Mesothelioma Hospice Care
Hospice care may be a consideration for mesothelioma patients and families because of the short life expectancy of the disease. Hospice can be a compassionate option for end-of-life care.
What is Hospice?
Hospice operates on the philosophy that regardless of prognosis, every patient should have a high quality of life. Hospice care combines compassion with medical expertise, providing pain relieving treatment with daily assistance for the patient’s basic needs.
Benefits of Hospice for Mesothelioma Patients
Hospice doesn’t attempt to impact the length of a patient’s life, but rather improve the quality of it. Pain-relieving, or palliative, treatments can help make a mesothelioma patient more comfortable.
The medical and caregiving staff at hospice should be dedicated to making patients’ lives better, including sensitivity and kindness in daily interactions. Having someone who is understanding and compassionate can bring peace to patients and their families.
The short prognosis associated with mesothelioma can be hard on the patient and family. End-of-life care isn’t easy for anyone. Hospice counselors can provide emotional, mental and spiritual help for patients who are facing an extremely difficult time.
When Hospice Should be Considered
When mesothelioma is diagnosed, it is often in such a late stage that the patient’s life expectancy is fairly short. Hospice can be a good choice for people who aren’t responding to curative treatments and want to alleviate the pain caused by mesothelioma.
Levels of Hospice Care
Hospice can be offered in different forms depending on the needs of the patient. Some people prefer hospice assistance in their own homes and others require an inpatient program. The levels of hospice care include:
Routine Home Care
The most basic level of hospice care, routine home care provides pain-relieving medical treatment to patients within their own homes. At this level, a nurse will visit the patient a few times a week to deliver care.
Continuous Home Care
For patients experiencing physical or emotional symptoms that require more intensive care, continuous home care will be provided on a more regular basis. Medication and support are provided between 8-24 hours per day, depending on the patient’s needs.
General Inpatient Care
For those with severe pain caused by advanced stages of mesothelioma, inpatient care provides around-the-clock relief. Inpatient care is available through hospitals or freestanding facilities. If a patient’s condition improves, they are always able to return home.
Respite or Crisis Care
Provided on a short-term basis in the event of a caregiver being unable to continue taking care of the patient, respite care allows for a few days of around-the-clock treatment. This type of care is a temporary solution, offered approximately every 90 days.
Myths of Hospice Care
There are many misconceptions surrounding hospice care and its purpose. People facing this difficult time are often unsure of what to think, and misunderstandings can cause them to miss out on an opportunity for high-quality care. Here are some of the common myths related to hospice care:
Common Hospice Myths
- It means you’re giving up. Mesothelioma patients who are ineligible for or have stopped responding to curative treatments may feel like hospice is simply giving up. The difference between hospice and mesothelioma treatment is that hospice aims to provide patients with a high quality of life, no matter how long it may be. Hospice is an opportunity to embrace life by making the most of it.
- Once you’re there, you can’t leave. Enrolling in an inpatient treatment program does not mean you have to stay there forever. If a patient’s health improves, they are able to return home.
- It’s selfish. A caregiver may be a family member or spouse who tends to the needs of a mesothelioma patient. Hospice can help alleviate some of the duties of the caregiver, allowing them time to take care of themselves or other needs of the mesothelioma patient.
Counselors can also help with end-of-life planning to provide patients with peace of mind. End-of-life planning is something many families and patients should consider. Some of the main aspects of planning that a counselor can help with include:
- Funeral arrangements
- Finances and debt
- Naming beneficiaries
The Role of the Caregiver in Hospice
If you are caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you know how stressful it can be to handle this on your own. Dealing with the emotional aspect of a short prognosis as well as the physical demands of daily needs can take their toll.
Hospice can provide additional support for the mesothelioma patient, ensuring their needs are met at all times. It also gives the caregiver an opportunity to rest and recharge from their round-the-clock duties. Find out more about the role of a caregiver.
The patient advocate team at Mesothelioma Guide has helped thousands of families through their battles with mesothelioma. Our advocates are experienced in every step of helping patients and their families: from locating treatment centers down to the more personal aspects of a mesothelioma diagnosis, including hospice care. If you’ve decided hospice care is right for you and your family, we can help you get in touch with a care facility today. Learn more about assisted-living and explore your options in our free Mesothelioma Guide.