Unfortunately, a significant part of the human experience is the end of life. Such circumstances are often difficult to think about much less plan for. However, severe illness or incapacitation often forces stricken individuals or their loved ones to render such challenging decisions.

Fortunately, a service known as hospice might make these issues easier to cope with.

Hospice Care Overview

People possessing life-limiting illnesses might be suitable candidates for hospice care.


To receive hospice, patients must undergo a thorough medical evaluation and be approved for such care by a licensed physician. In most instances, recipients will have been formally diagnosed with an illness that is expected to be fatal within six months or less.

Care can be administered inside a medical facility. However, many of those who can choose to receive such services at home.

The Initial Planning Process

Should a patient be deemed eligible, a representative from a hospice-based organization will meet with the intended recipient and their close relations. During this meeting, the hospice official will likely:

  • Disclose the services their agency provides
  • Discuss insurance coverage options
  • Perform an independent assessment of the prospective patient’s medical condition
  • Provide the necessary paperwork

In some cases, these processes will be completed over several meetings. Admission into a hospice program is official when the necessary documentation is filled out and endorsed.

After Admission

Once the patient is admitted, their individual needs are identified. From there, a more comprehensive care plan is established and might include pertinent information including:

  • How often the individual in question will receive visits from medical professionals like doctors and nurses
  • The specific medications the patient will require
  • The specific supplies they will need
  • The comforts they desire

Initial plans can change depending upon the recipient’s needs.

Preparing A Loved One For Hospice

Preparing a family member or other close association for hospice can prove daunting. However, dividing said endeavor into certain steps might render the process more manageable.

Ready The Physical Environment

The first major undertaking loved ones must take is to prepare the physical environment. This means designating a relatively substantial and open area of the home capable of accommodating the egress of numerous persons and safely housing the patient’s required medical equipment.

Once space has been defined, the patient’s equipment must be situated in said environment. Specific devices will vary depending upon the individual, their condition, and said malady’s severity. Common materials could include:

  • A hospital bed
  • A wheelchair
  • Electronic breathing apparatuses
  • Bedside commodes
  • A shower chair

In many cases, Medicare will cover the costs of these items.

When the patient’s formal environment has been established, the focus should turn to creating creature comforts.

Specific efforts might include setting up curtains or other barriers designed to increase the patient’s privacy, installing mini-refrigerators enabling easy access to food and beverages, providing headphones and remote controls geared towards easier management of televisions and other electronic devices, and the purchasing of comfortable and easily accessible furniture.

Safety Proofing The Area

Once the patient’s accommodations have been established and set up, caregivers should then place emphasis on ensuring said location is safe for the patient and their loved ones. Safety-boosting measures could include:

  • Installing adequate lighting
  • Removing rugs
  • Ensuring the floor is never slippery
  • Tucking electrical cords away
  • Placing handles along the wall to enable the recipient easier, freer, and safer movements
  • Place anti-slip mats in baths or showers

Additionally, there should ne enough space separating equipment and all other objects. This enables free-flowing movement and reduces the chances of clutter development.

Attempt To Create A Sense Of Normalcy

Granted, the end of someone’s life is a solemn occasion. However, the entire focus of a recipient’s hospice experience should not be centered on waiting to die. Patients can and should be emboldened to enjoy these times as often as they can.

From a caretaker’s perspective, this means encouraging their relation to engage in as normal a routine humanly possible. Those receiving care should engage in their favorite activities and meet with friends and other relatives when warranted.

Caregiver Responsibility

Caring for a hospice patient can be an overwhelming duty. Loved ones might be able to stay ahead of this remarkable challenge through actions like:

Formulating A Plan

Caregivers are called upon to wear numerous hats and handle countless serious responsibilities. Fortunately, authoring a written plan identifying specific tasks and suggestions regarding how to carry said actions out. Specific actions might include:

  • Keeping track of the patient’s medical information
  • Scheduling visits from family and friends
  • Managing the recipient’s medication dosage schedule

Several copes of these documents should be produced and stored for safekeeping.

Request Help When Needed

There is no shame is asking for help. Caring for an ailing loved one is a physically-demanding and emotionally-training experience. Caretakers will encounter times when they are too tired or drained to perform needed tasks. When such circumstances arise, they are encouraged to reach out to volunteer organizations for help.

Tend To Their Needs

Optimal caretakers are those who preserve their physical and mental well-being. Said individuals will be of no benefit to their loved ones if they do not engage in health-boosting actions like consuming a nutritious diet, obtaining adequate rest, exercising, monitoring their own medical issues, and finding a few spare moments for relaxing activities.

Reaching Out To Us

If you or a loved one resides in Northern California, have recently been diagnosed with a life-limiting malady, and believe hospice might prove beneficial, please contact Central Coast VNA & Hospice. We enjoy a successful track record of providing superior home health care in Monterey County and surrounding regions.