Hospice Care and Mesothelioma
Hospice care is a compassionate option for mesothelioma patients who are no longer responding to treatment. In hospice, doctors and nurses handle pain management and dietary needs. They may also offer counseling and support for patients who require late-stage care.
Hospice care can reduce the stress of family members who no longer have the ability or expertise to care for a loved one suffering from later stage mesothelioma.
Because mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer, a hospice care program may be the best option for a patient to get the round-the-clock care and pain management they require.
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What is Hospice Care?
A hospice care program can offer specialized medical care that a family member acting as a primary caregiver cannot provide.
Hospice offers round-the-clock late-stage care for those suffering from terminal illness. Mesothelioma is generally considered terminal, and life expectancy is often less than a year following diagnosis.
Hospice care is usually considered an option for patients who are no longer responding to medical treatment or no longer want to continue treatment. A hospice care program provides patients with the specialized care they need 24/7 while alleviating the stress and pressure from family members who may have acted as primary caregivers in the past.
Types of Hospice Care for Mesothelioma Patients
There are two primary types of hospice care for mesothelioma patients:
- Hospice homecare
- Inpatient hospice care
Hospice homecare is conducted at home with the help of a professional caregiver who provides medical care and comfort around the clock. This may mean cooking meals or administering medicine.
Inpatient hospice care is conducted in a specialized facility. It is often suggested for patients who have symptoms that cannot be managed at home. Inpatient hospice care may be better for patients who have uncontrollable pain or symptoms that require close medical monitoring. It may also be more useful for patients who require the removal of fluid from the body.
When to Choose Hospice Care
It can be difficult for a patient or their family to decide if or when to choose hospice care.
Hospice care may be the best decision if:
- The patient can no longer care for themselves
- There is no primary caregiver in the family with the specialized skills necessary to care for a mesothelioma patient
- The patient is in the later stages of cancer and is no longer responding to treatment
In these cases, the patient may desire round-the-clock care and help with pain management.
Why Choose Hospice Care?
Patients and their families usually decide to choose a hospice care program because they can no longer manage the symptoms of mesothelioma on their own. Unfortunately, for many patients, the pain can become extreme. Therefore, medical professionals are needed to help manage it.
Patients in the later stages of mesothelioma may also have trouble caring for themselves. They may need help with washing and putting on their clothes.
Further, patients and their families may choose hospice care to relieve the stress and burden on family members who have been acting as primary caregivers. It can be extremely difficult for a family member to offer round-the-clock care for a loved one with a terminal illness. This is especially true if they do not have a background in medicine or counseling.
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How Hospice Care Can Benefit Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma patients in the later stages of the disease often suffer from extreme pain, difficulty caring for themselves and mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
Hospice care professionals evaluate each mesothelioma patient as they are admitted. They and develop a unique care program for each patient based on their symptoms and individual needs.
Patients are able to receive pain medication and help from nurses or other medical professionals with bathing, eating and putting on clothes. Any other patient-specific treatments can also be administered by medical professionals in a hospice care program.
Selecting the Right Care Facility
To secure the best possible hospice care, it is important to conduct research prior to choosing a facility. This facility will be responsible for managing your loved one’s pain and reducing their symptoms during their late-stage care.
You can find more information on hospice care at your local hospital or cancer treatment center. Medical professionals and administrators at these settings will have more information on local hospice facilities. They may even have recommendations on top facilities to consider. You can also talk to your doctor about the right hospice care facility for you or your loved one.
Medicare.gov also has a Hospice Compare tool that you can use to compare local hospice facilities in your region based on quality.
Each hospice care facility is unique. Therefore, there are often differences in approaches to care and treatment that you should consider.
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Deciding If Hospice Care The Right Choice
Choosing hospice care is a compassionate option for a family member who is suffering from mesothelioma and no longer responding to medical treatment.
Each case of mesothelioma is different, so your family should consult with a physician before deciding between hospice homecare and inpatient hospice care.
Hospice care offers a wide range of benefits, including:
- Round-the-clock access to nurses and physicians
- Pain management
- Dietary supplements
This late-stage care can ease the stress and pressure faced by family members and provide mesothelioma patients with relief and compassion.
Seeking Hospice Care Support
Once you’ve opted for hospice care, there can still be many emotions involved. Grief, anger and confusion are commonly experienced both by terminally ill patients and the people in their lives. Hospices can provide counseling to help you cope with the strong mix of emotions that come with this tough time in your life. With the support of the hospice, you and your family can work to make the most of the time the patient has left and create memories to look back fondly on.
Our Free Mesothelioma Guide has resources to help families find the best care possible for their loved ones. Request your copy now.