This blog will discuss end of life care and give insight into what each option entails.
How do you take care of someone at end of life?
Choosing how to care for someone at the end of their life is an issue that doesn’t often get discussed, and as a result many people are uncomfortable with the decision they make. While it might be tempting to focus on “curative treatment” or simply letting things run their course with “palliative care,” it is important to know what all your options entail before making any decisions.
What are the types of end of life care?
Here are three different types of care that you should know about before making any decisions: curative treatment, palliative care, and hospice care.
Curative treatment refers to the treatments a doctor would typically give in order to cure a disease. When these types of treatments are used to prolong life, they usually result in more intense and frequent healthcare visits, leading to increased costs. The treatment can also be uncomfortable and may have serious side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. This may lead to under nutrition for the patient. In addition, some patients may not like the idea that they need help from a healthcare professional just to go about their daily functions. Because curative treatment is focused on curing the disease it does not focus on comfort or quality of life for the patient.
Palliative care is focused on improving the quality of life and supporting family and caregivers. Palliative care strives to manage pain and other symptoms that may be experienced by a patient. Palliative care is more concerned with comfort at this point in time rather than curing a disease. The focus is not only on the physical symptoms but also mental, emotional and spiritual needs for the patient. While many people think that palliative care is only for those at home close to death, it can be used at any time during a serious illness.
Hospice is also focused in improving the quality of life for the patient, family and caregivers. Like palliative care, hospice teams focus on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being of a patient. Hospice care is often used when curative treatment has stopped working or if a condition cannot be cured. Hospice begins when curative treatment ends and focuses on helping patients to maintain their daily living activities while at home or in an institution such as a hospice facility. Hospice focuses on managing symptoms so that the patient can live comfortably and without worry about their illness rather than just trying to prolong life. The length of time in hospice care varies from person to person, but can last for months to the full amount of time. Hospice is used regardless if a patient is at home or in an institution such as a hospice facility.
What Should be Considered Before Choosing Care?
Anyone with a serious medical condition may benefit from considering palliative care, curative treatment or hospice care. The choice you make will depend on many factors.
If you have a loved one that needs end of life care you should know more about What decisions do you need to make about care at the end of life?