Mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety are common among hospice care patients as well as their family members. The severity of mental health concerns in hospice care patients and its impact on their overall quality of life and well-being should not be understated, and it is important to have a healthy and effective way of dealing with mental health challenges for hospice care patients.
The Correlation Between Severe Illness and Declining Mental Health
Severe or terminal illness can increase the risk of declining mental health. Declining mental health can, unfortunately, lead to a decline in the patient’s physical condition as well. Due to this correlation, hospice care providers focus on the patient’s overall well-being, which includes their psychological, mental, emotional, and spiritual state in addition to their physical health.
The Risks of Leaving Mental Health Concerns Untreated in Hospice Patients
The most notable complications that hospice patients who deal with declining mental health face include a decreased quality of life, an increased risk of self harm, an increased risk of physical health complications, a lack of will to continue living, and conflict between family members who help care for them. Many of these concerns are also applicable to family members of the patient as well.
Decreased Quality of Life
One of the primary purposes of hospice care is to improve the overall quality of life for the patient. This means not only caring for their physical needs, but it also includes caring for the patient’s mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs as well.
When a hospice patient’s mental health declines, it can, unfortunately, have a significant impact on their overall quality of life and well-being, and they may begin to feel more hopeless and depressed. The good news, however, is that hospice care providers usually have a team of nurses, counselors, and chaplains that can help perk up the patient’s spirit when they are battling mental health concerns.
Increased Risk of Self Harm
The risk of self harm may increase for terminally ill patients as well. In most cases, this manifests itself in a decreased will to live, which can increase the risk of their body shutting down as they stop fighting. By keeping the patient in good spirits and in a good place mentally, they can enjoy the end of life stages more by spending time with loved ones and caregivers.
Increased Risk of Physical Health Complications
There is a strong correlation between the mental well-being of hospice patients and the quality of their physical health, and patients who are mentally healthier are able to live longer on average in hospice care than patients who are dealing with mental health complications. While this can seem concerning if your loved one is dealing with mental health complications, it also means that they may be able to enjoy the physical benefits that many patients do if they are able to improve the condition of their mental health.
A Reduced Will to Live for Terminally Ill Patients
As mentioned, many patients in hospice care who have a mental health concern start to have a decreased will to live, which can make their condition worse and limit the amount of time they have left to spend with their loved ones.
This is why many hospice care providers focus heavily on the overall well-being of the patient, ensuring they have the emotional and spiritual counseling they need to remain in good spirits and having a strong will to live.
A Negative Effect on Family Members
Unfortunately, a patient who has declining mental health can begin to affect the mental health of family members as well. Family members may feel helpless as their loved one is battling mental health issues or feel as if it is their fault, which can lead to them blaming themselves for not spending more time with their loved one or feeling as if they are not providing them with the care they need in addition to hospice care.
How to Handle Mental Health Challenges in Hospice Care
Fortunately, hospice care providers understand how to best deal with mental health complications in their patients, and they usually have a dedicated team of mental health counselors, chaplains, and others who can assist with the mental, spiritual, and psychological well-being of the patient.
Contact Harbor Light Hospice Today to Get Started With Hospice Care
If you have questions about hospice care for yourself or your loved one, or if you are ready to begin hospice care, then call us or send us a message today for answers or to get started. We can guide you through the process of beginning hospice care, ensuring you are informed and the patient is comfortable every step of the way.