When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make it?
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it's appropriate to discuss all of a patient's care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping aggressive efforts to 'beat' the disease. Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and always available to discuss them with the patient and family.
Should I wait for our Doctor to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their Doctor, other health care professionals, clergy or friends.
Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular treatment?
Certainly. If the patient's condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on about their daily life.
Is it difficult to care for a patient in their home?
One of the first things a hospice team will do is to prepare an individualised care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of care-giving needed by the patient. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions, provide support, and teach caregivers.
Is caring for the patient at home the only place hospice care can be delivered?
No. Although 90% of hospice patient time is spent in a personal residence, some patients live in nursing homes or hospital.
How does hospice 'manage pain'?
Hospice nurses and doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief.