There are a lot of decisions that are difficult as a family caregiver, including when to talk with your senior about hospice care. But there are some big benefits to having that talk sooner, especially if your senior’s doctor has already mentioned hospice as an option for your elderly family member. Understanding what hospice can offer and why earlier access can be a good thing may be a big part of helping you all to make that decision.
Hospice Care Isn’t about a Cure
A common misconception is that hospice can offer any type of cure. That isn’t the big goal of hospice, however. This type of care is about helping your senior to manage her symptoms, including pain. When the focus is on curative treatments, often comfort is not as easy for your elderly family member to experience.
Earlier Hospice Means Better Care
Entering hospice treatment as soon as your elderly family member is certified to do so allows providers to get to know your senior and her needs. Providers are able to work closely with your senior’s medical team to address the biggest issues she’s experiencing while also offering her comfort. A much more personalized plan that meets your senior’s needs is going to give her better care overall.
Your Senior Is Able to Be More Comfortable
When hospice care professionals know more about how to help your senior, they’re going to be able to do more to keep her comfortable. Since that is the main focus of hospice services, it can be important for them to have as much time as possible to ease her discomfort in as many ways as possible. By waiting to start hospice treatment, there are a lot of missed opportunities for keeping your senior comfortable.
She May Have Longer with Hospice than Without It
Something that can surprise people who opt for hospice care earlier is that they may last longer than their doctors expect they will. But this goes back to being more comfortable and having access to therapies that enable your senior to rest. When she steps back from aggressive curative treatments, your elderly family member is better able to rest and may have a little more time.
Everyone Has a Better Opportunity to Come to Terms with What’s Happening
Facing what is about to happen is so difficult, both for your senior and for you and others who love her. Something else that hospice care can do is to give all of you more time to come to terms with the future. Anticipatory grief is a very real issue and having the tools that you and the rest of the family need in order to deal with those feelings is very important.
There’s never a right or wrong answer about when hospice care is exactly the perfect solution for your elderly family member, but in general, sooner is better than later. Waiting too long might be unnecessary for your senior and could keep her from having some of the peace that you want her to be able to enjoy.