional health. Tending to your own self-care can help you throughout the process, and you can also look into therapy options to help you with grief or other emotions you may be experiencing.

Facing a terminal illness is never easy. Using the services provided by hospice care can at least make the process more comfortable for the terminally ill, as well as their family members. So try to find peace in the calm that hospice care will bring during this time and remember to show love toward your loved one, as well as yourself.

Article Courtesy of Lucille Rossetti

Photo Credit: Pixabay