What to Expect During Hospice Care

A healthcare professional holds the hand of a woman in hospice care.

Providing care for a loved one that is dying is never an easy task, even when you know the end of life is coming. It is hard to feel prepared, but understanding what you can expect from hospice care is the first step. Once a doctor decides to stop treatment of a loved one and declares that your loved one is expected to die within 6 months or less, he or she can  be admitted into hospice care.

Hospice care is not giving up

Hospice care has the common misconception of giving up on your loved ones, but that is not the truth. Hospice care is intended for those whose health providers recognize that he or she will die in the next six months. Hospice works to provide your loved one with pain relief and solace from the comfort of their own home.  There is the added benefit of emotional and spiritual support for them and their family members and loved ones.

Seasons Hospice care teams include a registered nurse, chaplain (if a patient does not wish to have spiritual support, we will respect that decision), and other trained volunteers. Patients are assigned one care team that will be with your loved one throughout their journey.

What to expect from the care team

Once a patient is a part of the hospice program, the care team will be in contact with the patient’s physician to discuss medical history, symptoms, and life expectancy.

  • There will be regular, scheduled visits from members of the care team
  • Any necessary medical equipment will be delivered to the patient’s home within hours of admittance.
  • The chaplain will be available to help relieve some of the emotional and spiritual difficulties. We respect all faiths and belief systems of our patients and families. We will respect families who do not wish to have spiritual support.
  • The team will also be happy to help with homemaker tasks like brushing teeth, washing hair, laundry, etc.
  • Bereavement coordinators that provide services to families are available for up to thirteen months after the passing of a loved one.

As death nears

There are going to be changes that will occur in your loved one as death approaches, many of which you will start to notice months before death. It is difficult to predict exactly when someone will die, but there are some signs that can help predict when the end of life is nearing:

  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Changes in breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Body temperature changes
  • Fewer bowel movements
  • More pain
  • Confusion and hallucinations

Many of these can worry loved ones, but often the patient is not in pain and if they are it can be managed.

Understanding what hospice care is and how it can help your family can be the first step in coming to terms with your loved ones illness. Hospice exists to offer comfort instead of a treatment for your loved one. The team will also be there to answer any questions the family has and offer support and counseling for those close to the patient. Hospice can be the best solution for both the patient and the family members in an extremely difficult time.

For more information about end of life care, contact us or give us a call at 918-745-0222.

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Seasons Hospice is an independent community health care provider, not a large for-profit organization. We would not be able to offer our hospice services if we did not have the support of passionate community members who understand the importance of cost-free hospice care. To simplify the hospice process for patients and families, we rely on the generosity of our donors.