TERMINAL ILLNESS presents a challenge, not only for the patient but also for the family. Relatives face a difficult decision. Should the ailing one’s life be prolonged at all costs, even if that includes needless sustained suffering? Or should they strive to maintain the best quality of life for their loved one in the time that remains?
For many, hospice care is a visable option, it is defined as care and attention to the emotional, spiritual, social, and financial needs of terminally ill patients. The goal is to alleviate the suffering of those who are terminally ill. Hospice is now available, even if to a limited degree, in about half the countries of the world. For example, because of the growing number of HIV/AIDS and cancer patients in Africa, most countries there either have such programs or are now taking steps to implement them.
THE GOAL OF HOSPICE
Some patients may feel that enrolling in a hospice program is equivalent to giving up on life. Family members may feel that placing a loved one in hospice is tantamount to waiting callously for him or her to die. However, hospice is not simply a passive resignation to the inevitable. Rather, it can help the patient to enjoy a dignified, meaningful life in the company of loved ones for as long as possible, while controlling pain. It can also give the patient’s family a chance to comfort and support their loved one for as long as that is needed.
Although hospice cannot cure terminal illness, it can address curable complicateds. Such as pneumonia or bladder infections. If circumstances changed for example, if a cure is developed or if the disease goes into remission the patient can return to regular treatment.
ADVANTAGES OF HOME CARE
In some countries, hospice care is given only at a health care facility. In other places, though, family members are able to provide care at home. With home care, the patient can participate in family life. Home based care also fits the cultural needs of many countries, such as Uganda, where the custom is for family members to care for the sick and elderly.
Under the home based hospice program, caregivers after have at their disposal a support team, perhaps including a doctor, nurses, aides, and social worker. Such professionals can educate caregivers on how to keep the patient comfortable and explain what they expect during the dying process. They also work along with the wishes of the patient and family. For example family wishes, the hospice workers will avoid unnecessary diagnostic tests or tube feeding when the patient can no longer process food.
Having professionals on call is a vital part of hospice, as these skilled men and women can supervise medications and ensure that the patient’s is pain free and at the same time as alert as possible. They van also administer oxygen therapy. The assistance of these professionals gives the caregivers and the patient confidence, eliminating the fear of suffering from severe pain or other distressing symptoms during the end of life phase.
If hospice care is available where you live, it can be a realistic, compassionate alternative to a hospital or a nursing home. The hospice personnel are professionals and compassionate. Their advice and expertise are very valuable. I believe there couldn’t be any other type of care for the elderly men or women.