One of the statements hospice workers hear most often is “I wish I’d called hospice sooner.” Why hesitate? Why not call on the support and comfort hospice brings to both the patient and family as soon as possible?
“Denial is the first stage of grief,” said Rene Wheaton, administrator of Faith Hospice. “When people are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, it’s natural to deny the need for hospice services.”
Benefits to the Patient
It’s easier to face changes in life when you’re prepared. Bringing hospice on board early, means you won’t be scrambling to get services when you reach a crisis and you’ll be able to take advantage of all the support hospice offers. “Starting hospice early offers the patient better quality of life, especially since their pain and problematic symptoms can be brought under control. We have hospice patients who still drive and who still go to work,” Wheaton said. “And when they reach a point where they need us, we’ll already be there.”
Benefits to Caregivers
Hospice offers benefits to caregivers as well. If the patient has waited too long to sign on to hospice, their caregiver may have already reached the stage of burnout.
- Hospice staff can educate the caregiver as well as answer questions that may come up—can the patient be safely left alone—can they still drive, for example.
- Hospice nurses and aides monitor and recognize changes in the patient’s condition that may not be obvious to the caregiver.
- Hospice staff includes trained volunteers able to provide short-term respite for caregivers.
Hospice brings an entire team of professionals and volunteers ready to provide help and support.
- Medical professionals, including doctors board certified in hospice and palliative care, as well as nurses trained in hospice care. The medical team is experienced in pain control and symptom relief.
- Chaplains are available to provide spiritual support to the patient and their family if desired.
- Social workers can help with the practical as well as emotional needs of the patient and their family.
- Through hospice, aides can come to your home to help with personal care.
“There are so many benefits to bringing in hospice as soon as a patient has received a life-limiting diagnosis,” said Wheaton. “ The services provided can greatly increase quality of life for both the patient and their family. We have even had people go off hospice because they have improved so much—often because they were able to leave the hospital and return home to familiar surroundings and loving family members.”
For more information about Faith Hospice, call 616-235-5113.