Today’s guest post is written and shared with permission by Craig Hammontree. Hammontree serves as the CEO for HealthMax 360. Craig oversees all operations and business activities to ensure they produce the desired results and are consistent with the overall strategy and mission.
While we tend to promote healthy living and wellness amongst aging audiences, the topic of terminal illness and end-of-life planning is generally avoided altogether. Some of the best options available to those who require special care and treatment are available through hospice care. Whether it’s an issue of mobility, injury prevention, household aid or because your loved one requires grief counseling, physical therapy or simply because they’re looking for socialization and a familiar setting, the benefits and comfort that hospice care facilities can provide has proven invaluable.
Talk About It
Talking about hospice care can demystify death for the family and the caretakers of aging loved ones, as well as for the parents or loved ones who often want to avoid the subject altogether. In a culture where death is taboo, discussing the benefits and positives that hospice care can provide is not always an easy task. Bringing up the subject of hospice care is oftentimes misconstrued as the children/caretakers wanting to be rid of the burden of taking care of loved ones, or that by simply talking about it, death will come faster—but this is simply not the case.
Why Choose Hospice Care?
Parents or loved ones who are getting older often don’t want to place a burden on their children. Even though it may be a tough decision, hospice care is oftentimes one of the best options available to not only help your aging loved ones feel more comfortable, but also to provide adequate care, amenities and services that at-home caretakers are not equipped to offer.
Hospice Facilities Offer a Familiar Environment
Unlike the sometimes sterile and stuffy environments hospitals provide, hospice centers offer a familiar setting while providing personalized, comprehensive plans to help alleviate pain and make the process of transitioning as smooth as possible. Most facilities make it their top priority to provide a calm space for attendees so their stay is unburdened by discomforts, or the busy commotion of hospital foot traffic and the stresses that come with being in an institutional setting.
Naturally, for some individuals, hospitals are the furthest from an ideal place to spend one’s last moments. Research demonstrates that most patients prefer to pass in a familiar and comfortable setting. By offering an environment that is comfortable for the patient, the stresses of having to worry about the environment and circumstances are taken care of.
Hospice Care Provides Professionals Ready to Meet Your Needs
Hospice facilities are also equipped with professionals whose expertise are tailored specifically for the requirements and needs of those being treated. Hospice caregivers offer personalized support and make it their job to truly care.
The key to providing comfort is also to have a well-thought out, discussed and researched plan. This can be achieved by enlisting the help of medical and health care professionals who cover all the areas of a patient’s illness or condition, with the utmost importance placed on helping reduce pain and overall discomfort.
Hospice facilities not only help deal with the symptoms of chronic illness, but they’re also serviced with personnel who offer psychological and emotional counseling, as well as clergy or staff equipped to cater to your spiritual needs. All this offers invaluable assistance to those preparing for their moment of transition. Not only do care professionals deal with terminal conditions, but they can also provide physical and speech therapy for those encountering issues with physical mobility, speech or cognitive degradation, or by specializing in the care of certain conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Hospice Care Gives Patients a Chance to Maintain a Sense of Dignity and Independence
Being treated on an equal footing and not being talked down to (or in a patronizing manner) also helps loved ones realize and maintain a sense of dignity and independence throughout the process. In short, care facilities offer those closer to passing a chance to transition with pride.
Instead of being in a hospital surrounded by the bustling traffic of personnel constantly leaving and re-entering a room (and a general lack of privacy), a hospice care facility provides the peace to enter a setting where one’s sense of space is upheld and respected. In addition, loved ones or children of patients can enter the facilities without all the bureaucratic red tape that comes with hospital settings. In hospice care, patients and loved ones are free to spend these crucial last moments together without the worries of limited visiting hours or other intrusive rules.
Hospice Facilities Help Provide Environments for Socialization
The importance of having someone to talk to, someone who knows exactly what you’re going through, is important beyond words. Being around other elderly people also creates an environment for socialization. This can generate a feeling of camaraderie as “everyone’s in a similar boat” – a sentiment which can help cultivate a feeling of inclusion and friendship. Sometimes even having one friend to talk to can help eliminate the anxiety, worry and loneliness that typically accompanies this phase in one’s life.
Hospice Care Can Help Alleviate Financial Burdens
For many in America, the cost of hospital bills can be gargantuan. In a hospice care setting or facility, the burden of prohibitive costs/bills can be significantly decreased. Many who opt for their parents or aging loved ones in hospice homes see their out-of-pocket costs diminished.
Medicare has essentially covered the care of hospice since the early 1980s, as Medicaid plans in almost all states cover these services. The Department of Veterans Affairs, standard insurance plans, as well as the philanthropy of those who make private donations to help cover the costs of patients unable to pay for these services, all make hospice care virtually universal for all.
Consider These Before Deciding on a Hospice Care Facility
Once you’ve decided if hospice care can provide your aging loved one the proper services you require, important research into hospice homes that cater to your loved one’s specific needs is the next step. Hospice care can be found in stand-alone facilities, at the home of a patient with the help of a designated team or in a nursing home or other assisted care residences dedicated specifically for hospice.
Before you decide, it’s always a good idea to contact two or three facilities/providers before making your final decision. Ideally, you’re looking for an organization that checks off all the boxes and meets or exceeds your expectations and requirements. Hospice care is essentially the same throughout, but each provider and facility will have their own distinct personalities, business models and values that make them stand apart from the rest.
The process of transitioning can be a difficult period in anyone’s life. To avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety, opting for hospice care may be the right choice. For those taking care of aging loved ones, the option of hospice care provides essential services, amenities and comfort typically found nowhere else.
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