Those facing a life-limiting disease will undergo different levels of care. The two main ones are palliative and hospice care. Palliative care begins immediately after the diagnosis and will aim to slow the condition’s spread as much as possible. Hospice care, on the other hand, starts when palliative care has failed, and death is inevitable. It aims at ensuring the patient as comfortable as possible during their final days.
Centers offering hospice services are thus at times referred to as comfort centers. The primary goal in these centers is to relieve suffering or pain while maintaining the person’s dignity according to their wishes. In general, hospice care patients will need comfort in four main areas. Here are tidbits to boost your understanding of these areas and what is offered in hospice centers.
Discomfort in people nearing the end of their life comes in various conditions. The common ones include pain, skin irritation, temperature sensitivity, digestive issues, breathing problems, and fatigue. In hospice care, pain medications, along with other pain alleviating techniques such as massages and exercise, are administered. Some of these pain meds, unfortunately, alter a patient’s mood, and they might seem withdrawn or angry. Patients experiencing digestive issues are also fed using different techniques to guarantee their bodies are strong enough. Breathing problems are managed using oxygen delivery masks and breathing exercises.
Emotional and Mental Needs
Most patients will generally become depressed and anxious during their final days. Encouraging them to talk about their feelings or journal them might provide a route for stress relief. Hospice centers nonetheless have qualified counselors who talk patients through the end-of-life issues they might be facing and help them understand and cope with their situation. These treatments are generally extended to the patient’s loved ones so that they can also better cope with their grief.
These are as important in patients under hospice care as physical comfort. People will need to make peace with certain disagreements and choices they have had throughout their life and resolve pending issues with their loved ones. Most also find their solace through this trying times in their faith, and it is comforting for them to talk to a commanding figure from their religious community.
One of the primary causes of mental issues in hospice patients is the uncertainty of their loved ones’ futures. It is thus essential to help them plan for their loved ones and write a will if they have already not done so. In the past, this vital undertaking was marred by reports of coercion to leave various items to unscrupulous hospice employees. Nowadays, however, this practice has been curbed, and hospice centers will have lawyers who offer unbiased advice to patients.
When people think of a hospice center, they visualize people in various throes of pain and a mainly sad place; they would not want their loved ones to be in. The centers are, however, a far cry from this picture. They are cheerfully decorated and have various activities for patients to engage in while getting the above conditions effectively managed to guarantee their comfort.