Knowing when to seriously consider hospice care for a parent or another loved one can be very challenging and emotional.  Many people are unsure what to look for or what signs there might be to indicate that hospice may be the best option for their loved ones.  In this blog, I’ll outline 5 of the most important things to watch for to know whether your loved one needs hospice.  Please note that having one of these things on its own does not necessarily mean hospice is appropriate, but having multiple could mean that it is.

Treatment is Not Effective

One of the most significant signs that it may be time to consider hospice is whether or not treatment is effective.  If a patient with a terminal diagnosis is not responding to treatment, or even if treatment is very aggressive, it may be time to consider hospice.  One way to know if a patient’s treatment is too aggressive is to listen to what they say.  For example, suppose a patient says things that indicate they’re feeling exhausted or want to stop feeling pain or sleep comfortably. In that case, it could suggest that their treatment is too aggressive and isn’t helping them.  If this is the case with your loved one, it may be time to consider hospice treatment.

Increased Doctor Visits/Hospitalization

Usually, a patient needing to see a doctor or even visiting a hospital multiple times in six months could significantly indicate declining health. But, of course, the increased frequency of doctor visits is standard with old age, so it’s essential to use your best judgment.  If your loved one visits the doctor much more frequently for the same health concern than you’ve noticed before, it could be time to consider hospice.

Less Independence

One of the most significant indicators that a person needs hospice care is the loss of independence. For example, suppose your loved one has trouble doing simple activities such as bathing, eating, or getting dressed. In that case, this is a sign that they could benefit from extra care.  Or, suppose they are having a difficult time moving around their home safely.  Hospice services will help ensure they are safe in their home.  When a person needs hospice care, they will often stop doing the things they were once able to do.

Loss of Appetite/Weight Loss

One of the common signs that a person needs hospice is a loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.  The loss of appetite could be an indicator that the body is slowing down.  If this is the case, it may be time to consider hospice care.

You Are Overwhelmed

Many people in the United States take the part of a caregiver for their parents.  It’s a beautiful, selfless thing to do, and that should not go unnoticed.  However, this does take an emotional toll on the caregiver.  One of the best things about hospice care is that it ensures your loved one is taken care of, and it gives their caregiver much-needed relief.  Suppose you, for example, are a caregiver for your parent, and they are exhibiting the signs listed above. In that case, hospice services can help you spend more quality time with your parent and not overwhelm yourself with their care.  If you are feeling overwhelmed as a caregiver, hospice services can help you.

If you’d like to have a one-on-one conversation with an expert to see if it’s the best decision for you and your loved one, please give us a call today.  We have care advocates available to help you know what the best option is, regardless of whether or not it ends up being our services.

If you want to speak to a loved one about hospice but are unsure how to start that conversation, you can see this blog for resources.  We also have a Conversation Starter Kit, provided by The Conversation Project, available to download if you wish.

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