Transitioning from Palliative to Hospice Care: A Guide on How to Cope
What is Palliative Care?
Dealing with a long term illness is fairly difficult. For patients with serious illnesses, Palliative care offers respite for both patients and caregivers. Palliative care tends to provide comfort in the initial stages of the diagnosis. The aim of palliative care is to provide relief from the symptoms. It improves the quality of life for patients and their caregivers as well.
What is the difference between Palliative and Hospice care:
Palliative care is recommended for patients who are in the initial stages of their illness or have been diagnosed recently. When the symptoms are manageable, the doctor recommends palliative care.
Hospice care is for patients who have reached the final stages of their illness. When the aim of professional care shifts from managing symptoms to alleviating suffering in the final stages of illness, patients are advised to transition to hospice care.
Why did my Doctor Recommend Hospice Care?
The doctor evaluates the condition and how it progresses, thereby making the decision to transition to hospice care from palliative care. This is a difficult decision for caregivers. The decision may beget emotions like confusion, grief, fear and anger.
In many instances the decision is made as a crisis response and often leaves the caregiver feeling unprepared and anxious.
It is important to hold space for all these emotions. While it may be easy to get swayed and view hospice care as a failure. However, every caregiver must understand that medical professionals make this difficult decision only after considering what is best for their patient.
When your physician concludes that their efforts are best employed to make the patients comfortable rather than treat the condition, they prescribe hospice care.
How to Cope with the Transition to Hospice Care?
The actual transition to hospice care from palliative care is seamless. The hospice care team upon contact, sends out a registered nurse to assess the situation and get a better understanding of the patient’s requirements. The process is quick and hardly takes a few hours when the conditions are right.
However, making the decision is a daunting task and can easily make a caregiver feel overwhelmed. Here are some ways to ease yourself when your loved ones are transitioning from palliative care to hospice care-
It’s okay to feel confused and hesitant at first. Transitioning to hospice care is a difficult decision. But like anything else, you can easily tackle the anxiety surrounding the transition by having a lengthy discussion with your family physician. They will be more than happy to walk you through the process and answer all your questions.
Understanding the diseases, its progression and the reason why your doctor advises hospice care can make it easier to make the decision.
Hospice care is prescribed to the patients who cannot cope with their illnesses and need end of life care. The decision to transition to hospice care from palliative care tends to cause emotional distress for the caregivers.
And while caregivers tend to put themselves second, it is important to deal with difficult emotions so negative feelings and thoughts don’t pile up. Most good hospice care teams have a grief counsellor or bereavement counselling services. If you need to share your anxieties with someone or talk about the transition to hospice care, you can always avail these services as well.
If you already have advanced care directives or have end-of-life goals as far as treatment is considered, you must stay informed and prepare in advance. It is always a good idea to research the different hospice care providers in your area.
Make sure you have all the right resources and information to make your decision when it is time to transition from palliative care to hospice care.
End-of-life care can help patients make the most of their final days and reduce their discomfort to make it easy on them and their loved ones. It is a necessary step that requires a lot of courage. If your loved one is suffering from a serious condition, and requires professional help or hospice care services, check out amedhospice.com to get information about our hospice services.