Hospice care is generally provided to patients with a life expectancy of six months or less. It focuses on making the remaining time as comfortable and as meaningful as possible rather than seeking a cure.
Hospice can provide inpatient care in a hospital, nursing home or in the patient’s own home. Respite assistance is available to the caregivers and bereavement support for families dealing with the death of a loved one.
Palliative care refers to care given to people with life threatening chronic illness, such as heart disease, kidney failure or Alzheimer’s which cannot be cured and therefore require long-term management of symptoms. As with hospice care, the main aim of palliative care is to give comfort to and manage pain in the patient.
For more information on hospice care go to: www.njhospice.org
When considering providing hospice or palliative care for a loved one, there are two important documents that you should have for their protection.
- Advanced Directive: This states what limits on the level of care you want for them (e.g. do not resuscitate, etc.)
- Health Care Proxy: This legally assigns someone to act as agent to make health care decisions when the patient is unable to make them.
- A Combined Document: Five Wishes form is an excellent document that includes both of the above documents. In most cases it is advisable to have a Combined Directive. For more information visit: www.agingwithdignity.org