Hospice care is the end of life care given to persons diagnosed with terminal, or the life- limiting diseases. Death, though a natural and automatic course of life is a frightening fact to many. More frightening is the knowledge that your life expectancy is just about 6 months! Facing death is indeed an unpleasant fact. The last days of one’s lifetime do not however to be painful and lonely. Hospice care now comes in to assist a patient lead the last days of his life with peace, dignity, support and comfort. Ultimately, the care maximizes the quality of the last phase of the patient’s life. In a century where cancer, heart conditions and HIV AIDS prevalence is increasing by the day, hospice care has come in handy. Choosing hospice care is the best option for terminally ill patients for many reasons but mostly because it offers professional care to the patient. This type of care does not only offer support to the patient but also to the family members. Sometimes, the family members may be too traumatized and distressed to offer the patient emotional support. They may also lack the right words to say to a dying loved one as compared to a trained counselor.
Hospice care (alphaomegahospice.com) focuses on physical, psychological and psychological well – being of a patient. The care is not only offered in hospice units but also in homes, especially for the poor who cannot afford the cost of staying in a hospice unit or traveling to a hospice unit. The physical care focuses on controlling the physical symptoms, and assisting a patient manage the pain that comes with the illness through administering of different kinds of drugs such as morphine. Morphine is a highly renowned pain management drug. Ultimately, physical care ensures that the last days of a patient are not made more difficult by pain.Psychologically, hospice care offers professional guidance and counseling because undoubtedly terminal illnesses cause a lot of trauma and emotional disturbance on a patient. Hospice care further takes care of the spiritual well-being of the patient. Praying with a patient and reading scriptures of encouragement together is a sure source of strength to face death.
There are many myths associated with hospice care that need to be demystified. For instance, people believe that hospice care is for persons who have lost hope in life. This is just a misconception and the opposite of this myth is true. Hospice care is for persons who still have hope in life and thus the reason they seek to live their last days in dignity. Another misconception is that, the care is solely for the patient. Far from the truth, hospice care also extends to family members. Through the care, family members get emotional support to cope with the situation of seeing their loved ones in pain and ultimately the thought of losing a loved one in a near future. These are perhaps the reasons why notwithstanding the many benefits in seeking hospice care, the concept has received considerable criticism and resistance.The decision to seek hospice care ought to be clearly thought out by the family members. The care maybe equated to delegating the care of a loved one’s last days to a stranger. If not well thought out, friends or family members may get the feeling that they deserted the patient after he passes on. One might wonder why have patients in hospice care units and not hospitalization. The advantage is that while in a hospital the goal is to sustain life, in hospice care the goal is to give the patient a peaceful and comfortable last phase of his life as possible. Further, hospice care is more personal and gives due regard to the special emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of a patient as compared to a hospital setting. Ideally, hospice care should be preferred over hospitalization when treatment is no longer useful.
Finally, care must be exercised in a selecting hospice unit for a patient. Previously, volunteers and persons with the heart and compassion for patients majorly ran hospice units. Sadly, the trend has now changed; hospices have become a business venture for multi- national corporations who have more regard for their business. The ideal hospice unit should be the one that satisfies the patient’s physical, psychological and spiritual need fully.