End-of-life care encompasses the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual support given to terminally ill patients with the goal of helping them live as comfortably as possible. End-of-life care is not only given in the moments before breathing ceases; it can be given throughout the time prior to the patient’s death—even months beforehand.
If you are on this page because you have a loved one who is in need of end-of-life care, keep reading to get a better understanding of it, particularly how you and your loved one can both benefit from it.
Differentiating Palliative and Hospice Care
Palliative care is care given to a patient to manage their pain and all other barriers to a good quality of life while they are receiving treatment for a serious medical condition, such as cancer. Palliative care can be provided regardless of the stage of illness and a person’s age.
Palliative care takes on different forms, depending on the stage of illness:
- Symptom management– This is intended to help mitigate the symptoms of a life-limiting illness. Symptom management is done across all stages of an illness—not only at a time when death is already imminent.
- Hospice care– This is delivered during the final months with the goal of helping the dying person live their remaining time to the fullest. Hospice care is essentially the support given to a person who has already stopped receiving treatment.
Hospice care services are geared toward addressing the full spectrum of needs prior to a person’s death.
- Bereavement support– This is apparently offered upon the time of death of the patient and is aimed at providing the bereaved family with their physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs to help them cope with grief.
Palliative and hospice care both depend on a team of people with varying specialties, such as:
- Home health aides
- Social workers
- Spiritual advisors
Benefits of Hospice Care
With hospice care, patients are able to gain a sense of control and get relief. Regular visits from a hospice aide or a nurse greatly reduce the patient’s risk for hospitalizations or emergency room visits; while talking to a chaplain helps soothe emotional pain and enables the person to make adequate emotional preparations for their death.
A hospice care team can also help family members navigate important decisions, which are intended to honor the wishes of the dying person, optimize their quality of life, and provide practical support to the caregivers. Important decisions may include the following:
- The best way to help the dying person spend quality time with their family and friends
- The emotional and spiritual support needed by the dying person and their family members
- The support the family needs to be able to provide decent care for the dying person
- Whether or not to withdraw life support (and if so, when)
- Where to receive hospice care (whether at home, in a hospital, in a dedicated hospice facility, in a nursing home, or in an assisted-living facility)
End-of-Life Care Services in Bastrop, Texas
At Serenity Hospice, our team takes a unique, personalized approach to end-of-life care with our foremost goal of helping patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses face death in the most comfortable, dignified, peaceful, and enjoyable way while providing their families with peace of mind. To live up to our commitment to providing first-rate hospice care services, we do all we can to enable our patients to live the best quality of life for whatever time remains—counseling them, reading to them, allowing them to reminisce, and honoring all of their wishes.