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How To Maximize Use Of Hospice


To maximize use of hospice care:
  • Make your needs and questions known 24/7.
    • Let the hospice staff and your caretakers know all your needs -- both physically and emotionally. 
  • Stay open to whatever happens -- including changing your mind as circumstances change about what you want done now and if an end-of-life event occurs.
  • Keep in mind that depression and symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, inability to eat or sleep normally, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting can often be relieved through medical care.
    • Be aware that it may take days or weeks to determine the best way to control pain and to fill your other needs. Give it time.
  • Keep lines of communication open.
    • Give the hospice written permission to speak about your condition with the caretakers you choose.
    • People are likely to want to talk about death. It is generally up to you to give them permission -- perhaps by the subjects you bring up. If you would rather not talk about it, let anyone who brings up the subject know.
  • Let your friends and family know of the availability of the hospice staff for their needs as well.
  • Let your family and friends know whether you want to talk openly about your situation, even though your choice may be uncomfortable for them. Family members and friends can be overwhelmed and upset by such talk and avoid it unless you bring up the subject. 
  • Appeal insurance denials.
    • If you need therapies to help control your symptoms and the insurer balks at paying for them -- fight (or have your caregivers fight for you.) Insurers tend to reject requests for treatments which usually aim for a cure -- even when they are used as in hospice care primarily to control symptoms.
  • Make sure the hospice has a copy of your Living Will and other advance directives that state your wishes in the event you become unable to communicate. The documents should include a copy of your Health CarePower of Attorney.
    • Make sure that each of your caretakers know your end-of-life wishes. For example, if you would rather they do nothing if a medical emergency arises.
    • Make sure your Will is challenge proof, up-to-date, and that at least one trusted person knows where to find it.
    • NOTE: Consider creating an Ethical Will. It will pass on to your heirs what you learned in life and whatever else you want them to know.
    • If you own a business, also consider writing a Business Ethical Will.
  • Have hope.
    • There is no such thing as false hope.
    • Do not give up hope. Focus instead on what you can do in the time you have remaining -- particularly with respect to your family and friends.

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