Hospice offers valuable assistance to patients who are nearing the end of their lives. Many people associate hospice with cancer patients, but this type of care is useful for those with a broad array of illnesses.
Patients who are suffering from heart disease and congestive heart failure can enjoy a higher quality of life during their final months thanks to hospice care.
When Is Hospice Appropriate for Heart Disease Patients?
In its final stages, congestive heart failure can be incredibly unpredictable, and varying symptoms make determining how long a patient can expect to live even more complicated.
This means that many patients who experience the recurring cycle of decline followed by recovery that is common in those with heart disease miss out on the vital physical and emotional support that hospice provides.
Here are some of the signs indicating it may be time for a heart disease patient to consider hospice.
- The patient has already received optimal treatment for their condition and is not a candidate for further surgical or medical intervention.
- The patient’s heart is abnormal, and they are suffering shortness of breath, functional decline, or significant symptoms of fatigue.
- The patient has advanced coronary disease or congestive heart failure with frequent angina episodes.
- The patient has already tried optimal treatments and has decided they do not wish to pursue additional treatment.
Keep in mind that only a doctor can make the clinical determination that a patient’s life expectancy is six months or less, which is required for hospice care.
However, it is important to be vigilant and ask your loved one’s physician about hospice when you see these signs because the earlier a patient begins receiving this care, the better their quality of life can be.
What Does Hospice Do For Heart Disease Patients?
The objective of hospice care is to manage patients’ symptoms and relieve their emotional and physical distress to provide maximum comfort in their final days.
Address Physical Symptoms
A large part of ensuring patient comfort involves managing patients’ pain. Hospice teams monitor patients to assess their levels of pain and help them find appropriate medication and other methods of pain relief so they can enjoy their life as much as possible.
Hospice teams also communicate with a patient’s cardiologist and other physicians regarding their symptoms, and they can provide oxygen, medication and any other medical equipment that is necessary for addressing their heart disease.
Provide Emotional And Spiritual Assistance
Hospice uses several approaches to help patients emotionally and spiritually. For example, volunteers provide social support, and chaplains are offered to discuss spiritual issues with patients in a way that aligns with their faith so they can accept what is happening to them with some degree of peace.
Allow Patients To Remain At Home
One of the biggest draws of hospice care is that it enables patients to remain where they feel most comfortable while they receive assistance, whether it is in their own home, with family caretakers or in a long-term facility.
Help Families Of Patients
Watching a loved one’s health decline can be incredibly difficult for families, so the emotional support provided by hospice extends to family members as well. Outlined below is a look at some of the components involved in family support.
Assist With Decisions
Families of hospice patients often face difficult decisions about their care and quality of life, and hospice teams can provide guidance in making these tough choices.
Hospice care is administered in the patient’s home, and family caregivers also play a big part in the patient’s care. Hospice teams educate families on how to best care for patients as they grow weaker and communication becomes more challenging.
Caring for a patient with end-stage illness can be incredibly taxing, so most hospices offer a limited amount of inpatient care so that caregivers can take some time to themselves to deal with family or work responsibilities or simply get some much-needed rest so they can return to their caregiving duties with a fresh perspective.
Hospice helps patients deal with the often-overwhelming emotions that accompany this challenging time in their lives. In addition, bereavement services are offered to surviving loved ones for as much as a year after the patient has passed away to help them cope with their grief.
Reach Out To The Supportive Hospice Care Team
If your loved one is dealing with heart disease or heart failure and their condition is worsening, get in touch with Harbor Light Hospice to find out how their care services can improve your loved one’s overall quality of life as their illness progresses.