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Easing End-of-Life Suffering: Palliative Care for Late-Stage Illness

easing end-of-life suffering with comfort & care

In 1997, the Institute of Medicine released a report claiming that many Americans experience end-of-life suffering. However, even though it’s been about two decades since the report was released, the number of people suffering in their last year of life rose. Between 1998 and 2010, the number of Americans experiencing pain in their final year of life increased about 12 percent. The number of Americans suffering from depression in their final year of life increased 26 percent.

While pain in an individual’s last stage of life can be unavoidable, suffering can be alleviated by hiring the services of a home hospice care provider. Here is some information about how hospice care can ease end-of-life suffering with comfort and care.

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Understanding Late-Stage Care and End-of-Life Suffering

Before a patient can receive hospice care, two physicians need to agree the patient will die within six months if the disease is permitted to run its course. The patient must also cease receiving aggressive curative treatment for the disease.

A hospice patient receives care that focuses on comfort rather than a cure. Hospice care focuses on quality of life and symptom and pain management. Contrary to popular belief, hospice is not only for elderly individuals. All individuals, including children, can receive hospice care.

Pain and Emotional Relief

One of the main priorities for the treatment of hospice patients is pain relief. Some terminal patients needlessly wait to receive palliative and hospice care due to emphasis on treating the underlying disease despite the poor prognosis or other symptoms. Terminal patients in their last stage of life would benefit from an effective pain management strategy. The purpose of hospice programs is to relieve patients from both physical and emotional pain. Hospice programs also help patients with the spiritual, emotional, and psychosocial aspects of death.

Managing Symptoms

A trained and highly skilled hospice team will be able to take into consideration the unique needs of a terminal patient and make recommendations to manage pain and symptoms. Some symptoms experienced by terminal patients are:

  • Constipation
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin issues
  • Restlessness

Related: Comforting a Loved One With End Stage Heart Failure


The Role of Palliative Care at End of Life

The main goal of palliative care is to help patients suffering from severe illnesses enjoy a better quality of life. Palliative care helps treat or prevent symptoms and side effects associated with both disease and treatment. Palliative care is also helpful for treating social, emotional, spiritual, and practical issues that arise due to illness. Solving these issues can improve an individual’s quality of life.

Patients can receive palliative care at the same time as aggressive treatments intended to cure the disease. On the other hand, patients must give up aggressive treatments to receive hospice care. Hospice care begins when a patient ceases to receive treatment for the disease and the prognosis is dire.

Related: Does Hospice Mean “The End”?


Cater to What Your Loved One Wants

At the end of a loved one’s life, a hospice will handle all matters related to care so that you can cater to what your loved one truly wants. Your loved one should be surrounded by family and friends in their last stage of life and hospice care will enable this.

No one should have to suffer in their last stage of life. If you want to ease the end-of-life suffering of a loved one, you can contact us at (702) 509-5276 for more information about the palliative and hospice services we offer here at Omni Care Hospice.

Download Omni Home Hospice Care Guide