Hospice care focuses on the care, comfort, and quality of life of a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life. People begin talking about hospice after they have pursued treatments and interventions. Hospice often comes up in discussion as a “final option,” but it is so much more.
At some point, a cure may no longer be possible. Hospice provides a layer of support for the patient and family after medical interventions are no longer an option. Hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has six months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course. It is important to understand that the person does not need to pass in the six months. Some patients live longer than their prognosis, and this is a known benefit of hospice.
It’s important for a patient to discuss hospice care options with their doctor early and before it is a necessity. Often, people do not learn about hospice until it is the last recommendation from their doctor. The full benefits of hospice are meant to be provided through the course of the disease and prepare the individual and their family for the end. Sometimes, people don’t begin hospice care soon enough to take full advantage of the help it offers. Starting hospice early may be able to provide months of meaningful care and quality time with loved ones.