End of Life Care Options

American doctor talking to senior couple in surgery

Those facing end of life, whether that be for themselves or a family member, experience multiple challenges when attempting to decide among the numerous end-of-life care options available. End of life care can be provided in many different settings-taking into account the level of care that is needed, resources, and the individuals own wishes. When discussing with loved-ones about where you would want to be at the end of life, it is important to be honest and realistic in your expectations. It is also crucial to communicate this information to family and your physician.

When we aren’t feeling well our first reaction is to go to the hospital. In this type of setting, numerous doctors and nurses are available and ready to treat someone who may be dying, which can be reassuring for both a patient and their family. However, ending up in a intensive care unit (ICU) may not lead to an outcome wanted. Patients in the ICU are normally connected to numerous monitors that check breathing, pulse, heart rate, etc. IV’s and catheters are also common as well as feeding tubes and ventilators. These external supports are mostly short-term and are intended to support the body as it heals. But when our bodies cannot heal and we’ve reached end of life – survival is unlikely.

Nursing home options are for those requiring a high level of care. In a nursing home staff are present 24 hours a day and a physician can be reached after hours by phone-unlike a hospital where they are always there. If a person is a long-term resident in a nursing home they have the opportunity to build relationships with the staff members who work here. This can make them feel more comfortable in their surroundings. However, privacy can become an issue, the majority of rooms are shared and meals served in the dining room.

Home is the most likely and preferred setting for someone who is at end of life. A person can remain in their own, comfortable, surroundings where friends and loved-ones can come and go. But for the caregiver, this can be a great job with high responsibility. Outside services can be arranged to help a caregiver and family, such as, home health, private nursing care, and hospice.

Choosing among these different options can be difficult, you want to ask the right questions to best fit your needs. Click on the link below to read more about a physician’s perspective and questions he feels are important at end of life.

http://www.nextavenue.org/atul-gawandes-5-questions-ask-lifes-end/

For more information on CompassionCare or hospice, call us today.