At the tail end of the life cycle, there might come a time when you or your loved one is facing a terminal illness or rapid life expectancy decline, and some sort of hospice care needs to be considered to take one over the finish line.
The goal of this kind of comfort care is not necessarily to prolong the inevitable, but to provide the best quality of life and to relieve stress and suffering as much as possible while respecting the dying person’s final wishes towards a peaceful end. Pain management and a respectful transition is key.
End-of-life care refers to the medical care and support given during the time surrounding one’s ultimate passing. It does not happen just in the moments before a last breath or beat of the heart. Elderly people often have one or more chronic illness and need lots of special care for days, weeks or months before their actual death.
While many choose to die with dignity at home, under the watchful care of family or friends, others require some sort of medical assistance to help with pain, breathing difficulties, skin irritations, feeding and other basic humane interventions. Hospices or palliative care facilities can take care of those needs, as well as the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their loved ones. Anxiety, depression and fear are, understandably, often an issue when someone is facing their waning moments. Skilled hospice workers know how to deal with these things compassionately, and can also help extended family and friends emotionally prepare for the passing.
Most retirement communities, assisted living facilities and senior living complexes can help refer you to appropriate nursing homes, hospices or palliative care centers that can cater to end of life needs.