When is Hospice Recommended?

Hospice is about deciding how to live life with the time that’s left. Many of us hope we’ll have more time with our parents or grandparents, even when our loved ones are in the late stages of a chronic illness. However, modern medicine can only do so much, and quality of life should always trump the longevity of life. Here are some signs to know when it’s time for your loved one to enter hospice by our hospice care team in Ocean City, NJ.

  1. Frequent hospitalizations – If your loved one is spending more and more time in the hospital, or needing frequent trips to the emergency room, it can be an indicator that hospice care should be considered.
  2. Frequent and recurrent infections – When the body’s immune system starts to fail, infections become commonplace, which means they take much longer to heal and tend to occur more frequently.
  3. A rapid decline in the last 6 months – If you have noticed a rapid and dramatic decline in your loved one’s health over the last 6 months or so, even under medical care, it can be an indication that they are drawing towards end-of-life care.
  4. Mental and emotional changes – Often, our loved ones have a clearer idea of the time they have left than we do, and this can cause emotional and mental changes. Often, people begin giving things away, focusing on funeral plans, making apologies, or making unusual requests. In later stages, people can start experiencing hallucinations and withdraw from family and friends.
  5. Uncontrolled pain, nausea, and difficulty – Struggling to control pain and nausea, difficulty breathing, and struggling to keep any food down can be an indication that hospice care is needed. In hospice, the focus is on actively managing pain and easing symptoms to support the person’s comfort at all times.
  6. Recommendations to focus on the quality of life rather than aggressive medical treatment – If the doctors recommend that treatment changes from looking for a cure towards easing symptoms and creating comfort, then hospice care sounds like the next course of action for your loved one.
  7. Decreased alertness, appetite, and confusion – Loss of appetite, spending more time sleeping, and losing the ability to focus and remain alert over reasonable periods of time can be indicators that someone is approaching the end of their life.
  8. Dramatically increased daily care needs – A significant deterioration in your loved one’s ability to take care of themselves in terms of eating, grooming themselves, getting dressed or using the bathroom, can indicate that hospice care is needed.

When is the right time to go into hospice care?

None of us like thinking about the end of our loved one’s lives. This makes choosing the right time to go into hospice care quite difficult and also means that a lot of people go into hospice much later than they actually should.

The most important aspect to keep in mind is quality of life over quantity of life. Instead of worrying about choosing hospice care too early, think about how hospice care can enhance your loved one’s comfort on all levels – physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you put their quality of life at the forefront, you’ll feel more secure and confident when transitioning your loved one to hospice care.

Your loved one’s doctors are also great resources to help guide their care. Usually, to get admitted into hospice, two independent physicians must recommend it based on their thorough evaluation of your loved one’s health.

We also recommend that you get to know reputable hospice care providers in your area to see what they have to offer, and ask yourself if this is the kind of thing that would benefit your loved one. For example, Bridges at The Shores in Cape May County NJ offers a very comforting and nurturing environment with a multidisciplinary team that includes doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, and more to deliver holistic hospice care. We work hard to create a very different type of hospice that supports families, as well as their loved ones with a wide range of services and amenities.

Bridges at The Shores services and amenities include:

  • Nursing oversight
  • Life enrichment program
  • Medication and pain management
  • Luxury linens
  • WiFi-enabled
  • Outdoor courtyards
  • Music room
  • Salon
  • 24/7 dining
  • Family and spiritual support

If you’d like to find out more about our hospice care program, Bridges at The Shores, or see if your loved one is eligible for hospice care in Ocean City, NJ, call our team today or visit our website at: https://theshores.umcommunities.org/