careing_coupleWhen it comes down to long distance caregiving—of course it is extremely tough on the caregivers; and most certainly hospice services are always in the back of one’s mind.  If your loved one has progressed to a stage in their disease where they are having constant struggles, pain, confusion and more, you might want to start considering an advanced form of care.  Doctors really can’t tell you when it is the right time, this is basically up to the family members, and those in charge of the primary caregiving.  To clear up some of this confusion, let’s define the differences between hospice and palliative care in general.

What Are the Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice Services? 

Too few caregivers are aware of the differences between these two areas, but it is understandable.  It can become confusing when you’re juggling so much daily.  Most anyone can inquire about receiving hospice services, but it is up to the hospice facility and the primary caregiver on whether or not the patient is at a point for this type of caregiving.  While hospice can include palliative care—this is mostly for those who are terminally ill and who have reached a stage where traditional care is not a viable option.  Also, those who are found to have a year or less of life left are more often the candidates for hospice services.

Palliative care, on the other hand, focuses on improving the quality of life for someone with a serious illness.  The goal is to provide relief from stress and the diseases symptoms.  Pain management is certainly a part of this, but finding ways to live day to day with more satisfaction and enjoyment are critical.  Some patients in palliative care can live for years, while those who are under hospice only have a short period of time left.  You can view palliative care as a comforting layer of medical support, on top of care already being given.

The honest truth is that whether hospice services are needed or palliative care is the plan—it takes strong, organized caregivers working together to improve the quality of life for the patient.  In fact, strong communication is a key factor in an optimal outcome for all.  Both of these medical areas do support your family every step of the way, that is guaranteed!  Both medical services ensure the patient is always the priority and can enjoy a decent quality of life, no matter how long that might be.

Hospice Services Ensure Loved Ones Can Die with Dignity

Hospice is about letting go and allowing your loved one the right to die with dignity, but without unnecessary pain.  Hospice caregivers strive to give the quality of care necessary for patients in this transitioning period to have the time to say goodbye to their loved ones while they are still capable.  Although end of life care like this can be extremely difficult to talk about, it is necessary.  So, planning ahead of time and learning all you can about what this entails is important.  This guarantees that your loved one’s wishes will be respected and they can pass peacefully when that time comes. The following 4 signs are what any kind caregiver should go by to know when their loved one is finally ready for hospice services:

  • Disease progression has led to a point where there is no curative solution
  • Your loved one is more interested in controlling pain and wants to be comfortable versus dealing with painful testing for treatment options
  • Your loved one has expressed they want their death to be a natural process, not hindered by medical interventions
  • Your loved one wants to be remembered intact, not in the stages of sepsis or digression of an illness

It is never easy to say goodbye to your loved one, but it is important that, as a caregiver, you understand when they are ready to give in and let go.

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