HIV and AIDS are immunodeficiency diseases that continue to affect millions of people in the United States and around the world since they first began spreading rapidly in the 1980s within the gay community and in low-income countries in Africa. Since then, they have been proven to strike people from all backgrounds in many geographic locations. These diseases also affect people of different age groups, including children. Living with this disease can bring great stress, this is where hospice care for AIDS patients can greatly help.
Per the Center for Disease Control, 37,832 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with HIV in 2018. Thankfully, the number of AIDS-related casualties has dropped significantly since 2004, when this metric reached a high point (1.7 million deaths). In 2018, there were roughly 770,000 AIDS-related deaths, per HIV.gov.
One great treatment option for those suffering from HIV/AIDS — aside from antiretroviral therapy (ART), which prevents the disease from growing — is hospice care, which is usually considered when a patient is given six months or less to live. Here are some of the advantages of hospice care for AIDS patients and their families during this difficult period.
Patient Pain Relief
Hospice care is primarily intended as a comprehensive treatment method designed to address not just a patient’s physical ailments, but also psychological and spiritual needs. Pain and symptom management is an essential aspect of hospice care. This is especially relevant to AIDS patients because these individuals can frequently begin suffering from secondary diseases (“opportunistic infections”) like pneumonia, tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, and lymphoma or heart disease due to the reduced vitality of the immune system.
Research shows that hospitalization occurs much less frequently among patients who receive hospice care. A 2017 study by VITAS Healthcare, for example, revealed ICU admission rates were much more frequent among non-hospice patients than among hospice recipients (35.8% vs. 14.8%). There were also over five times more instances of deaths among the former group (74.1% vs. 14%).
Tailored Environment of Positivity
Another unique benefit of hospice care is that it offers customized treatment plans in an environment that emphasizes positivity. This entails treatment that includes skin care, re-occurring diseases and adequate nutrition and hydration. Each person has different skin and a distinct set of preferences and levels of sensitivity to food and liquids, so tailored care can be hugely beneficial.
Secondary Illness Training
It’s important for any caregiver to fully comprehend their loved one’s necessities as HIV and any secondary illnesses progress. Fortunately, hospice care workers are typically trained extensively for the virus’s final stages, since IV vitamin therapy can only be effective for so long.
Open Communication Between Physicians And Caretakers
Like with any major illness, clear, open and direct communication between medical staff and caregivers is paramount. This means both sides should regularly provide updates on a patient’s health status, including his/her response to different treatment methods. This can help a patient’s family make more informed decisions regarding how to proceed after a loved one passes away, and is especially crucial given recent additions of reimbursement codes for advance care planning by the Medicaid and Medicare Centers.
Call Harbor Light Hospice Today For More Info
Speak to the experienced professionals at Harbor Light Hospice to learn more about how hospice care can serve you and your loved one infected with HIV/AIDS.
Although based in Winfield, Illinois, HLH also provides care to patients and families in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. Harbor Light Hospice is committed to improving the overall quality of life for patients and their relatives, and boasts a team of highly trained medical professionals that includes registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, therapists and chaplains.
Their services include addressing high viral loads and low CD4 counts and frequent hospitalizations. They also provide 24/7 assistance so that your loved one is taken care of even in the event of an emergency. Grief counseling is also offered to help people cope with the death of a loved one. It’s always emotionally beneficial to find closure after loss, so don’t hesitate to ask for support in this respect.
Fortunately, most Medicaid/MediCal and Medicare plans — as well as private insurance companies — cover hospice care services, so there is virtually no need to fret over financing treatment options. Long-term follow-up aid is also available in many cases. Call HLH today at (630) 682-3871 or contact them online for more information about their services. Nobody should be forced to go through this difficult time alone, so remember that help is just one phone call or form away.