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KNOWING YOUR OPTIONS
A TIME magazine article back in 2013 stated:
"For eons, folks grew old, endured the symptoms, and died when it was their time—according to God’s will, some would say, even if it involved fighting through lingering illness, pain and suffering, or years of mental or physical incapacitation. A “good” death was about having lived long enough to see grandchildren, put one’s affairs in order, and pass away surrounded by a loving family. Boomers don’t see it that way. To them, a good death is more about a good life ..."
Many are embracing the idea that quality of life should be the most important issue for patients and families facing terminal illness. People are voicing their desire to have death with dignity and some don't want to "live an extra decade in some hospital or nursing home with tubes up their nose." (Ken Dychtwald, author and gerontologist).
Hospice seeks to optimize the quality of life for the terminally ill and their loved ones, while neither hindering nor hastening the dying process. Hospice is not a place but rather a type of care that enables a peaceful death. It is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, HMOs, the Veterans Administration, and most private health insurers.
To qualify for hospice, your doctor must determine you have six months or less to live and you must decline further curative treatments. A referral from a doctor, who may remain your primary care physician while you are on hospice, is required. Hospice caregivers control pain and other symptoms and provide counseling, family support, and many other services. Additionally, home hospice helps people remain in control and die at home, which most people prefer.
See Hospice Page for additional information.
For those who cannot remain at home, inpatient hospice facilities are also available to provide hospice services in a facility setting. Hospice is also often provided in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.
Although Milestone does not have it's own inpatient hospice facility, our team does care for patients in their homes or in one of several existing nursing homes.
Together with hospice, palliative care is central to end-of-life care.
Palliative care refers to the treatment of the symptoms and stress of serious illness, with the dual goals of comfort and improved quality of life. It provides relief from distressing symptoms including pain, shortness of breath, nausea, insomnia, and side effects of medications. Although people often confuse the terms hospice and palliative care, in the latter you can receive curative medical treatments. People usually receive palliative care at clinics or hospitals, but home care may be possible with Milestone in certain situations.