When you or a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal condition, consider hospice care. This type of holistic care is available to patients in the final stages of illnesses such as cancer or heart failure. It should not be seen as a time when the patient or the family "gives up," but has decided to focus on the quality of life instead of continuing treatment. Not only does it provide for the physical needs of the patient, but also their emotional support. Services can be provided in your home, a special facility, a nursing home, or a hospital. Here are a few of the types of services provided:

Medical Care
Even though you're not continuing treatment like chemotherapy for cancer, you still receive medical care to manage the pain or other symptoms. Your caregivers will be there to treat unrelated illnesses and symptoms like allergies or the common cold. The good thing about having someone with you more often is that you won't have to decide to contact your doctor when a new symptom arises. Your team of qualified medical personnel will work closely with your doctor to let you know your options for treatment.

A benefit of having medical care through this service is the facility has all the medical supplies and equipment needed to treat you. They take care of the logistics and work with your insurance company.

Continuous Care
You have access to someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may have family members that can provide most of your care, but you may feel more comfortable being able to quickly reach a qualified medical person when it's after your regular doctor's business hours. A hospice worker will come when you call.

Counseling and Support
Dealing with a terminal illness is emotionally difficult for the patient and their family. A team of hospice workers includes professional counselors to help patients deal with these types of issues. They provide guidance and support to the patient and family during difficult decisions. They also offer support to the family after the patient's death.

If a patient has other regular caregivers, such as family, friends, or a care service, the team can be a way to give those caregivers a break so that they can enjoy a vacation or a day off.

Hospice care may not be something you want to think about. However, it's important to consider all the types of support this service can provide to you and your family. If you or a loved one has a terminal illness, talk to your physician about hospice services available in your area.

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