Often, when an individual is told they have cancer, the question pops up, “when should I consider hospice care?” First and foremost, just like any illness, cancer has degrees of severity or Stages.  Often an oncologist will refer a patient to hospice care because either there are no options for treatment that could help, they have exhausted all treatment options available, or the patient no longer wishes to undergo further treatment.  It is at this point hospice care for cancer patients  is recommended. An individual may opt for hospice care if they are already presenting with symptoms that require management.  

When Is the Right Time To Talk About Hospice Care for Cancer Patients? 

Families are often troubled how do I have ‘The Talk’ with my loved one” if they think they could benefit from hospice services. The best answer probably would be sooner than later.  One does not want to delay the extra care and support that hospice can provide. 

Am I Giving Up ? 

 Hospice and cancer is not “giving up”.  Like any other disease that has run its course and is now at the end stages, understanding and focusing on the quality of life  takes the forefront of care and becomes the priority. 

This writer has had the experience of being told that her spouse has terminal brain cancer and that all treatment options have been exhausted.  It was at this point that the oncology team referred us to hospice.  At the time, he wasn’t in any acute pain and seemed stable.  As time went on, we discovered how quickly “stable” could change and were glad we were already enrolled in hospice services.  Angels Grace was able to help us manage his symptoms so  we could gain more positive days at home and he had all the resources available when we needed it the most.  My husband stated it best, “I am not giving up on life, I am taking a step away from treatments that are no longer helping me and my quality of life.”  At the time of this writing, he is still here with us to enjoy family and friends.

Is Hospice Care For Cancer Patients Different From Other Hospice Care? 

Hospice care or life limiting illness care for cancer patients is very similar to other patients that are in hospice care, but the focus may be different based on the location of the cancer and the symptoms presented.  

Some cancer patients do not experience pain, but some do.  Whatever the symptom, be it nausea/vomiting, pain, constipation, diarrhea, anxiety, shortness of breath for example, we have the knowledge and expertise to be able to dose and control these symptoms to promote comfort.  

Hospice care for cancer patients is one of our many backgrounds. Several of our Angels Grace staff members (hospice care providers) have a background in oncology and/or critical care, making them more attuned to anticipate the needs of our patients.  We also understand that in some cases, a diagnosis may have come as a surprise, while others have been battling for many years.

Can Angels Grace Help The Whole Family Deal With the Diagnosis? 

Whether the diagnosis came as a surprise, or it’s been a long battle, anticipatory grief,  and caregiver strain or fatigue can occur. 

Anticipatory grief is a normal mourning that occurs when a patient or family is expecting a death due to a life limiting illness such as cancer. Anticipatory grief has many of the same presentations as those experienced after death has occurred. For example, it includes all of the feeling, thinking, cultural, and social reactions to an expected death that are felt by the patient and family. Hospice care at home has many challenges. 

Care giver fatigue is a result of caring for a loved one for an extended period of time resulting in physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. A person can be neglecting one’s own physical and emotional health because the focus has been caring for the ill loved one.  Angels Grace Hospice Social Services department, as well as our skilled nursing staff/hospice care providers, understand these challenges and are there to help support both patients and family members through this challenging time.  Many families turn to their faith to help provide strength and comfort during this time, and our non-denominational Chaplin Services help support patients and family members spiritually.  

At Angels Grace Hospice, it is not just the body we are looking to support, but the mind and spirit as well.  We believe in celebrating the good days and supporting you on the “not so good” days.  

We also offer for our patients who are interested in pet therapy to brighten their day.  Hospice in the home, assisted living facility, memory care and skilled nursing can all benefit from our program. Our pup Mizuno has become a mini celebrity visiting our patients and spreading joy to the patients we serve.  This service of course is for patients and their families that would be interested in this service. At Angels Grace Hospice, we are here to support the patient as well as the family unit through this difficult time.

Can Hospice Care be Provided in My Home? 

Angels Grace  provides  hospice services at home, assisted living facility, memory care facility, or  a skilled nursing facility. 

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.