Determining the best time to consider End of Life care is one of the most
difficult decisions we can make on behalf of our loved ones. It is emotional
for many reasons. We are caring by nature, especially towards those closest
to us, and so, if we had the desire of our heart our Moms, Dads, Relatives, and
Friends would “live forever.” While some healthcare providers and clinical
services turn a blind eye to the subject, the reality is that death is a part of life!
Having an attitude of denial can actually rob our loved ones of various
services which can enhance their quality of life in the midst of chronic illness.
So, when is a good time to discuss Hospice Services? In order to answer such
an emotional question so near and dear to our heart, one must first
understand the goal and nature of Hospice Care.
First, it is critical to understand that Hospice does not take the place of all
other healthcare services. It is an additional supportive service which
enhances the quality care that your loved one receives during a period of
progressive end of life illness. Hospice care teams consist of caring
healthcare providers who are specifically trained to meet the physical,
mental, emotional, and social needs of our loved ones at a critical stage in
their end of life disease management.
Contrary to popular belief, Hospice does not mean, “Do Not Treat!” Modern
day Hospice Services are holistic in their approach and focus on treating the
whole person which benefits both your loved one and family.
So, when is a good time to discuss Hospice Services? The truthful answer is
NEVER! There is no “good” time to discuss End of Life Care, however, it is a
very real and inevitable part of our human existence, and in order to maintain
the comfort and quality of life our loved ones deserve, the bridge must be
Here are a few possible indicators which may help guide you in choosing the
“right” time to consider an evaluation and assessment by a hospice provider:
Uncontrolled Pain related to terminal illness.
Advanced Dementia or Alzheimer Disease that has led to little or no nutrition
or fluid intake (unless a Living Will or family decision has been made to offer
nutrition by artificial means)
When a Primary Care Physician or Specialist (Oncologist, Cardiologist,
Pulmonologist, etc.) has recommended Hospice.
When your loved one personally requests Hospice.
There are many difficult considerations to be made during these challenging
times, if you feel that the time is right, but you aren’t quite sure, contact an
innovative Hospice Service and request an evaluation. These services
specialize in end of life care and may be able to assist you in the process, offer
support, and remedy any unanswered questions you may have!