5 Things You Need to Know About Hospice Care

Our care team at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory has met with many families throughout Indianapolis, Greenwood, and Pendleton whose loved ones were receiving hospice care at their time of death. As we get to know these families and talk about plans for the funeral service, cremation, or burial, we also discuss the final days and weeks of their loved one’s life.

Senior woman in a nursing home, with a caring nurse.

When it comes to hospice, some families say they had misconceptions and wish they had known more about this end-of-life service. Others tell us they regret waiting so long to start hospice, as their loved one could have had a better quality of life before they died.

It is important to understand the concept of and philosophy behind hospice so you can make the best decisions about whether hospice care is appropriate. We want to offer our insight, so you have the information you need if a friend or family member is showing signs of deteriorating health.

  1. Entering hospice does not necessarily mean moving to a facility. Hospice care is often given at home with the help of nurses and home health aides. A hospital bed, commode, medications, and other supplies are brought to the home. If pain and symptoms can no longer be managed at home, the patient will be moved to a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility. Respite care is also offered in a facility during a time when a caregiver wants or needs a break in caregiving.
  2. Hospice shifts the goal of elongating life to gaining the best possible quality of life in the time that is left. Whether in pain or experiencing shortness of breath, hospice helps manage symptoms so a person can focus on relationships and achieve a sense of closure.
  3. You have to qualify for hospice through Medicare or private insurance. In order to qualify, two physicians must certify that you have a life-altering condition with an expected prognosis of six months or less.
  4. Hospice is not about sedation; it’s about increasing comfort and managing pain to improve a person’s quality of life. Some are apprehensive about hospice, thinking their loved one will be sedated and forego treatment from their regular doctor. In reality, the patient and family remain in charge of their decisions while being kept from unnecessary pain.
  5. Hospice isn’t always a permanent choice. If a person receives care and then changes their mind for any reason, they can end treatment – and restart at a later date if they desire. Some patients improve unexpectedly and can also revoke services at that time.

As you and your family navigate end-of-life decisions, we want to remind you that our knowledgeable and compassionate team is here for you every step of the way. We recommend preplanning funeral arrangements ahead of time so the important decisions are already made. Doing so has never been easier using our online planning form, or you’re always welcome to meet with us in person at our locations throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana.

Our family has owned and operated our funeral home for six generations. We know how important loved ones are, and how challenging it is to lose them. When you’re going through difficult times in life, we hope you’ll turn to us.