Just as in everyday living, the journey taken at the end of life is physical, emotional, social, and spiritual in nature. Most importantly, this time at the end of life is also unique for each of us. Conversations about our desires for end-of-life care can be difficult and uncomfortable. However, avoiding the conversation may only postpone the issue until loved ones are faced with making care decisions for us. In fact, most decisions for end-of-life care are made under incredible stress. The last thing you want is to be rushed into making your “best guess” about what you or a loved one would want for end-of-life care.
When your attending physician informs you that you have a life-limiting illness with a prognosis of six months or less, hospice care is one option available to you. Choosing hospice care is a very personal decision that optimizes your quality of life and comfort during your illness. It also takes an honest realization that we are no longer trying to cure the disease, but are working to minimize the symptoms of the disease.
Debunking Misconceptions About Hospice’s Purpose
Sometimes people refuse hospice care because they think doing so implies “giving up.” The comforting truth is that hospice is about living each day to its fullest when faced with a life-limiting illness, maintaining your dignity, and seeking neither to shorten nor to prolong life.
Choosing hospice services is an affirmation of the meaning of your life, not giving up. It allows you to control symptoms and complete “unfinished business.” For your family or caregivers, hospice provides the support and training to deal with the fears and anxieties that are often part of approaching death.
Answering the Big Question
So is hospice care right for you? This question can be overwhelming but may be easier to answer after first considering other questions. When you have been told that you have a life-limiting medical condition such as heart disease, liver failure, or lung disease, think about the following:
- When would you want aggressive treatment and when would you want care focused on comfort and quality of life?
- What are your greatest fears when thinking about your journey at the end of life?
- What do you hope your journey at end of life will be like?
- Will there be financial burdens?
The combination of your answers to these questions will help you better understand whether or not St. Louis hospice care is right for you or your loved one.
Paying for Hospice Care in St. Louis
One of the most influential questions listed above is your ability to pay for hospice care services. Financial burdens from end-of-life on a family can be considerable. As a result, people may feel embarrassed or guilty talking about costs when they are facing end-of-life decisions. Luckily, St. Louis hospice care has extensive coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance, including:
- Intermittent visits from the hospice care team
- Pain medication, supplies, and equipment related to the senior’s life-limiting illness
- Short-term inpatient care for respite care, pain control, and symptom management
Expanding Your Access to Quality Caregivers
Hospice employs medical professionals skilled in symptom control and state-of-the-art pain management that coordinate care with your personal physician. Professional hospice caregivers go wherever you call “home” to treat and manage pain and to provide services that support you and your family as a unit physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
The hospice team consists of:
- Skilled nurses
- Home health aides
- Social workers
- Trained volunteers
In addition, St. Louis hospice care providers continue to offer support and contact to family and friends for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Bethesda Hospice Care is proud to be one of the few Hospice Care programs in the St. Louis area to have earned accreditation by The Joint Commission, a national independent survey organization that is highly respected for their accreditation program. Our interdisciplinary team focuses on managing your unique care needs, so you can focus on what’s important – living and loving together. To learn more about if hospice care is right for you, contact us today.