At some point, the burdens of treatment may just become too much for your loved one: The nausea of chemo. The rigors of dialysis. Wearying trips to the ER. Perhaps the person you care for is already having these thoughts, to let nature take its course and stop fighting for health that stubbornly eludes them. They may wish to enjoy the time they have left—months, weeks, days—without futile treatments. To prioritize peace and comfort. Imagine time and energy to visit with those they love. The opportunity to eat what they want—ice cream, anyone? Or to simplify their meds—no more cholesterol pills.
Supporting your loved one’s quality of life can be profoundly rewarding. Both you and your relative may find it emotionally liberating to let go of complexity. Instead of spending energy on unproductive cures, you can create loving memories. A simplified schedule presents more time for reminiscing and intimate sharing between you, the person you care for, and other family members. Facing the end, reconciliation is common. Long-held grudges often disappear as people realize their bonds with loved ones are more important than the ill will they have carried.
If this sounds appealing to your relative, you don’t have to go it alone. Transitioning from curative care does not mean no care at all. Hospice can provide your loved one with many different types of support. And the services are paid for completely by Medicare and Medicaid!
- Weekly visits from a nurse to help manage pain and other difficult symptoms
- Equipment needed for comfort, such as a hospital bed, delivered to the home
- Bathing and grooming of your loved one several times a week by a nurse’s aide
- A social worker or chaplain to support emotional or spiritual needs
- All the medications your family member needs to stay comfortable (pain, trouble breathing, etc.)
- Instead of 911 calls and grueling trips to the ER, you can call hospice—anytime, 24/7. A nurse can provide guidance and have any needed medications or supplies delivered. Hospice care won’t stop the inevitable, but it can make for a softer landing.
None of us will be here forever. But on the last leg of the journey, it’s nice to have discomforts managed and caring professionals available for guidance and support.