Cancer is a group of diseases that involve the abnormal and uncontrollable growth of cells in the body that grow, invade and spread throughout. With over 100 types of cancers that can start in almost anywhere in the body, cancer is both difficult to detect and eradicate. This makes cancer among the most debilitating and common of diseases, and a frequent cause for hospice care. Read more about how hospice care at home services can assist your loved one faced with the disabling symptoms of cancer.
The Role Of Hospice Care At Home
Hospice care is a type of care based on the philosophy that comprehensive care for seriously ill patients should attend to more than just their physical symptoms, and instead, focus on all of their holistic needs. This can mean attending to their psychological and emotional needs as much as to their spiritual and social needs. Hospice care at home is thus a type of specialized in-home medical care that focuses on offering patients relief from the stress and symptoms of their condition, as well as improving the quality of life in a variety of ways. Holding ourselves to the utmost standards of medical professionalism, our goal at Harbor Light Hospice is to provide compassionate and comprehensive care while promoting the absolute best quality of life for our patients and their families.
Hospice care can be especially helpful for cancer patients and their families, as cancer often causes severe physical, psychological and emotional issues, even after treatment has ended. Moreover, when treatment options fail, or when remission is no longer possible, patients will inevitably have complex medical needs as well as a desire to fulfill alternative goals and aspirations throughout the end of life process. In these circumstances, hospice care can be an invaluable resource that provides the full support necessary to meet the needs of both the cancer patient and their family.
At-Home Hospice Services For Cancer Patients
Again, the primary focus of hospice care is to provide holistic care for patients suffering from a life-threatening illness. This can mean attending to their physical needs (providing relief from pain and discomfort) as well as providing psychological and emotional support (relief from stress and anxiety). Read more about the variety of services that may be utilized through hospice care at home for cancer patients:
First and foremost, the central aim of hospice care is to alleviate the pain and distress of patients suffering from cancer, by removing signs of dissatisfaction, and regulating discomfort. Common physical symptoms of cancer include pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and insomnia. Hospice care services will also take active steps to manage a patient’s symptoms and to improve their quality of life. Moreover, hospice care services will work with the patient and their family to maintain comprehensive communication, while only utilizing symptom management options that align with their values.
Hospice care teams comprise of a diverse staff of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, caregivers, spiritual aides, and other specialists who are uniquely trained to provide care for cancer patients. These specialists will use their respective experience to attend to the varied needs of the patient and their families. By focusing holistically on a patients physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs, hospice care aims to improve the wellbeing of cancer patients in as many ways as possible.
Respite Care for Caregivers
Being a caregiver for a chronically ill cancer patient comes with many challenges. In addition to managing finances and taking them to hospital appointments, cancer patients often require around the clock support. That said, caregiving is hardly a task that can (or should) be done alone. Faced with the demands of caring for themselves and the patient can take a toll, causing many caregivers to “burn out,” and become so overwhelmed with work that they fail to support themselves. In these circumstances, hospice care can provide respite care services in the home which gives caregivers ample time for themselves to recuperate, recharge and refocus.
Caregiver Education & Emotional Support
In addition to providing respite care for caregivers who need a break, hospice care services also work with caregivers and the patient’s family to provide caregiver education and emotional support. As the cancer patient grows weaker and has ever more complicated needs, caregivers will be relied on more for support and aid. To counterbalance this, hospice care services train primary caregivers on appropriate ways that they can attend to the specific needs of the patient in the home.
Furthermore, by providing comprehensive emotional support (enlisting the help of counselors, therapists, spiritual aids and hospice volunteers) hospice care ensures that both patients and their caregiver’s emotional needs are acknowledged and tended to. This safeguards the caregiver’s peace of mind and makes sure they are receiving the same care and attention as the patient.
Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid/Medi-Cal and private insurers, but families may have financial questions as a result of the long term illness. As a part of the hospice care plan, social workers will help families with financial issues and financial assistance throughout their experience. After the death of their loved one, they can also refer grieving families for financial assistance through human services, if necessary.
Emotional & Spiritual Acceptance
Hospice care specialists can provide resources to help patients and families overcome many of the negative emotions that come with cancer, including depression, anxiety, fear, stress and other emotional symptoms. Moreover, because many cancer patients and families often look more deeply for meaning in their lives, hospice also provides spiritual support services. Some patients find that cancer brings them closer to their faith or spiritual beliefs, whereas others struggle to understand why cancer happened to them. Hospice care therapists and spiritual aids can help people explore these complex feelings and find a sense of peace or acceptance that is appropriate for their situation.
When To Get Hospice Care
Hospice care is typically recommended by physicians for patients who have six months or less left to live. However, patients or their families may request an evaluation for hospice as an option for their care at any time. Remember, this is an important quality of life issue that is better made sooner rather than later, and all you have to do is ask! If you’re interested in getting hospice care services for your loved one, don’t hesitate: ask your doctor for more information.
Contact Harbor Light Hospice To Learn More
To learn more about hospice care at home services for cancer patients or to see if it is a viable option for your loved one, contact Harbor Light Hospice today. Our hospice care program provides comprehensive care for all kinds of patients coping with a life-limiting illness. Find out how our compassionate, supportive hospice care service teams and extensive network of volunteers can significantly improve the quality of life for your loved one and family.