What To Expect For Your Loved One
Photo via Pixabay by Sabinevanerp
Hospice care can be a huge benefit for individuals who are terminally ill and their families. Not only does it provide a safe place to rest, it gives loved ones the chance to make final arrangements without the stress of also being caregivers. It can be one of the most difficult times in our lives to see someone we love grow sick and not be able to ease their pain or discomfort, but hospice care can go a long way toward doing just that. There are so many things to think about and plan for, including preparing for the funeral and making tough financial decisions, and knowing that you don’t have to go through it alone can be extremely helpful.
It’s important to keep in mind that your loved one may still be cognizant of the fact that they need to make end-of-life decisions; being careful about allowing them to have a say in their final arrangements will help ease both your minds. Hospice professionals can assist with this, and can make the process much easier for everyone.
Here are a few tips on how to ensure your loved one receives the best care while making sure you’re prepared.
Get to know your hospice team
The team of people who will be working with you and your loved one will be important to you and your family over the coming weeks and months, so it’s a good idea to get to know them and get familiar with how it all works. Ask about their history with that particular hospice center, and find out more about their education. Keep in mind that hospice social workers usually go through a Master's of Social Work program offered by one of 223 accredited U.S. universities, or from one of the 12 schools with online programs, so don’t be put off if you see an online degree in their background -- this is not unusual. It’s also a good idea to get to know the nursing staff, as you will be seeing them regularly and want to foster a good, communicative relationship.
Keep your loved one comfortable
Every patient who stays in hospice care has different needs, so it’s important to ask about what you can do to help your loved one stay comfortable and pain-free. They might enjoy having some items from home in their room (as long as it’s safe; ask hospice staff first, especially if your loved one is living with cancer or has a lowered immune system), or they may want warm blankets or items that will help them use the toilet facilities more easily.
How to plan for the funeral
The cost of a funeral can go into the tens of thousands of dollars -- the average service is between $7,000 and $9,000 -- so it’s crucial to understand what you should expect and to start planning as early as possible. Planning ahead can be emotionally overwhelming, so go slowly and ask for help when you need it. Consider talking to your loved one about their specific wishes as far as the service is concerned and whether they want a burial or cremation; you can ask your hospice social worker for assistance if necessary. Do a little research to see if your loved one is eligible for burial insurance, which can offset costs associated with the funeral or medical bills.
Take care of your needs, too
Having a loved one in hospice care can be very difficult on you and your family members, so it’s crucial to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat small meals throughout the day to keep your energy up, and reduce stress as much as possible by asking for help from friends, loved ones, and hospice staff. The more you can do to help yourself stay on track, the more you’ll be able to take care of your loved one’s needs.
Hospice care can be a gift to families who are overwhelmed with grief, stress, and caregiving tasks. Doing all you can to understand what to expect will help you reduce some of those feelings, both for yourself and for your loved one, so that everyone can come to terms with the process and get through it a bit more easily.