Hospital staff say that family and friends of patients sometimes refuse hospice or palliative care. They do so with the mistaken belief that the treatment will usher in the end of life. However, that is far from the case. Doctors recommend both types of care only after reaching the conclusion that curative treatment options no longer remain viable. Hospice and palliative care provide comfort and pain relief as well as guidance and reassurance for loved ones as well as the patient.
Difference Between Hospice & Palliative Care
Defined in the 15th century, palliative care means to remedy or lessen without curing. Hospice is a form of palliative care. Doctors refer hospice patients when they believe the patient will die within six months. On the other hand, palliative care is not subject to timing restrictions. In fact, palliative care can apply for weeks, months, or even years. What’s more, not every condition which precipitates the need for palliative care results in death. For example, cancer, congestive heart, kidney and liver failure patients may require palliative care. And many such patients survive their conditions. So do many who suffer from spinal cord injuries, stroke, dementia and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)…to name a few.
The National Consensus Project defines Palliative Care like this: “Palliative care is both a philosophy of care and an organized, highly structured system for delivering care. The goal of palliative care is to prevent and relieve suffering and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families, regardless of the stage of the disease or the need for other therapies. Palliative care expands traditional disease-model medical treatments to include the goals of enhancing quality of life for patients and family members, helping with decision making, and providing opportunities for personal growth. Palliative care can be rendered along with life-prolonging treatment or as the main focus of care.”
Hospice & Death
Long-time members of the funeral home industry, we regularly work with hospice providers. One of the most difficult conversations hospice or social workers face occurs when they need to inform family members to make cremation or burial arrangements. Understandably, families often struggle to make such an important call. Experienced hospice workers encourage families to make arrangements in advance, offering care before, during and after the dying process and during bereavement.
What Happens When the Time Comes
If your loved one dies at a hospital or skilled nursing facility; the staff will help you make arrangements after death. As soon as possible, a doctor or other medical authority will make the formal declaration and set the time of death. However, if the deceased passed away at home, the process is not as formal. If a hospice care worker is on scene at the time of death, he or she will complete necessary paperwork, certifying the cause, time, and place of death. These steps are part of the application process for an official death certificate. Such a form is necessary for many reasons, such life insurance, estate and other financial issues.
If death comes at home without the involvement of hospice personnel, talk with the doctor, medical examiner (coroner), the local health department, or a funeral director so you know how to proceed. At Foothill Funeral & Cremation, we work closely with medical personnel on scene and via phone to arrange pick up and storage of the remains, at the family’s convenience and according to their personal and religious preferences.
Some families like to spend time with their loved one after death. Others prefer a quicker pick-up. We work hard to accommodate every family’s requests. Once we take possession of the body, we work with family members and authorities on legal details. We also help to make sure the deceased’s unique personality and uniqueness of their life path is underscored throughout the entire process. Working with family helps affirm their relationship with the deceased; and facilitates healing after loss. Honoring the loved one’s life is truly an act of love we appreciate and support…for everyone concerned.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation Services in Glendora, California
When the time comes, if you so desire, we would value the opportunity to help you pre-plan for yourself or a family member or friend. Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart provide great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate settings in both locations.