Wendell was a caring father and husband. When he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, the family knew this would be hard for everyone. By the time the doctors found the cancer in Wendell’s lungs, it had metastasized to his hip bone. Wendell made multiple trips back and forth between the hospital and a nursing home as his health steadily declined. Finally, Wendell chose to begin receiving hospice care in his nursing home so that he could have the best quality of life during his final days.
Are you or a loved one wondering what to expect from hospice care?
When people hear the word “hospice,” they generally know it has something to do with end-of-life care. But what is it really? What kind of care? Are there rules that determine what happens to the patient? What about the patient’s family? The purpose of hospice is to provide care, support, and comfort to patients and their family members when an illness can no longer be cured. Millions of Americans have experienced hospice firsthand, yet some misunderstandings persist. So when the subject of hospice care (or comfort care) comes up for you or a loved one, you may not know what happens during the end-of-life journey of care. As the oldest, largest, and only nonprofit hospice in Southern Nevada, we want to answer some of the most often asked questions.
Before and after a death, bereavement support helps individuals cope with the loss of a loved one
As the journey of life comes to an end, a patient’s spiritual care is one of the most important things to address. We recognize that each patient understands spirituality differently and approaches death with their own unique experiences, ideas, values, hopes, needs, and life stories. Caring for a patient’s spiritual needs in hospice begins with understanding their expectations, beliefs, and boundaries. This work is done by our spiritual care specialists who speak with you and the people closest to you so that we better understand how you want to approach the dying process. This type of care is for everyone – for people with strong spiritual beliefs, for people struggling with their spiritual beliefs, or for people who claim no spiritual beliefs at all.
Margarine. A nearly empty bottle of ketchup. Frozen bottled water. This was all the social worker discovered on her first visit to Jim’s* home. As she discussed Jim’s medical and equipment needs, all Jim and his wife could ask were “What will it cost us?”
At 63, Jim could barely breathe without an oxygen mask and he needed oxygen almost constantly. Their electric bill had doubled due to his breathing needs. Aside from this, they had to cope with their mentally ill son, who lashed out, physically assaulting Jim at one point. The situation was dire and comfort seemed like a luxury the couple would never be able to afford.
Let’s go back twenty years… 1999 was a remarkable year for food and wine
Foodies discovered the pleasures of Tapas and Thai food. Fusion cuisine was the name given to bold experiments of adventurous chefs. Lunch often brought salads with cranberries, pecans, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. Or maybe you opted for the ubiquitous Chinese chicken salad with mandarin oranges. Young people munched on Hot Pockets and Lunchables – not gourmet food, but craved by teens none the less. And thank goodness that so many restaurant menus featured the scrumptious molten chocolate cake.
- Are you or your loved one are seeing a diminished quality of life due to the effects of a disease and its treatment?
- Do you or your loved one often require consultations regarding medication and pain management?
- Are your symptoms so overwhelming that your relationships with your family and friends are becoming infrequent and strained?
Thanks to modern medicine, some terrible diseases have become preventable, treatable, or far less common. Breakthrough drugs and technologies have given physicians new tools to combat serious conditions and prolong a patient’s life expectancy.
Yet fighting these illnesses can produce painful symptoms both from the disease and from its treatment. The struggle to cope with these symptoms can be so consuming that it effectively keeps patients from focusing on anything else in their life. When this situation arises, the priority is to find relief so that the patient has a better quality of life. Palliative care, sometimes called “comfort care,” uses sophisticated methods to minimize pain and adverse symptoms.
Do you know someone with a serious disease with a prognosis of six months or less to live if the disease runs its normal course?
Have you seen a diminished quality of life due to the treatment?
Are you trying to break the cycle of re-hospitalization and emergency room visits?
Do you want to make your wishes known about end-of-life care?
When a patient is confronted with a life-limiting prognosis or has been contending with a critical illness, their priorities change. Maintaining the best quality of life often becomes their main concern. But how can this be achieved? There is an excellent option available; it’s called hospice. Hospice is the only healthcare system designed to address the needs of patients and families when a patient is no longer seeking a cure for their terminal illness.
Who is eligible for hospice?
When an illness is no longer curable, hospice care enables patients to live out their days as fully and comfortably as possible with dignity and respect. Yet the end-of-life journey brings with it emotional and practical burdens that can affect the whole family.
At Nathan Adelson Hospice, we reduce those burdens through the delivery of physical, emotional, social and spiritual care. Even if you understand the advantages of hospice, you may not know if you or your loved one is eligible for hospice care or if your insurance will cover the costs.
Let’s answer these important questions.
James* was devastated. His father needed to be moved to hospice care. Consumed with grief and anxiety, James didn’t fully comprehend what his brother was telling him about the choices of hospice care or what hospice actually was. Over 1000 miles away, James didn’t know how to make a decision about what was best for his father.
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