No one wants to see their loved one getting weaker each day and suffering from their terminal illness. One might think that knowing someone close to you only has a few months to live is enough for you to consider getting hospice asap. But as it turns out, more families are playing the waiting game.
According to research, many terminally ill patients only get an average of 12 days in hospice. It is not that the patients refuse to receive hospice care. Most of the time, it is their families that fail to admit their loved one a lot sooner.
Importance of Hospice to Patients Nearing the End of Their Lives
We can define hospice care as one that focuses on improving a terminally ill patient’s quality of life. Note that this is not just for people expected to die within a few days or weeks. This can apply to patients with conditions or diseases that are unlikely to be cured.
Let’s say someone with a long illness chose to stop taking aggressive treatments. Getting hospice care means seeking symptom management care. This means working with professionals whose aim is not to treat their conditions but to help manage symptoms, provide comfort, help boost their quality of life, so they can pass away in peace.
Despite the perks, some families would wait before calling for help. It is not because they want their terminally ill loved ones to get the help they deserve. Everyone has their own reasons for delaying hospice.
Why Family Caregivers Won’t Seek Help Sooner
There can be many reasons why families often delay hospice. Most of the time, it is about perception. The stigma surrounding hospice care is often to blame for the delay.
Many people believe that the moment you seek such type of care, you are already giving up on your loved one. You are finally accepting death as their faith and that you are no longer willing to fight for their lives. Others simply think hospice is only for patients with terminal cancer diagnoses.
It can be hard for families to accept the fact that their loved one is indeed nearing their death. In an attempt to make their loved one’s life a little bit longer, they will scrap the idea of hospice care and look for ways to extend their loved one’s life. Some refuse to talk about their loved one dying soon, thinking denial would delay their death.
One important barrier to early hospice care is the lack of funds to pay for the specialized services. The good news is, most home health care services are Medicare-covered. Nowadays, many insurance providers offer 100% hospice coverage with no co-pay, giving both the patient and caregivers financial peace of mind.
Aside from financial issues, some caregivers believe approaching end-of-life care will only cause them and their loved ones to feel depressed. They believe that accepting the need for hospice care is speeding up the process. This is since the focus will no longer be about curing the disease but improving their remaining quality of life.
Consequences of Delaying End-of-life Care
When families and patients take too long before accepting hospice care, they are depriving the patient’s right to live a better quality of life before passing. According to experts a week or two of hospice is not enough to experience the full perks of end-of-life care. But sadly, many terminally ill patients only managed to receive a few days’ worth of hospice care before they go.
You want your loved ones to be as comfortable as possible during their last moments. You have the right to be in denial and want to fight for their lives. But learning how to accept their situation and giving your patient the chance to receive end-of-life care is a better choice. Why wait if you can make your loved one feel comfortable for a few more months instead of just days?
Delaying hospice can only increase the suffering of the patient. With end-of-life care, you and your reliable support of hospice care specialists can help in alleviating their pain and discomfort in lieu of their curative treatments. You and your loved one can utilize this time to spend more precious moments together, reminisce old and happy memories, and give each other time to accept the emotional and spiritual aspects of death.
Families can have more than one reason for refusing hospice early. But the earlier you chose to face reality, the easier it will be for you and your loved one to prepare for the inevitable. You can offer your loved more quality time, a chance to enjoy their last moments, and pain-free days the earlier you welcome hospice.