What is Hospice Care
Hospice care is a specialized care designed to provide support to you and your family during an advanced illness. Hospice care focuses on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. The goal of hospice care is to enable you to have a pain-free life and to live each day to its fullest and as much as possible. During hospice care you should have compassionate care and knowledgeable guidance, including experienced physicians, nurses and other professional caregivers. They will offer personalized choices for you so that you can decide where you will be able to receive care. They can also provide information on the latest approaches to pain and symptom management. Some symptoms that may indicate that you need hospice care include increasing weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath even while resting, significant weight loss, several falls in the past few months, several hospitalizations or emergency care in the past year, pain medications no longer working as they used to, most of the day spent lying down or sitting, on oxygen most of the time, more frequent calls to the doctor, or notification from your doctor that your life expectancy is limited.
Hospice care is usually required for patients with a range of end-stage illnesses, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Alzheimer’s disease, end-stage dementia, kidney disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), complications of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
You do not have to stop seeing your primary care doctor. Your doctor can join the team of professionals who will be caring for you.