When is hospice right?

Things to Think About Before You Need Hospice

We all put off making difficult decisions. We tell ourselves, “I’ll get to it eventually” or “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.” We also know life has a way of sneaking up on us and forcing us to make decisions before we feel ready.

Many people feel unprepared when they learn they have a serious illness. According to research done in Cass and Jackson counties, people often fail to plan for the last chapter of their lives.

It’s important to know your wishes and share them with people close to you BEFORE a crisis arises. This can make all the difference in having the best possible end-of-life experience.

So ask yourself now, if you had the choice:

  • Would you prefer to be at home at the end of your life?

  • Who do you picture being around you?

  • Do you want medical technology to keep you alive?

  • Who should make medical decisions for you if you are unable?

One other key question to ask yourself is, “How do I define quality of life?”

There is no right answer, only your answer. So, what really is important to you? Your answers form the basis of your advance directive, instructions about your wishes that you can provide to loved ones.

If you aren’t familiar with advance directives, you’re not alone. Research indicates that residents in the Kansas City area are in need of education about making end-of-life wishes known.

Contact us if you need help with letting people know your end-of-life choices.

When is it time for Hospice Care?

Does your loved one…

  • Have difficulty chewing or swallowing?

  • Fall frequently?

  • Have a weight loss of more than 10% over a period of 4-6 months?

  • Have a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness with a prognosis of less than 6 months?

  • Experience pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or discomfort that is affecting their quality of life?

  • Depend on caregivers to handle basic hygiene needs: toileting, bathing, dressing, feeding?

  • Prefer to concentrate on quality of life rather than pursuing aggressive treatments?

The Hospice Team

No one should face these difficult times alone. Serenity Care Hospice offers a team of compassionate experts.

We know you’re most comfortable with people you trust – the kind of trust that comes with familiarity. The sooner you contact us, the more we can get to know you and your whole family and make sure your wishes are followed.

Your hospice team may include:

  • Your primary physician

  • Hospice and palliative care physicians and nurse practitioners who are specially trained in providing pain relief and managing symptoms of serious illness

  • Registered nurses experienced in hospice and palliative care for calls, visits or crisis response 24 hours a day

  • Physical, occupational or speech therapists to help patients get the most from every day

  • Medical social workers who provide expert help with patient safety, financial and legal issues, memorial and funeral planning, as well as offer emotional support

  • Hospice aides for help with bathing, personal care and light housekeeping

  • Spiritual counselors to help find peace and forgiveness

  • Dietitians to meet the evolving nutritional needs at the end of life

  • Pet therapists to provide special companionship and joy

  • Bereavement counselors to guide families through their grief

  • Trained hospice volunteers able to offer companionship and breaks for caregivers

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