Talking about the end of life is usually not high on anyone’s list of conversations that they want to have. But sharing wishes with loved ones and doctors can help to ensure that a person receives the care and treatment they desire no matter the circumstances. Some people are even surprised to find that having those challenging conversations with family brings them closer together. The earlier you can have these conversations the better — and it will often need to be more than one conversation. Topics you should be sure to discuss with an elderly loved one include:
Hospice is a type of care received by people with generally six months or fewer to live. It is meant to provide comfort and improve their quality of life in their final days, rather than to treat them or cure them of any illness. Hospice is meant to reduce pain so that people receiving care can die peacefully. Most people receive hospice where they live — whether that’s at home or in a senior living facility. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health plans cover hospice services. Your doctor should be able to provide a recommendation if you’re in need of hospice services.
Hospice services include:
Palliative care, which is sometimes confused with hospice care, is also a type of comfort care, but is for patients who are still undergoing treatment for serious diseases or conditions, whereas hospice is for those who no longer wish to undergo treatment. The palliative care team may include doctors, nurses and social work services, among others. Palliative care can last for as long as a patient desires.
Examples of those who might benefit from palliative care are people with any of the following diagnoses:
Palliative treatment can help address challenges due to the above diagnoses such as: