As the average lifespan in the United States is increasing, so has the number of people requiring hospice care. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in 2010 approximately 1.3 million people received hospice services. By 2014 that number increased to almost 1.7 million – with more than half being women.
More than 15% of hospice patients are between the ages of 35 and 64. If you haven’t had to deal with it already, hospice care is something most people will have to consider, whether that’s for a parent, a spouse, a brother or sister, a coworker, young or old, hospice certainly isn’t just for the elderly. Cancer is just one disease that can take someone at an early age, but when it is time for someone to give up on the fight and face a final fate, hospice services are often called upon.
Hospice care may not be for everyone, but it can be useful for anyone. Medicare is supposed to help pay for specialized care in the final six months of life, but many patients call on hospice care with only days left to live. This service can help the sick as well as their families. Hospice caretakers have a wealth of experience in watching people in their final days and often provide a great deal of insight and counseling on what to expect and when, which aids the family in their own time of stress and anguish.
“It’s not always about medication; it’s about understanding your patient and knowing what’s going on with them. Sometimes it is something that’s more emotional or spiritual that you need to deal with,” said Stephenie Nebelski, Executive Director with AseraCare in Altoona, PA.
AseraCare Hospice, part of the Golden Living family of healthcare companies, provides a holistic approach to care for patients who are in the last stages of a terminal illness. Their mission to provide patients and their families facing serious illness and grief the best quality of care and quality of life that humanity can offer. They work with patients’ personal physicians to alleviate physical discomfort while providing emotional, spiritual and bereavement support.
Wendy Faust, a hospice nurse for more than ten years, a former Golden Years caregiver, and a cystic fibrosis patient, recently shared her experience. Here’s Wendy’s story >>