When Is Hospice Called For Cancer Patients
A common question asked by those considering hospice care for cancer patients is when is the right time?
The answer to this important question is now is the right time. Usually if you are asking the question, you or your loved one may already be eligible.
Call hospice care if you answer YES to one or more of the statements below.
- You are living with advanced illness.
- Youve considered stopping treatments because they arent working or the side effects outweigh the benefits.
- Youve experienced multiple hospital visits.
- Youve experience unintended, progressive weight loss.
- You want to spend more time at home with your family rather than in the hospital.
The decision is certainly difficult and complex. No one likes to think about their loved one dying. Thats probably why many people delay making a decision and wait until the last weeks or days of their loved ones life. However, we often hear caregivers say they wished they called sooner.
What Are Some Ways To Provide Emotional Support To A Person Who Is Living With And Dying Of Cancer
Everyone has different needs, but some worries are common to most dying patients. Two of these concerns are fear of abandonment and fear of being a burden. People who are dying also have concerns about loss of dignity and loss of control. Some ways caregivers can provide comfort to a person with these worries are listed below:
- Keep the person company. Talk, watch movies, read, or just be with them.
- Allow the person to express fears and concerns about dying, such as leaving family and friends behind. Be prepared to listen.
- Be willing to reminisce about the person’s life.
- Avoid withholding difficult information. Most patients prefer to be included in discussions about issues that concern them.
- Reassure the patient that you will honor advance directives, such as living wills.
- Ask if there is anything you can do.
- Respect the person’s need for privacy.
- Support the persons spirituality. Let them talk about what has meaning for them, pray with them if theyd like, and arrange visits by spiritual leaders and church members, if appropriate. Keep objects that are meaningful to the person close at hand.
Who Pays For Hospice Care
Home hospice care usually costs less than care in hospitals, nursing homes or other institutional settings. This is because less high cost technology is used and family and friends provide most of the care at home.
Medicare, Medicaid in most states, the Department of Veterans Affairs, most private insurance plans, HMOs and other managed care organizations pay for hospice care. Also, community contributions, memorial donations and foundations gifts allow many hospices to give free services to patients who cant afford payment. Some programs charge patients according to their ability to pay.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Temporary Disability For Cancer
Hospice Care For Cancer Patients
Hospice is a special type of care in which medical, psychological, and spiritual support are given to cancer patients and their loved ones when therapies are no longer controlling the disease. With hospice care, a team of health care professionals work with patients and families to provide the comfort and care they need closer to the end of life.
Hospice care is not the same as palliative care. Although both hospice and palliative care provide comfort and support for patients, palliative care is available throughout a patients experience with cancer. A persons cancer treatment continues while one is receiving palliative care, but with hospice care the focus shifts to just relieving symptoms and providing support at the end of life.
Hospice care is a focus on caring, not curing. The goal of hospice care is to help you live each day to the fullest by controlling pain and other symptoms, making you as comfortable as possible. It is not intended to either hasten or postpone death.
Choosing hospice care doesn’t mean that you’ve given up hope. Instead, hospice care means youre changing what you hope for. This could be hoping for good quality of remaining life, including more time with loved ones and friends.
- medical and nursing services
- drugs for managing cancer-related symptoms and pain
- short-term inpatient care
- volunteers to give caregivers a break
- counseling and spiritual care
- social work services
- grief counseling and support
Does Hospice Care Mean I Have A Certain Time To Live
Not necessarily. This idea comes from Medicare, the U.S. government organization that pays for much of older Americans health care. Medicare pays for hospice care if your doctor believes you have 6 months or less to live, the cancer does not respond to treatment, and your medical condition does not improve.
But no one knows for sure how long you will live. If you receive hospice care and live longer than 6 months, you can continue to get hospice care as long as you still meet the Medicare requirements.
The information below tells you more about Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance payments for hospice.
Also Check: How To Help Someone With Cancer
Where Do I Get Hospice Care
Hospice care is provided wherever the patient calls home. This can be in their own home, that of a family member or friend, in an assisted living or nursing home, or even in a hospital.
Were only a phone call away 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nights, weekends, and holidays.
If pain and symptoms cannot be managed in a residential setting, Lower Cape Fear LifeCare operates three inpatient hospice care centers. These serene, home-like facilities are available exclusively to our patients. Lower Cape Fear LifeCare is the only hospice provider in southeastern NC to offer care centers for its patients and families.
Where Is Hospice Care Provided
Most hospice care is provided at home, but it can also be provided in a care home, as an in-patient at the hospice itself, or as a day patient visiting the hospice. Hospice care is a style of care, rather than something that takes place in a specific building.
Hospice teams might include doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, social workers, therapists, counsellors, chaplains and trained volunteers.
Hospices aim to feel more like a home than hospitals do. They can provide individual care more suited to the person who is approaching the end of life, in a gentler and calmer atmosphere than a hospital.
Don’t Miss: Foods To Eat During Chemo Treatment
What Is The Average Time In Hospice For Cancer Patients
Oasis Hospice is the best cancer hospice in Chicago that cares for patients. For more information and assistance call 564-4838
When it comes to hospice care, individuals frequently have various questions. After all, it is rarely discussed, and many people do not consider it until they are forced to. One of the most often asked questions is how long patients remain in hospice care. And while this may appear to be a straightforward question, the solution is highly complex. To help you better comprehend this, continue reading as we cover several aspects of hospice care.
How Long You Can Get Hospice Care
Hospice care is for people with a life expectancy of 6 months or less . If you live longer than 6 months, you can still get hospice care, as long as the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor recertifies that youre terminally ill.
- You can get hospice care for two 90-day benefit periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods.
- You have the right to change your hospice provider once during each benefit period.
- At the start of the first 90-day benefit period, your hospice doctor and your regular doctor must certify that youre terminally ill . At the start of each benefit period after the first 90-day period, the hospice medical director or other hospice doctor must recertify that youre terminally ill, so you can continue to get hospice care.
Also Check: Patron Saint Of Cancer Prayer
The Difference Between Palliative Care And Hospice
Sometimes, the terms palliative care and hospice care are used interchangeably, but they arent the same.
Hospice care is a special type of palliative care thats provided when a person is expected to live six months or less. In contrast, palliative care can be offered any time during a persons cancer journey.
While palliative care can be given along with medical therapies to aggressively treat your cancer, hospice typically focuses on treatments that will provide comfort.
Its important to know that choosing hospice care doesnt mean youve given up on fighting your disease, youre just shifting the focus of the therapy away from treating the cancer and toward treating the patients symptoms.
How Can Hospice Assist A Cancer Patients Family
Caring for a cancer patient can be emotionally draining and physically taxing. Family caregivers make complex medical and financial decisions on behalf of others and provide emotional support. Choosing to discontinue medical treatment can be emotionally draining many families feel overwhelmed. Hospice provides care for families in a variety of ways:
Also Check: Sores In The Mouth From Chemo
Possible Changes In Body Function
- Profound weakness usually the patient cant get out of bed and has trouble moving around in bed
- Needs help with nearly everything
- Less and less interest in food, often with very little food and fluid intake for days
- Trouble swallowing pills and medicines
- More drowsiness the patient may doze or sleep much of the time if pain is relieved, and may be hard to rouse or wake
- Lips may appear to droop
- Short attention span, may not be able to focus on whats happening
- Confusion about time, place, or people
- Limited ability to cooperate with caregivers
- Sudden movement of any muscle, jerking of hands, arms, legs, or face
How Palliative Care Works
Palliative care is sometimes referred to as supportive care or comfort care.
The goal of this treatment isnt to cure a particular disease, but to help or prevent or improve any symptoms that might make you uncomfortable.
Palliative care is given in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and even at home. Your palliative care team will work closely with your oncologist and other doctors.
Typically, a palliative care program will address the following issues:
- Physical Complaints Problems such as pain, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, vomiting, and shortness of breath are all managed with palliative care.
- Emotional Concerns Palliative care specialists are trained to help with depression, fear, anxiety, and other emotional issues that come up.
- Caregiver Struggles Family members who care for cancer patients often face challenges. Palliative care can offer support.
- Spiritual Needs Experts are trained to help people find peace in their spiritual lives.
- Practical Issues A palliative care specialist may be able to help with financial, legal, employment, and other practical concerns that may arise.
Palliative care is available for both adults and children with cancer, as well as other illnesses.
Palliative Care Team
A group of specialists typically provides this type of support.
Your palliative care team might include the following professionals:
- Palliative care physician
Your medical team can help you decide which therapies will benefit you the most.
Why Is Hospice Care A Good Option For Cancer Patients
Hospice care is an excellent option for cancer patients because it allows them to have more control over the last few months of their life. Rather than remaining in a hospital or other cancer treatment facility, they can be at home and have their team come to visit them.
A few reasons why hospice treatment is a good option after a regular cancer treatment plan, laid out in one of our previous blogs, are:
- It allows your loved one to be in a familiar environment.
- There are comprehensive plans offered carried out by competent individuals.
- Hospice allows for more personalized care and support.
Where Is Hospice Care Given
Hospice care is most often given at home, where the patient is usually the most comfortable.
Sometimes, hospice care is in-patient care at a freestanding hospice house or at a hospital with hospice services. Some people prefer to get hospice care in these settings and sometimes, certain situations prevent someone from staying at home.
Understanding Hospice And Morphine
Like the word hospice, the word morphine can be frighteninguntil you learn more about it.
Truly, says Maite Hernandez, RN, a training director for VITAS Healthcare in Florida, morphine is a medication that is given even in the acute-care setting in the hospital.
Morphine is the mainstay of pain relief associated with anything from childbirth to advanced cancer, whether the patient can expect a full recovery or is receiving hospice services.
But patients and caregivers who hear the word morphine sometimes fear that their physician has given up, that they or someone they love will be heavily sedated and left to die. And physicians who do notin the normal course of their practiceroutinely prescribe advanced pain medications can be leery of prescribing morphine.
Your doctor can consult with a palliative care physician about pain management, particularly involving cancer care.
Hospice and palliative care physicians, however, have both the expertise and experience in opiates to control their patients pain quickly using as little medication as possible. They then titrate, monitoring each patients dosage and symptoms to reach the right level of pain control with the fewest side effects for that patient.
Where Is Hospice Care Provided And Who Provides It
Hospice is an approach to care, so it is not tied to a specific place. It can be offered in two types of settings at home or in a facility such as a nursing home, hospital, or even in a separate hospice center.
Hospice care brings together a team of people with special skills among them nurses, doctors, social workers, spiritual advisors, and trained volunteers. Everyone works together with the person who is dying, the caregiver, and/or the family to provide the medical, emotional, and spiritual support needed.
A member of the hospice team visits regularly, and someone is usually always available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hospice may be covered by Medicare and other insurance companies. Check to see if insurance will cover the persons particular situation.
Don’t Miss: How Long Can You Live With Liver Cancer
Effects Of Hospice Care On Quality Of Life
Researchers have studied the effects of hospice on end-of-life care. In one study, patients who entered into hospice care suffered less, were physically more capable, and were better able, for a longer period, to interact with others than those who didnt use hospice care. In addition, after the patients who used hospice died, their family members were markedly less likely to experience persistent major depression, which seems to suggest the family support provided by hospice has a lasting benefit on family members.3,4
Another study specifically looked at hospice for patients with metastatic lung cancer. Half of the 151 patients were assigned to receive traditional cancer care while the other half received traditional cancer care plus palliative care, which focuses on preventing and relieving suffering whether or not the patient is dying. Those patients who received palliative care had discussions with the palliative care specialist about their priorities for if and when their condition worsened, and they ended their chemotherapy treatment sooner, entered hospice significantly earlier, experienced less suffering at the end of their lives, and survived longer than the patients who didnt have palliative care.3,5
What Does Hospice Care Cover
The services that hospices offer vary, but most offer medical and nursing care, including managing pain and other symptoms. They might also offer:
- bereavement care
- spiritual and psychological help
The staff at most hospices will be happy to talk to you about what the hospice offers or show you around the facilities if you are considering hospice care. The staff can discuss any issues with you and answer questions.
You May Like: Her2 Positive Breast Cancer Treatment
What Are The Stages Of Death From Cancer
While the stages of death from cancer are different for every patient, and not everyone will experience the symptoms below, here is a general list of the stages and symptoms of death from cancer. Additionally, if you have questions you can contact us 24/7 using the blue bar above.
During the Final Weeks:
- A Lost of Interest in Most Things/Inability to Concentrate: The patient may start to lose interest in things such as the news, entertainment, sports, etc., and may also be unable to concentrate or hold a conversation. Activities that used to interest the patient may now be of no interest. While this can be distressing to the family caregiver, it is not out of the ordinary in the final weeks of cancer.
- Exhaustion, Weakness, and Desire to Sleep: The cancer patient may become much weaker and more easily exhausted during these last weeks. They may want to sleep often because of this, as well as spend most of their day in bed.
- Loss of Appetite: They may lose much of their appetite or have difficulty eating and drinking.
During the Final Days:
Getting The Right Team For You
Remember, consulting with a hospice group isnt giving up. Its giving yourself the chance to enhance your last days and to take control of your care. If you are looking for hospice care with a compassionate and caring staff, contact Crown Hospice of Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff, MO. We will give your loved one the physical, mental and spiritual care needed for the best end-of-life care.
Remember, consulting with a hospice group isnt giving up. Its giving yourself the chance to enhance your last days and to take control of your loved ones care. If you are looking for hospice care with a compassionate and caring staff, contact Crown Hospice of Cape Girardeau or Crown Hospice of Poplar Bluff today. We will give your loved one the physical, mental and spiritual care needed for the best end-of-life care.
*As the COVID-19 pandemic has become top of mind to the healthcare community, we want you to know that we are following CDC, CHAP and state health department guidelines to minimize our patients chance of exposure while still giving them excellent care. Read our statement here.
Recommended Reading: Types Of Radiation For Breast Cancer