At Tidelands Community Hospice, one of the most common statements we hear is, “We wish we had chosen your services earlier.” Some wait to choose hospice care because they do not understand the care and services provided. Others will say opting for hospice care is “giving up hope,” “the last resort,” or “it’s the end.”
Unfortunately, those replies illustrate the misconceptions and myths of hospice that cloud one’s perspectives and choices. All too often we are not called in until the last few days or hours. Our team of nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement coordinators and volunteers work together to do all they can to make those moments meaningful and comfortable for the patient while also supporting the family. It is often after the family has seen the Tidelands Community Hospice team in action that they will say, “Wish we had called you sooner.”
Once a doctor has certified that a patient has six months or less to live, the patient is eligible to go on hospice care. “It’s the end,” is not just the last few days or hours – the end of life can be six months or more. One of the wishes of our hospice team is that a patient comes to us earlier in the progression of their illness.
The longer our team works with patients and families, the more they are able to respond to each patient’s unique situation, medical needs and the needs of their family. Here are some benefits of choosing Tidelands Community Hospice Care sooner:
- As patients and family members work with our hospice care team, they become more comfortable with sharing their end-of-life journey, discussing what quality of life means to them, what is important to them and how they want to spend their days. This rapport helps in making a care plan based on the patient’s and family’s needs and wishes.
- Pain and symptoms can be managed better. Our hospice care team is trained in the treatment of pain and symptom management. By opting for hospice care sooner, solutions for pain and symptom management provides patients with the opportunity to live each of their days to the fullest, in comfort and with dignity.
- Patients enjoy being cared for surrounded by their loved ones in familiar surroundings, be it their home, a nursing home or assisted living facility, instead of a hospital.
- In addition to meeting the medical needs, social workers, chaplains, bereavement coordinators and volunteers have a longer opportunity to address and meet the emotional, social and spiritual needs of the patient and family.
- Patients and families that spend more time on hospice care experience the support of being guided through the unfamiliar end-of-life process. Members of the hospice team are there for them every step of the way. If needed, they will assist the family through the process of making end-of-life arrangements.
- Caregivers and family members have the support of the hospice team, from teaching caregiving techniques to holding their hand and listening, which affords the caregiver the opportunity to just be a family member.
Calling Tidelands Community Hospice sooner rather than later means quality of life, hope, making choices on how you want to spend your days, living each day to the fullest in comfort and with dignity and support for the patient and family.