Pallative Care and Hospice Programs

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Speaking to a loved one about end of life decisions is never easy, and in most cases is not discussed until someone has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. When a loved one is faced with a poor prognosis, the family is confronted with important decisions on how to provide end of life care for them. The nurse can be instrumental in helping the patient and family decide whether they want to stay in the hospital, or go home for their final days. Helping the family set up an advanced directives is important so the family is aware of the patient’s wishes in the event that they can no longer make their own decisions. It also reduces any anxiety that the family members may be feeling if the patient has their wishes laid out for them to follow. Many elderly patients prefer to die at home and should be given the option to do so. Hospice care can assist these families with caring for their loved ones. During this time, when the treatments for a person’s disease may stop, the care the individual needs will continue. The primary concern is to ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible and that any emotional and psychological needs are being addressed. “For many, hospice is a frightening word because it is associated with end of life. But really the confusion is due to not understanding what hospice is and how it can help people who are sick and their families. Often, the biggest myth surrounding hospice care is that the family has given up and hospice is a final surrender. But hospice is a way for people to prioritize the wishes of the patient and the family and is in no way "giving up." It is a specialized care and support that works to create ease and comfort for the patient and the family” (Geisman, 2007-2014, para. 2-3). Also of great importance are the needs of the family members for support during this time. Hospice is a comprehensive holistic service

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