Hospice care is a special type of care designed to give a quality life to terminally ill patients. Patients with an incurable disease or those at incurable levels might not be able to provide self-care. Therefore, various professionals in a hospice setting help these patients by giving personalized care. The care is formulated to offer a positive and best environment in which the sick spend their last days. Hospice care can be delivered by public or private health insurance programs. The delivered care is beneficial to both the patient and their family members. The benefits gained by hospice care are worth minimizing the suffering of the patients in their last days. Hospice care is beneficial in terms of pain management, altruism, a good death, general satisfaction, and personalized care.
Minimized Physical Pain
Patients receiving hospice care report a reduced level of physical pain. Terminally ill patients, especially those in stage 4 cancer, often experience severe levels of physical pain, which are worsened by the treatment process. According to Wajid et al. (2021), cancer patients experience multiplied levels of pain during the treatment process compared to when they are not being treated. The high level of pain worsens their health and may reduce their life expectancies. Hospice is found to be an effective method of care for such patients because it offers a chance to discontinue treatment procedures. When patients are removed from hospitals to hospice care centers, they also stop receiving curative drugs and procedures. They no longer need to spend their remaining lifetime plugged in machines but live freely. Recently, my grandmother, who was terminally ill, was placed in hospice care and my mother had to move from Nevada to Pennsylvania to offer family support for five months. Hospice care, due to the discontinued treatment process, is reported to reduce physical pain.
Declined Psychological Pain
People receiving hospice care experience lessened levels of emotional distress. The idea of death often causes the feeling of loss of control in patients’ lives. Emotional pain is devastating, intolerable, and hard to manage especially while in the hospital. Some patients experiencing this type of pain show negative behaviors, including suicidal attempts. Wajid et al. (2021), in their study examining the experiences of hospice care patients, found that many patients attempted suicide before they started the care. The hospice care team, including family members offers adequate emotional support to the patients. The outcome is reduced psychological tension that builds in the patients’ minds, especially when they are living their last days. According to Fridman et al. (2018), proper information framing changes the negative attitudes about hospice, thus improving the emotional health of patients. Uninformed cancer patients have a negative attitude regarding the need for hospice care. However, by giving them the right information about the process alone, the patients alleviate their attitudes and improve their emotional statuses.
General Body Improvement
A combination of support from various hospice caregivers results in general body enhancement. Hospice teams, depending on different types and levels, could have different support teams. However, even when receiving hospice care from home, the team is always readily available when needed. In most cases, Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance organizations offers free end-of-life care. Thus, the typical team includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, home health aides, religious counselors, and family members (Fridman et al., 2018). These individuals offer different type of support that contributes to different parts of body improvement. For example, while family members may provide emotional support through love, nurses could provide much-needed baths and massages while religious leaders give spiritual growth and support. The combination of such types of support results in general body recovery and satisfaction. The study by Cross et al. (2019) shows that most cancer patients who receive hospice care usually are in high recovery levels during their last days. The patients tend to feel better and although they may die sooner, they rarely feel like their death is close.
Eagerness to Help
Individuals that receive hospice care eventually develop the eagerness to help others. Hospice care patients have their physical, emotional, and social needs met (Wajid et al., 2021). The satisfaction often triggers the feeling of selflessness and the urge to extend their generosity to others. Some patients, especially those that received the care they could not afford, felt more grateful. To show their gratitude, they wanted to help others in whatever way possible. From the study by Wajid et al. (2021), several patients in hospice care centers wished to help by observing and reporting the conditions of others when the doctors were away. The compassion given to hospice patients triggers new meaning in life, thus inspiring them to be of help to society. Furthermore, patients who are allowed to give back to society gain a special sense of respect and fulfillment, thus lasting longer.
Token of Gratification
Hospice care enables the receiving patients to show gratitude through tokens. Patients who cannot find other ways to give back to their society choose to donate their body organs upon their deaths. They want to save lives by donating needed organs such as the heart, ear, eyes, or even kidneys (Fridman et al., 2018). The grateful people felt that following the respect given in hospice care, they were obligated to improve other patients’ lives. Other patients felt the need to reward their property to their families and charitable organizations. As a way of showing gratitude, a great number of wealthy patients engage in charitable works during their last days. Other than donating their organs, the satisfied patients donate money, property, and even cars to charity organizations. Indeed, a study shows that families who offer hospice care to their loved ones may receive bigger rewards in the last will.
Terminally ill patients with low self-esteem learn self-love and self-appreciation in the hospice care processes. Many cancer patients are likely to experience physical changes, including shaved hair, weight gain, or weight loss (Cross et al., 20219). Such changes may affect them negatively by lowering their self-esteem. Having lowered self-esteem causes psychological distress, thus worsening the patient’s health. The supporting team teaches patients how to love and appreciate their changes in hospice care centers. The social worker offers psychological therapies that target improving self-esteem. The supporting team also offers symptom alleviation solutions that, such as balanced diets that may reduce weight gain or loss (Cross et al., 20219). Bald patients are given wigs to wear hence alleviating their level of self-esteem. Though these and many other interventions, the patients learn how to appreciate their status, thus improving their health in the last days.
Offers a Good Death
Although it may feel as if death can never be good, hospice care patients die a peaceful death compared to those in hospitals. According to Wajid et al. (2021), hospice care teams could offer painless death to their patients. In their study, at least 10 patients admitted that “a death that does not cause distress is a good death” (Wajid et al., 2021). In hospice care settings, the acre givers want what is best for their patients. They offer pain-relieving medicines, including sedation drugs, that put patients to sleep during their deaths. Hospice care receivers also do not suffer from treatment pain during their time of death. According to Currow et al. (2019), terminally ill patients who die in hospitals often suffer from a high level of distress caused by life-supporting machines trying to keep them alive. In the absence of these machines, patients die a peaceful death. They receive the best care to help in death navigation.
Hospice care receivers die surrounded by their loved ones and well-wishers. According to Cross et al. (2019), a place of death is a major factor amongst terminally ill patients. The value of the place of death symbolizes their connection with the people around them. Certain places seemed to provide a certain level of comfort in the time of death. Individuals might want to die in places where they lived for a long time, such as their homes or parents’ houses. Others who have suffered in their homes would prefer to die in different places (Cross et al., 2019). Similarly, while some patients find comfort around their loved ones, others would prefer to die in the care of strangers. Henceforth, hospices have the privilege of choosing where they spend their last days and from where to take their last breaths. For some reasons, spiritual people choose to die while in churches, while others do not make such choices. All in all, the chance to choose a place to die gives patients comfort, peace, and dignity.
Consideration for Others’ Distress
Hospice care receiving people understands the need to relieve their family’s burden of caring for them. Patients who choose to spend their last days in hospice care are considerate of their families. They want to relieve them of the burden of continued expensive care and hectic visits to the hospitals (Currow et al., 2019). By being placed in end-of-life care centers, their loved ones can visit them without restrictions and be with them for the remaining days. These settings also allow patients to be in their homes or near their families, thus providing comfort to their loved ones. Patients learn the need to die faster through the care offered in hospice centers to relieve their families’ burden of care. Some may even request professional end-of-life procedures to eliminate them as burdens (Currow et al., 2019). The hospice centers also provide additional support, thus relieving family members from doing all duties of care. Indeed, most terminally ill patients choose to live in hospice centers as a way of showing love to their loved ones.
Feeling of Contentment
Hospice care receivers feel contented by the actions of identification and meeting their needs. According to Wijad et al. (2021), all the study participants were satisfied with how their needs were taken care of in the hospice care unit. They expressed contentment with the support, compassion, and care the supporting team gave. A significant number reported that they felt better compared to how they felt while in hospitals. Happiness attained from the service delivery positively adds value to the life of patients. Living a happy life in their last days helped them find meaning in life (Wijad et al. 2021). That way, the patients also appreciate the time they had to live, thus cleaning their hurts against any grudges. The presence of various types of professional care delivered by the large team makes it possible to handle every patients’ problems. Indeed, many patients in such settings likened the place to a church or God’s place due to the good care offered.
Hospice care backed up and provided union between the patient and family. Families tend to scatter when they cannot afford to care for their ill members. Struggling families often fight over who should offer care to such people (Currow et al., 2020). Eventually, the patient becomes a burden that develops conflicts and division in the family. Hospice care bridges such gaps but relieves family members’ emotional and physical distress related to caregiving. The caregivers eliminate possible division in the families, thus creating a peaceful environment for the sick. The support team, through sponsorship of Medicare or Medicaid, provides financial relief for troubled families. Thus, with minimal distress amongst the family, the members can unite and offer the love and emotional support needed for a peaceful death.
Increases Level of Caregiving Knowledge
Families with minimal hospice care knowledge could also be confused and devastated by the condition of their loved on. For example, when my grandmother, who seemed healthy, was diagnosed with cancer at 89, my family was emotionally troubled. With no knowledge about hospice care, my uncles fell into turmoil while leaving my mother to make the major decision. She moved from Nevada to Pennsylvania to care for her grandmother in her last five months. At this point, I realized the importance of hospice and wished I had been more informed about the same.
Delivery of Patient-Centered Care
Provision of Patient-Centered Plan
A hospice care clinic or setting is formulated to provide customized care for the patients. The care centers are designed to deliver attentive care that may not be availed in the hospital (Currow et al., 2020). Each patient is allocated a specific team that is available at any time of need. The team, although might take shifts or visit when needed are always available for the patients. Consequently, the caregivers design a plan that meets the patient according to their personal needs. For example, each patient’s diet plan might be different based on their state of health. The customization of care ensures that patients receive the best care possible. Furthermore, attending to patients’ specific needs creates a peaceful and positive environment.
Offers a Sense of Dignity
In a hospice care setting, the sick can decide the kind of environment in which to die. The hospital environment is often noisy and stressful to attain a dignified death. Patients who cannot afford private wings or rooms are subjected to spend their last minutes listening to other patients’ noises from suffering. In a hospice care center, patients can be rendered their respective dignity by setting the death environment according to their preferences. For example, while some patients prefer a silent environment, others like to die while listening to soothing music. Such provisions, unavailable in hospital settings, symbolize the personalization of patient care.
Helps Deliver Patient’s Last Wishes
Caregivers in hospice settings are attentive to their patients and may deliver their last wishes. Unlike in hospitals, where the sick might die alone, those in hospice care settings always have a person near them (Cross et al., 2019). Whether in private or public insurance coverage, all hospice care patients are overseen by at least one professional at a time. Some patients, who might not have written, will whisper their last wishes before their death. Professionals in such settings are trained to be attentive and meet all patients’ needs. Therefore, they deliver or report all patients’ last wishes to their family members in cases where they are absent (Cross et al., 2019). In some situations, the caregivers often help the sick to write their last will from their death beds. Such type of care might never be provided in a busy hospital setting.
Hospice care is significant to the sick in terms of pain management, a good death, altruism, personalized care, and general satisfaction. The customized setting offers a peaceful and motivating environment suitable for the patient’s comfort. The terminally ill patient dies in the presence of their loved ones. Hospices, unlike hospitals are cost-free, the least stressful, and with controlled movement and noise. Patients in these settings have the right to choose places they wish to die. My grandmother enjoyed the personalized care given by my mother and died a peaceful death. Although many cancer patients may not opt for hospice care centers, most heart failure patients do. Thus, no matter who is offering the care, professionals or family, the care provides a peaceful environment.
Cross, S. H., Kamal, A. H., Taylor Jr, D. H., & Warraich, H. J. (2019). Hospice use among patients with heart failure. Cardiac Failure Review, 5(2), 93.
Currow, D. C., Agar, M. R., & Phillips, J. L. (2020). Role of hospice care at the end of life for people with cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology: Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. 38 (9), 937-943.
Fridman, I., Glare, P. A., Stabler, S. M., Epstein, A. S., Wiesenthal, A., Leblanc, T. W., & Higgins, E. T. (2018). Information framing reduces initial negative attitudes in cancer patients’ decisions about hospice care. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 55(6), 1540-1545.
Wajid, M., Rajkumar, E., Romate, J., George, A. J., Lakshmi, R., & Simha, S. (2021). Why is hospice care important? An exploration of its benefits for patients with terminal cancer. BMC Palliative Care, 20(1), 1-8.