Making the decision to transition your loved one to hospice care (for people whose medical conditions mean they are expected to die within six months) is a time of emotional upheaval. It’s often accompanied by confusion, with little understanding of available options or how hospice actually works.
Knowing ahead of time which hospice services are available and the tasks you may be required to take on can help you make the right choices when decision time comes.
Home Hospice, Hospital-Based Care or Stand-Alone Facility
One of the first things you will need to decide is whether to use a home hospice service, hospital-based care or — if available — a stand-alone facility. Nursing homes may also have hospice units or hospice floors.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each, according to Gilbert Oakley, a hospice nurse with Visiting Nurse Service of New York, who’s been providing home hospice care for over a decade.
You’ll have to balance what the person who is dying wants versus what you and the family can realistically provide.