It’s time to talk: Deciding when to call hospice

By JANELLE WHEELER
Executive Director Heritage Hospice, Inc.

It’s an all too common situation. A family is at a bedside of a loved one who is seriously ill and nearing the end of life. Each member of the family has a different idea of what should be done and what the patient would have wanted. Attempts in the past to talk about the “what ifs” have come and gone with no thoughts discussed and no plan in place.

All too often people wait until they are in the midst of a health care crisis before thinking about what options are available or what care they or the loved ones would have wanted. By waiting too long to leam about possible options, such as hospice care, people end up spending difficult days in a setting other than their home or In the emergency room, and opportunities to be at home surrounded by loved ones are lost.

When a family is coping with a serious illness and a cure Is no longer possible, hospice provides the type of care most people say they want at the end of life: comfort and dignity surrounded by people and things that mean the most to them.

Considered to be the model for high-quality, compassionate care for people with a life-limiting illness, hospice care includes expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support. Care is provided by an inter-disciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers. The wishes of the patient and family are always at the center of care.

Most hospice care is provided in the home, where the majority of people have said they would want to be at this time. Care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, general inpatient care, and hospice care centers. Care is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans and HMOs.

As a provider, Heritage Hospice can help with information about care options and choices to ensure you live as fully as possible throughout your life. We know it is not easy to enter into this season, but we are here to help. We are here to be present, to listen, to facilitate care needs, and assist you and your loved ones during this journey.

One of the best ways to make sure you and your loved ones benefit fully from the type of care wanted, is to talk about it in advance, before it becomes an issue. To speak to a hospice representative, contact Heritage Hospice, Inc. at (859)-236-2425.