Hospice care is a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life and symptom management of someone with a terminal illness. Patients and their families can opt for hospice care when a cure isn’t an option, and the patient has a prognosis of six months or less. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the average length of time a patient spends receiving hospice care is 76.1 days. This means that some patients and their families are missing out on the tremendous care hospice can provide in a dire situation.

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. It’s a time to recognize the many nurses, home care aides, therapists, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers who provide exceptional care to someone nearing the end of their life. It’s also a time to educate families about the wonderful benefits of hospice care should they need such services in the future. Here are four benefits of hospice care for both patients and their families.

Maintains Dignity

Caring for the physical needs of an elderly family member with a terminal diagnosis is often demanding and intense. Hospice care takes this burden off the family. It also allows the patient to maintain their dignity. When hospice care begins, a home care aide assists the patient with showers and can help them to the bathroom. Family members can remain in their role as sons or daughters, without having to cross boundaries that they’re not comfortable crossing.

Offers Emotional and Spiritual Support to Everyone

Hospice care offers emotional and spiritual support for both patients and their family members. Not only is a chaplain available to meet with the hospice patient, but he or she can also offer support to the family. Social workers and volunteers also support patients and family members emotionally. They offer a listening ear without judgment and are familiar with the wide range of emotions patients and families face as they walk the hospice journey. Hospice care offers grief and loss counseling after a patient has passed, up to 13 months after the death.

Provides Respite Care

Caring for a loved one with a terminal illness is physically and emotionally exhausting. Hospice care provides respite to family members. It allows the family to go home to sleep, shower, run errands, work, and spend time with their immediate families. Knowing a qualified, compassionate team is caring for an aging loved one gives families peace of mind so that they can take care of themselves. Families can ask for status updates and rest assured that the hospice team will call as soon as there’s a critical change. At the same time, some hospice patients need breaks from their family members from time to time. Hospice providers are attuned to such clues and can encourage families to step away so that the patient can rest or have alone time to reflect.

Shares Wisdom

Lastly, hospice benefits both patients and families by sharing wisdom and insight throughout the journey. Most of us aren’t familiar with end-of-life care. We don’t know when a loved one may be in pain or how to care for them without causing additional pain. Hospice professionals are highly educated and are trained to recognize non-verbal signs of pain or discomfort. They know how to approach personal and medical care in a way that is gentle and as pain-free as possible. They can educate families so that they can offer comfort to their loved ones in hospice. Their many years of experience mean they’ve seen it all and their unique perspective can be a tremendous help to families who are struggling. Most importantly, hospice professionals feel comfortable talking about death. They can initiate tough conversations that families avoid, such as funeral arrangements or other end-of-life planning.

Just as hospice care benefits both patients and their families, Senior Living Solutions is also beneficial for seniors and their families. We are a free, concierge service that provides unbiased guidance and resources to individuals and their families who are exploring their senior living options. Our goal is to provide alternatives to nursing home care. We meet with each client and their families to get to know their specific care needs and aging goals. Whether you prefer to move to a senior living community or wish to age in place, we can help you save a lot of time by suggesting communities or companies that deliver your specific care needs. To learn more, please contact us today by calling 501-650-3013.