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Making The Decision To Go Into A Hospice in Six Steps

Step Two: If you're leaning toward hospice care, where would you prefer to do it?

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Hospice care can be given in your home, in a hospice, a nursing or assisted living facility or in a hospital.

Think about the pros and cons for you of receiving hospice care in each of these places. If it's not clear, take the time to write down the pros and cons on a yellow pad, putting the pros on one side and the cons on the other. Some things to think about are:

At home

At home you would be surrounded by your things, your memories, your family, and your pets. You could look at the view you see on a daily basis.

You will receive the same medical, spiritual and emotional care you would receive in a hospice or other facility, although perhaps not as frequently. All the hospice team is geared to visit patients at home.

You will receive daily care from family and friends - which could be both a blessing to you and a burden to them.

Expense is minimized. There may be expenses not covered by insurance.

Can your home be set up for any equipment that may be needed to keep you comfortable? Do you have family members or friends who could learn how to use medical equipment if any is needed?

A nursing home, assisted living facility or a hospital

You will be an institutional setting, away from your home. Your room can be personalized with photographs and momentoes, but it will not be home.

Depending on its location, the facility may be difficult for family and friends to visit. There may be restrictions on young people visiting - and pets.

Unless there is a separate wing, you will be subjected to the noise and hubbub of a health care facility.

On the other hand, care is available 24/7 at the ring of a bell. Professionals and volunteers will provide day to day care instead of family and friends.

A hospice

A hospice is likely to be a more quiet with a more peaceful atmosphere than a hospital. You can get care 24/7 without having to rely on the people closest to you.

Ad comfortable as hospices can be, you won't be home.

  • In a hospital where the resources of the hospital are immediately available if you need them.

As you think about your choice, consider the following results of a According to a study by Joan M. Teno, M.D.and others, reported in  the Journal of American Medical Association in January 2004: "Many people dying  in institutions have unmet needs for symptom amelioration, physician  communication, emotional support, and being treated with respect. Family  members of decedents who received care at home with hospice services were more  likely to report a favorable dying experience." 

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