There is also the misconception that hospice provides 24/7, around the clock care. Trillium Palliative Services Nurse Practitioner, Barb Opperwall, says “It can sometimes be a rude surprise for loved ones in particular, especially if care is being provided in-home. They ask, ‘Where is the person taking care of my mom?’” While someone from the hospice care team is always available for questions or concerns, they are not always present to provide the day-to-day care. Each patient’s care plan can be different and dependent on where they are at in their end-of-life journey.
Which setting is right for me or my loved one?
Ultimately, the choice between in-home or in-patient hospice care depends on the level of care that the patient needs.
“It’s commonly misunderstood that if you elect hospice, you’re on some kind of house arrest,” Opperwall explains. “That’s simply not the case. If you or your loved one are at an in-patient facility like Trillium Woods, it typically means the patient is having such miserable symptoms that they need to be there, are simply not comfortable enough to leave, and are too sick to be cared for anywhere else. However, none of this means you’re not allowed to leave. In fact, the goal would be to get them comfortable enough so they can leave and still try to help people get to important events etc. If a patient IS comfortable enough to do these things, they’re probably not a candidate to be at an in-patient facility,” Opperwall continues. This could also be the choice of the patient or family if they do not have a caregiver at home.
When a patient is comfortable enough to remain in their home but they or their loved one need assistance with basic care, a nurse can come to provide that. Doctors can also be brought in if needed and a home health aide can help with personal hygiene, medication management, or changing wound dressings. With in-home hospice, intermittent care in the form of counseling, medical supplies, and different therapies can be provided based on a patient’s needs. In-home hospice can also be more conducive to friends and family helping out or visiting.