Coming face to face with the reality that a family member is near the end of their life is tough to do. Decisions need to be made about the types of care that person wants to receive and that means asking and answering some tough questions. Choosing to opt for hospice care service is easier after answering some of these questions as openly and honestly as possible.
Has the Senior Decided to End Curative Therapies for Chronic Illness?
Seniors who are battling chronic or progressive illnesses may be continuing curative treatments. What often happens, however, is that those curative therapies may no longer be appealing. They may be painful or have side effects that are too much for the patient. Having honest and open conversations about whether those curative therapies are still working is important. It’s equally important to understand how the patient feels about continuing those therapies.
Have Curative Therapies Stopped Working?
Sometimes seniors may want to continue with curative therapies, but they aren’t working as well as they were. In some cases, the curative treatments may no longer be working at all. When that happens, seniors may find that hospice care is a better fit for their needs. The focus for medical providers may be moving more toward comfort care and helping the patient manage the symptoms they’re experiencing rather than trying to cure the condition.
What Do the Senior’s Doctors Say About Their Health?
Another important consideration for everyone involved in the decision-making process is what the patient’s medical providers are saying about what’s going on. When seniors have an expected life span of less than six months, hospice care becomes an option for them to access. Understanding the prognosis that seniors are facing and looking at what is going on now with their health can help families determine if this type of care is the right option for moving forward.
Does the Senior Want to Stay at Home Instead of Going to the Hospital?
When health worsens significantly for aging adults, they may find that they’re making a lot more trips to their doctor’s offices. In a worst-case scenario, they’re visiting the emergency room and the hospital a lot more than they were. That can be a deciding factor for seniors because deciding to stay at home as much as possible rather than heading to the hospital is a valid concern. Hospice care allows patients to remain at home where they are more comfortable, receiving the care that they still need.
Choosing to move to hospice care is not one that families and patients take lightly. Understanding what the determining factors are by asking the right questions is an important step for families to take when they’re trying to decide what to do. It’s also important for families to understand that opting for hospice care doesn’t mean that seniors have to stay with that course of treatment. They can leave if it doesn’t truly suit their needs.