Many families are understandably concerned about someone else looking after a loved one in their home. There is a lot of confusion surrounding home hospice care and all that it entails. We’d like to shed some light on this topic to give you a better understanding of how hospice care works and what you can expect.
What to Expect When Starting Hospice at Home
Hospice care at home consists of 24-hour medical care for the terminally ill. As such, you should expect there to be a trained medical professional on-site at all times. If there are family caregivers involved, hospice can provide respite care to assist through this emotional and spiritual time.
What Does Hospice Do at Home?
Home hospice care brings the medical attention to your or your loved one rather than the opposite. Those suffering from a serious illness or terminal illness require end-of-life care at home. Home hospice care is designed to make the end-of-life transition easier for your loved one.
As such, a hospice team provides health care 24 hours a day in the home of the patient with a terminal illness. The goal is to ensure the quality of life in the final days of the terminally ill. Since hospice care is typically reserved for patients with six months or less to live, special considerations are given.
This involves bringing in a team of trained medical professionals to provide medical care around the clock. The life expectancy of the patient will affect the services provided.
How Do I Prepare My Home for Hospice Care?
When getting a home ready for hospice, families who are prepared help make the process less challenging for themselves. What’s more, they also tend to make the process less stressful for their loved one who is receiving hospice care.
Moreover, research shows that homes that don’t get prepared for hospice care have a greater risk of anxiety, depression, and grief for both the loved ones and the hospice caregivers.
Speak with the Hospice Team
Since it is so important to be prepared, it’s also worth noting that you should take the time to consult with the hospice care provider, as well as the care team. In preparing your home for hospice, it’s a good idea to start by making a to-do list. Have family members chip in and help with preparing the home.
When you are ready to proceed with hospice care, the hospice provider and the members of the hospice medical team will probably ask you for an overview concerning the house and what its environment is like.
This allows the hospice health team to get a better understanding of what to expect so that they can adequately prepare themselves for it. In doing so, they can be sure to provide the best care for your loved one during their stay.
Preparing a home for hospice and palliative care typically comes down to two areas: preparation for the caregiver and comfort of the patient.
Preparation for the Caregiver
Even though hospice services are being given in the home, it is vital for you to consider whether the environment of the home is conducive for caregivers to assist your loved one. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about going through the trouble of converting the home into a hospital room.
It just needs to be set up in a way that makes it easy for caregivers to do what they need to do while also being safe for the patient. Consider the following tips when preparing a home for hospice.
Make Sure the Home Is Accessible to All
One of the best ways to look at the home environment is as if it is a workspace. Again, you don’t need to worry about doing a complete makeover or retrofitting of the home. Instead, you want it to be ideal for hospice care, just as you find in a hospital or long-term care facility.
This means the convenient layout of furniture and items. Living areas need to be safe and easy for everyone involved to navigate. As such, the home should have significant space to move around. After all, you want your loved one to be able to walk around their home safely.
Remove Potential Hazards
Oftentimes, the patient needs assistance with walking. Therefore, you should make sure that the home is free of anything that has the potential to be a hazard. This includes areas like walkways doorways. If at all possible, consider installing safety bars to help prevent falls.
The bathroom, in particular, should be given special consideration to ensure that there are no slip-and-fall hazards. If your loved one has trouble getting around on their own, you should do all that you can to provide them with a safe living environment.
In addition to a safe environment, it’s important to consider any medical equipment that is likely to be brought into the home. This is why you should speak with the hospice team well beforehand to ensure that you know what’s coming.
Once you have an understanding of this, you can accommodate and make changes to the home accordingly. Do all that you can to rid each usable room of obstructions to ensure a safe environment for the hospice team and the patient.
With Hospice, You Are in Control
With most hospice care, you are the one in control. Typically speaking, your hospice team is comprised of:
- Bereavement manager
- Social worker
- Hospice aide
Everyone assigned to your hospice care arrives and adheres to a schedule that you have picked out. It’s important to keep in mind that they are there to care for your loved one, not to take over the home. As such, they will often turn to you for guidance and direction.
Hospice Gets Easier
Additionally, they will have answers to your questions and provide equal guidance for you. Hospice teams are confident about their abilities and gentle with the patient. With every hospice visit, you will find that things tend to get easier.
What’s more, you and your loved one will find yourselves looking forward to when the hospice team arrives. Hospice care is often a spiritual and emotional journey. A such, you need assistance to help you get through this difficult and generally unique time in your life – whether you are the one receiving hospice care or a family member.