Dallas Home Health Care Blog

How to Know When to Call Hospice

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Know When to Call Hospice

While we don't offer skilled nursing or hospice care, it's a field that's closely related to senior homecare. When a loved one has a chronic medical condition, knowing when to say goodbye is one of the most difficult decisions that you will ever have to face. The decision is accompanied by a wide range of emotions, from guilt over missed opportunities, to sadness over not having this person in your life any more, to relief that the person’s pain and suffering will soon be at an end. You may have trouble knowing when to seek out hospice care.

When hospice care comes to assist a family with a terminally ill loved one, they neither speed up nor prolong the dying process. Their goal is to provide comfort and dignity for the dying, while allowing the person to pass away in a way that is natural and on their terms. They also provide a lot of support to senior caregivers and other family members during this heartbreaking transition.

A Checklist to Help Make the Decision

Due to the different emotions surrounding the issue of calling in hospice care, it is good to have a kind of checklist that can help your family determine whether now is the right time or not. Here are some guidelines that can help you make that determination about calling in hospice care.

-          Medical treatments are no longer working.

-          The treatment causes more pain than the disease.

-          A decision was made to cease all medical treatments.

-          The loved one announces they are “ready to go”.

-          The loved one asks you to call hospice care.

The last guideline is especially important. If a loved one says they are ready to go and you continue treatment or take them to the hospital, then it could result in causing them pain. Nobody wants to watch their family members suffer and then, in the aftermath of the funeral or memorial service, face the guilt of not fulfilling their lost loved one’s wishes.

Discuss Hospice Sooner than Later

If you wait to talk about hospice, then you risk not having the discussion at all if your loved one’s care takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes having an open conversation about hospice can make it easier to accept end of life care when the time comes that it is needed. You can also ask someone from hospice to come in and talk to your family and answer their questions so they know what to expect.

There is never a right time for us to let go of the family we love, but there is a right time for your loved one. As their health declines, make sure to communicate with them about their wishes. When they ask for hospice, as hard as it is you must make that call. It might be the last thing that you can do for them during their last days or hours with you.