There may come a time when efforts to cure or slow an illness are not working and can even be harmful, rather than helpful. If that time comes, you should know that there’s a type of palliative care – called hospice – that can help ensure that your final months of life are as good and fulfilling as they can be for you and your loved ones.
Hospice care is covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit (Part A), Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare and many private insurance companies, if your doctor determines you likely have six months or less to live if your illness follows its normal course. Unfortunately, most people don’t receive hospice care until the final weeks or even days of life, possibly missing out on months of quality time.
How do you know when it’s time for hospice care? When the burdens of a treatment outweigh the benefits. For instance, an aggressive treatment might give you another month of life, but make you feel too ill to enjoy that time. Palliative doctors can help you assess the advantages and disadvantages of specific treatments.
Following are some signs that you may experience better quality of life with hospice care.
- You’ve made several trips to the emergency room, and your condition has been stabilized, but your illness continues to progress.
- You’ve been admitted to the hospital several times within the last year with the same symptoms.
- You wish to remain at home, rather than spend time in the hospital.
- You are no longer receiving treatments to cure your disease.
Visit this page for more information on hospice care.