The Benefits Of Hospice Services At Home

While death is not something that most patients want to talk or think about, serious illnesses can sometimes get to the point where curative treatment is no longer effective or appropriate. If a loved one has been told that he or she has less than six months to live, in-home hospice care can help the patient and his or her family cope with the transition from life to death. Here are some of the benefits of an in-home hospice program.

The Comforts of Home

Many patients who are nearing death would rather die in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. While death in a hospital, nursing home or hospice center can be dignified and pain-free, death at home means that your loved one can be surrounded by family, friends and even pets. Your relative can die in the comfort of his or her own bed, and he or she will not be bothered by different hospital staff members entering and exiting the room or by the beeping of machines meant to sustain life.

A Pain-Free Journey

The staff at hospitals do their best to keep patients pain-free, but with many patients to care for and less knowledge of each particular patient's personal desires, miscommunication and lapses in pain relief can occur. When your loved one chooses in-home hospice care, however, all of the focus is on the patient. The care given is palliative, which means that it is meant to eliminate pain and discomfort; he or she will not be subject to life-sustaining services that are unwanted, unneeded and ineffective.

A More Affordable Option

Staying in the hospital can be extremely costly, and there may be some services that are not covered by health insurance or Medicare. Home-based hospice services are much less expensive, as the patient is charged only for the services provided. Insurance companies and Medicare cover most services, and the rest are billed on a sliding scale. One of the features of hospice care is that no patient is turned away due to an inability to pay; your loved one will get the pain relief and emotional support needed regardless of finances.

Emotional and Spiritual Support

One of the main functions of hospice is to provide the emotional and, if desired, spiritual support needed to make death less scary and unpleasant. Your loved one will be encouraged to live each day fully and to the best of his or her ability and desire. He or she will receive counseling and support from professionals, and support from ministerial staff can be arranged if your relative is interested in that. These meetings will take place over the phone and in person at the patient's home.

Support for the Family

Before, during and after death, the hospice staff will be providing support for the family of the person who is dying. This can range from emotional support and counseling to delivering meals, running errands for the patient so the family can spend more time with their loved one, and helping to arrange the services needed after death occurs. For the dying patient, knowing that his or her family is being supported can provide peace of mind and a sense of relief.

There are often misconceptions regarding hospice care. For example, some people think that if a patient is still able to leave the house and drive, they are not eligible for services. Others may think that hospice hastens death or precludes going to the hospital for needed treatment during the hospice period. Before making the decision for or against hospice, it's important to learn more about what hospice, such as, does and does not entail.

Choosing care at the end of life can be an extremely emotional and overwhelming decision. If your loved one is going through this experience, support him or her as all of the options are weighed. Talk to a hospice provider, who can answer all of your questions about in-home nursing services available during this difficult time.