1. Obtain a Comprehensive Medical Evaluation.
A comprehensive medical evaluation is essential for individuals facing terminal illnesses in order to determine appropriate treatment and care options. This should include a physical examination, laboratory tests such as blood work and imaging studies, and a review of the patient’s medical history. Patients should also be evaluated for any underlying conditions that could complicate end-of-life care.
2. Discuss Treatment Options with Health Care Providers.
Patients and their families should have a conversation with healthcare providers about the various treatment options available, such as hospice care or palliative care, to determine the best course of action for the patient’s particular situation. It is important that patients and families understand all of their choices when faced with a terminal illness.
3. Determine Appropriate Place of Care.
When selecting a place of care, it is important to consider both physical and emotional needs, as well as budget constraints. Patients should be provided information regarding various types of living arrangements they may choose from including home hospice, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or long-term care hospitals.
4. Develop a Care Plan.
A comprehensive care plan should be established that includes the patient’s wishes and needs, medications and treatments necessary to maintain comfort, social support systems in place to assist with end-of-life care, as well as any other special requests made by the patient or family. It is important that this plan be discussed among all members of the healthcare team to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding treatment options and expectations.
5. Research Hospices’ Offerings & Services.
It is important for patients and families to research the various hospice offerings available in order to find one that best meets their needs. This includes researching the type of care provided, staffing qualifications, services offered, qualifications of volunteer staff members, and any other relevant information that may help to create a positive hospice experience.
6. Select a Hospice Facility/Provider That Meets Your Needs.
Patients and families should select a hospice facility or provider that meets their needs in order to ensure they receive the best possible quality of care. It is important to consider all factors when making this decision including location, cost, accommodations for physical limitations, and other amenities such as pet therapy or music therapy services.
7. Know Your Rights & Responsibilities.
It is essential for individuals facing terminal illnesses to understand their rights and responsibilities when receiving hospice care. This includes understanding their right to choose any hospice facility or provider they wish, the right to refuse any treatments or medications they do not feel comfortable with, and the responsibility of adhering to all regulations set forth by the facility or provider.
8. Ensure Interdisciplinary Care Team is Developed.
The interdisciplinary team should be developed prior to a patient’s admission into a hospice facility in order to ensure the best possible quality of care. The team should include a physician, nurse practitioner, social worker, chaplain, and other relevant professionals who can provide services such as psychological counseling and spiritual support.
9. Consider Formal Agreements with Hospice Facility/Provider.
It is important to consider formal agreements with the hospice facility or provider. This includes setting expectations for care, communication protocols, payment information, and any other relevant details that will ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the patient’s end-of-life care.
10. Discuss Treatment Goals & Pain Management Strategies.
Finally, it is important to discuss treatment goals and pain management strategies with the hospice provider. This conversation should include information regarding any treatments the patient may receive, medications they may take, and any other measures that can be taken to ensure their comfort during this time. It is also essential to establish a “safe” plan of care in order to ensure that all wishes are adhered to by both medical professionals and family members.