The reality of time is that it is limited. We experience this truth all throughout life. In elementary school we often realize how limited our time on the playground is. As parents we realize how quickly our kids grow up. As individuals we eventually find that life is fleeting, and it is the quality of the life we live that is most important.
At some point everyone, or one of our loved ones, will be faced with a life-limiting illness. We will be faced with the reality of the limits of time. While this can be difficult to deal with, there are ways to ease the stresses of this time.
In an article published in 2014, researchers sought to find out what were the critical components of a “Good Death.” At the conclusion of this research, it was found that clinically relevant factors, including hospice, were associated with good death. The clinically relevant factors of a good death, as described by families participating in the research, are below:
- Hospice was involved in care
- Patient/Family did not receive conflicting information
- Symptoms and Pain were managed
- Stress/Anxiety was managed
- Wishes were followed/granted
- Attention was given to non-medical issues as well
- Excellent provider expertise
- Excellent provider compassion
The reason hospice care is so critical, is that it is uniquely focused on each of these clinical factors. These hospice care teams have a specialized experience in managing the symptoms of end-of-life, and also included social workers, bereavement works and chaplains that manage non-medical issues. The longer an individual is able to spend on hospice care, the better the outcomes experienced. Hospice should begin as soon as a life expectancy of 6-months or less is determined.
Not only is the time surrounding end-of-life difficult for family and loved ones, it is also difficult for many care providers. Most physicians and traditional care teams are focused on curative efforts rather than palliative. That is why it is important to partner your traditional medical team with a hospice team who has expertise in end-of-life care.
Don’t wait to have the conversation, begin to plan your future today. After all — time is limited, this is the reality that we all must face.