How will I know when to call for hospice care?
When you have a loved one who is suffering from an end stage illness, it can be difficult to even entertain the thought of them entering hospice care. To many people, the term ‘hospice’ equals end of life, and because of that, hospice care often gets pushed off much later than it should.
Sometimes, your doctor (or the patient’s doctor) will tell you when he or she thinks it is time for hospice care. However, if your doctor isn’t mentioning it, you can bring it up with him or her and have a frank discussion about whether or not they feel you or your loved one would benefit from hospice. You can also look for the following signs that indicate that it’s a good time for hospice care:
- More emergency room visits
- The patient becomes withdrawn or catatonic
- Pain greatly increases
- Distressed breathing
- The patient requires more assistance with daily functions
- The patient sleeps more and eats less
- Inability to recover from medical events
In addition to the above signs, keep an eye out for dramatic weight loss, decreased mental function, loss of bladder or bowel control, vomiting and nausea and any new symptoms that seem concerning.
Remember, it is not just the patient who can benefit from hospice care in Fort Worth, TX and surrounding communities. As caregiver, there is a lot of pressure on you and it is ok to ask for help. If you are primary caregiver for the patient, do a regular self-assessment to determine whether or not you should consider hospice. If you find that you are exhausted, either physically or mentally, from taking care of the patient, you may want to consider hospice assistance.
It is also important to think about how your family members are feeling while you are the patient’s primary caregiver. If you have a spouse and/or children to care for at home, they may feel the strain and may need you to return more of your attention back to them.
If you are simply overwhelmed by everything that comes with a end stage illness, but aren’t sure if hospice is really needed yet, you should give Alpha Omega Hospice a call anyway. We will gladly discuss your unique situation with you in order to help you make the right decision for yourself, the patient and the patient’s family.
At Alpha Omega Hospice in Fort Worth, we will work together with the patient’s doctor(s) in order to make the right decision for the patient and everyone involved in the caregiving process. Remember – calling hospice does not mean that you are ‘giving up’ on your loved one – it means that you want them to have as much comfort as possible. Asking for help during this difficult time is natural and expected.