My husband does not have a terminal illness and is not in pain, but is slowly and steadily deteriorating at age 81. For a couple of months his doctors have been recommending hospice but no one can tell me why he should be labeled that way. I am caring for him at home and I feed him, give him medication, change him, take his blood pressure, etc. What's the deal about categorizing him as hospice? I don't see that it is of any benefit to us. Can someone explain?
Hospice has many many benefits. It sounds to me that he is declining overall,,they call that debility. Basically,,nature is taking its coarse and there really isnt many options left. The goal of hospice is comfort measures. Keeping the patient home and out of the hospitals. Hospice is treatment of symptoms-symptom management. Medications for pain/discomfort and medications to keep him comfortable. You dont neccessarily have to be "dying" on on your death bed for hospice to come in. They say that you have to have a prognosis of 6 months or less to live,,but obviously we are not God and people live beyond that 6months even years. Hospice care provides a skilled nurse coming 1-2 times a week for a checkup-vital signs,etc,,they also have a home health aide that can come 1-2x week that can bathe/shower him,,they also have social workers that can help with different resources and provide supportive care. Hospice also provides respite which is usually a 5day stay at a skilled facility to give rest for the family,,like if you needed a break or go out of town. All of this is free of charge and covered under the medicare benefit. Hospice focuses on quality of life. Dignity and the ability to allow the patient to remain in his home where he is comfortable. Just because you sign up for hospice does not mean that you cant seek more agressive treatment. We have several hospice patients that still want to go to the hospital in the event of an emergency. That is their wishes and their choice. Hospice can be revoked at any time. You are not signing his life away. I take care of so many patients that sound life your dad and they have lived well beyond the "6 month" time frame. Hospice is just some added care that is free of charge. They pay for medications and equipment that you may need. You cant go wrong with hospice. I hope that this helps some ((hugs))~Bkitty
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