What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care, according to Dame Cicely Saunders is specialized care for dying patients.  The term “hospice care” was first used in 1967 at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London.  The American Cancer Society says that hospice care “accepts death” and “manages symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones.  Hospice gives you palliative care”.  Once in hospice care, there is no attempt to try to cure the disease or help you heal or improve your condition.

In other words, they help you die pain free.


What is the Goal of Hospice Care?

The goal of hospice care is to help patients live their LAST days as alert and pain-free as possible since death has been accepted as coming quickly (6 months or less)…per the American Cancer Society.  This is great for a person who has given up on healing and has decided to die.  This is not great for a person who still wants to try and heal.

 

Once You Enter Hospice Care, Can You Get Out of it?


The American Cancer Society states: “If you get better or the cancer goes into remission, you can be taken out of the hospice program and go into active cancer treatment”.  The problem is, if they are not doing anything to help you get better, what are the chances that you will get better?  But it is important to know that you can go to an emergency room and tell them that you want out of hospice and they will then make it their goal to try and help you get help with improving your condition.

Palliative Care

Palliative care, according to the National Caregivers Library is comfort-care administered by teams of doctors, nurses, and other professional medical caregivers, often at the facility where a patient will first receive treatment.  While palliative care can be administered in the home, it is most common to receive palliative care in an institution such as a hospital, extended care facility, or nursing home that is associated with a palliative care team.  There are no time restrictions. Palliative care can be received by patients at any time, at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not.  In other words, palliative care is not about dying.  It is about being comfortable at any stage of illness.

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