What is hospice?
Hospice is a program designed to provide palliative care and emotional support to the terminally ill in a home or homelike setting so that quality of life is maintained and family members may be active participants in care. ~Merriam-Webster, 2021
To be admitted to hospice care, the patient must be certified by two physicians as having a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less. In electing hospice care, the patient is choosing to seek comfort rather than cure. ~IHPCO, 2021
Making the decision to sign up or sign your loved one up for hospice can be a difficult one. Worrying about where to receive hospice care should not be a factor. Ideally, having your loved one at home would be great…until it’s not.
Hospice care can be provided in many settings, in the hospital, skilled nursing facility, Memory care, Assisted living, & Independent Living (where ever you call home).
Nursing Home Hospice Care vs/ Hospice Care at Home
Hospice patients living in a long term care facility or a nursing home would receive the same Hospice benefits that a person living at home would receive. Whether at home or in a long term care facility the patient will have access to a hospice physician and a nurse. They will also receive medications, personal supplies and durable medical equipment (DME).
For a patient living at home the introduction of a nursing assistant, Chaplain, medical social worker, and a volunteer could help to lighten the load as well as provide additional support for the caregiver. For the patient in a nursing home, all of these disciplines are in addition to the care they are already receiving, which is a plus! The patient and their family receives the same support & ongoing education in both settings.
Hospice at home is like dancing to the beat of your own drum; you get up, eat, & shower when you’re ready, while Hospice in a facility is more like a drum line; you get up when they get you up, you eat at a specific meal time, & you shower on your assigned days. For some patients having a routine regiment works out just fine for them, while for others it may not.
Another major difference is the 24 hour around the clock nursing and CNA care that the nursing homes provide. Living at home doesn’t provide your loved one with that amenity, but you will have a hospice nurse that is readily available 24 hours around the clock with a quick phone call.
At home, you the family member is the one that is there around the clock for the patient at home needs. As I mentioned earlier this is great, until it’s not.
Remember, understanding your loved one needs and knowing your limits is key! You don’t have to do it all; there is the option of hiring a caregiver to help out. That way you can focus on being the family member and not the caregiver. Your local hospice agency can provide you with a list of resources.
Conclusion: The choice is yours, the goal is and will always be for your loved one to have a peaceful and dignified death on Hospice wherever they call home.
To comfort always, this is our work.
At Angels Grace Hospice, in Bolingbrook, IL we provide customized care plans specific to each of patients and their families. We provide end-of-life care at home, hospitals, skilled nursing homes or assisted-living facilities depending on individual circumstances. Contact us with any questions and for further assistance with your end of life care options.