April 5, 2013
At a difficult time, when her father was diagnosed with less than six months to live, Beth ran into a frustrating predicament:
Since Mom died, Sissy and I make regular trips to visit Dad. Lately, his health has been declining and now he needs hospice care, but he really wants to stay in the home he and mom shared. We want to honor Dad’s wishes, but hospice won’t come unless Dad has a full-time caregiver. We live so far away, we’ve got our own kids to take care of, and neither one of us can afford to give up our jobs.
The Limits of Hospice Care
You may be surprised to learn that some hospice programs — about 12 percent nationwide, according to a survey published in the December 2012 issue of Health Affairs — refuse to accept patients who don’t have a full-time caregiver at home. If a hospice provider denies a patient, it’s usually because the provider believes the environment could be unsafe for the patient without an around-the-clock caregiver.
Both the American Cancer Society and the National Caregivers Library recommend that you ask hospice providers if they require a primary caregiver before choosing a service.
If the service does require a caregiver’s presence 24/7, there are options for you to ensure your loved one receives the right care while giving you the flexibility to attend to your own needs and responsibilities.
How In-Home Care Can Help
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to be the designated round-the-clock caregiver. Non-medical in-home care providers, such as the Home Instead Senior Care® network, can supplement the care given by hospice or palliative care teams by providing:
- Emotional support,
- Personal care*,
- Assistance with day-to-day activities, and
- Vital respite for you and other family members.
*Please check your local office as not all Home Instead Senior Care locations offer personal care services.
Professional in-home caregivers compliment the care hospice provides services up to 24/7 for your loved one when you can’t be there. Caregivers employed by a home care service can work closely with the hospice team to ensure your loved one spends his or her final days with dignity and in comfort. Non-medical in-home care services can be provided in the home or in an assisted living, extended care, hospital or hospice facility.
Whether you opt for hospice care at home or in a care facility, if you are the primary family caregiver, the Hospice Foundation of America says it’s important for you to practice self-care. Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly can:
- Give a sense of well-being,
- Offer a renewed sense of control,
- Contribute to your overall health, and
- Help you provide better care.
The Hospice Foundation also recommends giving yourself respite by finding others who can share in the caregiving duties. With the right support system, you can spend critical time with your loved one without giving up your other responsibilities.
Getting In-Home Care Support
If you’d like information about how Home Instead CAREGiversSM can work with your hospice team, please visit www.HomeInstead.com or call the Home Instead Senior Care Support LineSM at 800-640-3914 to locate an office near you.
Choosing a Hospice Provider
Start your search for a hospice agency by asking your loved one’s physician or a geriatric care manager for recommendations. You can also call the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Help Line at 800-658-8898.
Download the Hospice Guide
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