Hospice Care & Mesothelioma
Hospice is a concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a loved one faces the end of life due to mesothelioma, cancer or other terminal illnesses. Hospice care begins when medical treatments are no longer effective. A hospice nurse can check vital signs, help manage pain, provide nutrition guidelines, and explain the changes in symptoms a patient is experiencing.
Hospice was launched in the United States in the 1970s and gained Medicare approval in 1983. While hospice operations were typically small non-profit or volunteer community programs, the 1990s saw the arrival of privately run hospice providers.
The availability of hospice varies widely from region to region, but any Medicare-certified program must provide the same types of services.
A state-by-state listing of hospice is available here.
Patients are referred to hospice when life expectancy is six months or less. Hospice also offers bereavement and counseling services to families before and after a patient’s death. Some specifics about how hospice works:
- One of every three people in the U.S. chooses hospice care when they are dying.
- Most hospice care takes place within the dying person’s home or the home of a family member. Other locations include residential hospice facilities or a hospice wing within a hospital.
- Hospice’s goal is to offer comfort and dignity to a patient and his or her family in the last few weeks or days of life.
- Hospice is a team-oriented approach. It utilizes: trained medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses; community care givers, such as social workers and ministers; and hospice volunteers as well as family members.
- The goal of hospice is to address all symptoms of a disease and help control a patient’s pain or discomfort.
- While hospice caregivers visit the patient’s home, family and friends remain involved in the patient’s care.
- Hospice uses trained volunteers to help with household chores, including running errands, allowing family members to take a much-needed break from the care of a loved one.
- A patient’s condition may improve during hospice care and the hospice services can be stopped.
If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, first know that you are not alone. There are 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed every year. Second, explore this website and learn as much as you can about the disease, its treatment and prognosis. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any questions you may have, now and as your treatments progress. The more knowledge you have, the more empowered you will feel. Knowledge will also help you take better care of yourself and improve your chances of beating this disease.
Source: Hospice Foundation of America.