Mesothelioma is a cancer that seldom gets detected until it’s already in the late stages. The advanced state of the disease, combined with the cancer’s aggression often leads to a short life expectancy.
If you or a close loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it may be in your best interest to discuss hospice options for end of life care.
The Purpose of Hospice?
There are a variety of hospice programs and each one truly believes that even though a patient is nearing the end of their life, they’re still entitled to the highest possible quality of existence. When a patient enrolls in a hospice program they’ll benefit from:
- Regimented medical care
- Pain relief therapy
- Assistance with daily needs that they would require
How Hospice Benefits Patients Dealing with Mesothelioma
When a mesothelioma patient enrolls in hospice, the program is less concerned with extending their life and more focused on doing everything possible to improve the overall quality of it. This is done through:
- Pain management treatments
- A focus on compassionate, dignified care
- Counseling for both the patient and their loved ones
When is Hospice Needed
Hospice is set up to care for the patient in the last few months of life. Patients should consider entering a hospice program when it becomes apparent that the curative treatments they’ve tried aren’t slowing the progression of the disease.
This is the time when they want to concentrate their efforts on pain management. The medical team working with the patient should advice when it’s time to contact a hospice organization.
Types of Hospice Care
There are different types of hospice programs. Some programs are residential while others are set up to provide care for patients who wish to remain in their own homes. The types and levels of hospice care include:
- Routine home care which is a good choice for patients who need some help with pain relief and only need a nurse to help them a few days a week
- Continuous home care is provided for patients who have physical or emotional needs that have become too much for their primary caretaker to handle. When a patient gets continuous home care from a hospice program they will have in-home support available anywhere between 8 and 24 hours per day. The amount of care needed is determined on a case by case basis.
- General inpatient care is provided for patients who are experiencing severe pain that requires continuous relief. General inpatient care is sometimes handled at the hospital or at a residential hospice center.
- Crisis Care is a short-term care given to patients who have reached the point where they need round the clock medical attention. Most hospices will only provide 90 days’ worth of crisis care.
Dispelling Myths about Hospice Care
Over the years, many myths and misconceptions have been created about hospice care, including:
- Entering hospice means you’re giving up
- Once you’ve entered a hospice program, you can’t explore possible curative treatments
- It’s a selfish choice
The truth is that when you enter a hospice program, you’re really seeking the best possible care for your current situation and you want to make sure you enjoy a high-quality life that allows you to focus on enjoying your friends and family. Many say that hospice care made it possible for them to relax and really embrace their life.
It’s not unusual for a patient’s health to improve after they’ve been enrolled in hospice care, which is great. If your life expectancy suddenly improves, you can leave the program and then re-enter it at a later date.
Hospice takes a great deal of pressure of both the caregiver and the patient, allowing them to relax and enjoy their remaining time together.
Different hospice programs have different things to offer to their patients. Most have counselors who meet with both the patient and the caregiver to discuss matters such as:
- The best way to handle finances
- Making sure the will is in order
- Helping with funeral arrangements
- Final wish fulfillment