Upper Galilee Hospice - in the northern panhandle of Galilee, Israel.
There are many questions relating to involving a patient in a hospice. Hopefully, the following will answer some of your questions.
• At what point should a decision be made regarding entering into a hospice program? Who should make such a decision?
If you are or know someone with a life limiting illness, it is appropriate at any time to discuss all of a patient's care options, which includes hospices. Based on the law in America, the decision belongs to the patient. It is understandable that most people are uncomfortable when faced with the decision of whether to stop an all-out effort to beat a life limiting disease. The staff at each hospice is very aware of this highly sensitive topic and is readily available to discuss any concerns with the patient and the patient's family.
• If a loved one has a life limiting illness, or if I do, should I wait for a physician to recommend the possibility of a hospice, or should I bring up the idea first?
People should feel free to raise the idea of hospice care at any time with their physician. You can also mention the possibility with other health care professionals, clergy, or friends.
• What should I do if our physician is unaware of hospices?
Most physicians will know at least a little bit about hospices, although there are many places to go if your physician wants more information. There are medical societies as well as many other organizations that will readily provide more information.
• What if a hospice patient shows recovery signs and wishes to be returned to regular treatment?
If a patient improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can definitely be discharged from the hospice, either to return to aggressive therapy or go about their daily life from before. And, if a patient who has been discharged needs to return, that is accepted as well.
• What does the admission process to a hospice entail?
One of the first things that a hospice will do is to contact the physician of the patient in order to make sure that entering into a hospice is appropriate for the patient at that point in time. For those patients who do not have a physician, hospices have a medical staff that is available to help. The patient will be asked to sign consent forms that are similar to the forms that a patient would sign when entering a hospital. One of the forms says that the patient understands that the care is palliative, which means that it is aimed at pain relief and symptom control, and not curative treatment. It also tells about the services that are available.
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