The Best Time to Learn about Hospice Care is Now

| By Jodi Horton

A repeated comment that we hear is people wish they had learned about hospice care sooner. Families frequently hear about hospice at the end stage of a long terminal illness, and many patients die shortly after coming onto service. Half of all hospice patients in 2013 received care for fewer than 18 days, according to NHPCO’s Facts & Figures Report. However, the Medicare Hospice Benefit states that the benefit is available to individuals with a life expectancy of six months or less.

Receiving a serious illness diagnosis is life-changing. Many individuals will set out to learn as much as they can about the illness. Within the research and the answers you will discover about your diagnosis or disease, we believe this is also the best time to learn about hospice care. Educating yourself early on in the process, at time of diagnosis, provides the opportunity for individuals to understand the services a hospice can provide as an illness progresses. Knowing the hospices in your area is important because one of these organizations may eventually serve your needs.

We hope that by having more information during an earlier stage of disease, families will have the chance to take advantage of hospice services sooner. They will be ready if and when the moment comes when the doctor says there’s nothing left to be done, or when a patient says they are tired of repeat visits to the emergency room and long hospital stays. An individual who has already researched hospice care and area agencies will hopefully be able to realize now is the time to call our hospice provider.

Let yourself be prepared for that “what if” moment. Give yourself the information you need to make empowered and informed decisions before the moment of crisis.

For more information about hospice services in Pima County and southern Pinal County, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890.

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