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Hospice: An Option for End-of-Life Care

As your loved one’s health declines, he or she may spend more time in hospitals or doctors’ offices and less time at home. Maybe your dad has tried numerous treatments that either haven’t worked or have become less effective over time. Or perhaps your wife has several chronic illnesses and a procedure meant to relieve one of them has a disastrous effect on her general health. When you meet with doctors to discuss options, you hear suggestions for more and more “cures” but you look at your loved one, growing weaker and more miserable by the day, and think, “Are you kidding me? What if that doesn’t work—or makes things even worse?”

Another Option

There is another option: You can say “no.” When frequent hospitalizations and treatments are causing more problems and discomfort than improving your loved one’s health or well-being, you may wish to ask about hospice care.

Hospice care is appropriate when an illness has advanced to the point where curative treatments are no longer providing benefit and a person can expect to live six months if the disease runs its normal course. Receiving hospice and palliative care is not “giving up.” Instead, hospice seeks to improve quality of life through relieving pain and distress—physical as well as emotional, spiritual, and mental.

Hospice care from VNSNY is provided by a dedicated team of professionals with special training to help patients and families. Initiating care as early as possible, rather than waiting until a physician says, “there’s nothing more we can do,” allows you and your loved one more time to focus on what is important to you. Do you want to remain at home? Do you have relatives you’d like to contact while you still can? Your hospice care team can help you determine your goals during this time, and can help you achieve them.

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