What is hospice care?

While terms such as “long-term care for elderly”, “palliative care” and “hospice care” are increasingly appearing abroad, in Bulgaria there is almost no distinction between the main areas, such as nursing home and hospice. Therefore, this week we will focus your attention on the hospice and what is hospice care – one of the focus areas of Blocks.

In short, if your relative or friends are facing a serious illness that is incurable, then their doctor will direct them to hospice or hospice care.

What are they and why do you need them if there is “no way out”?

It is important to emphasize that the hospice as a medical institution does not try to treat the patient. Once it is confirmed that he/she is terminally ill, the team of hospice specialists aims to relieve the pain in the remaining months of life, to provide a quality experience of the last days, to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the patients and of his relatives.

Who can benefit from hospice care?

Any terminally ill patient can be admitted to a hospice. In most cases, they learn that they have between 6 months and a year to live. Most often, these are people with cancer, heart disease, dementia, kidney failure or lung disease.

The earlier hospice care is sought, or a hospice is admitted, the better for the patient who will have the chance to prolong the last moments with his relatives and to leave without suffering. The hospice also reduces the burden on the family, forced to accept the news of the death of a loved one, and helps them in the mental preparation for this sad moment.

When should hospice care begin?

Hospice care begins when the disease progresses to the point where it can no longer be controlled or treated. Usually, a qualified hospice doctor or the particular patient’s physician is the one who certifies that the patient meets the hospice criteria and can receive hospice care (if desired). Most often it is time for hospice care when:

  • The patient has six or less months of life
  • The patient does not see an improvement in his health after treatment and the quality of life decreases
  • The patient decides to stop his treatment

Where is the hospice care provided?

Most people in our country prefer to provide “hospice” care themselves – to take care of their dying relative or loved one in his last months of life. The reason may be financial, or it may be caused by the desire to spend time with them alone while they still can. However, they often do not know how difficult this care can be over time and with the spread of the disease. Then, they resort to a team to visit the patient at home and provide everything they need. Hospice care is also offered in hospitals, medical facilities and nursing homes. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why we often do not distinguish between the two and do not know where to accommodate our loved ones. In Blocks Hospice, however, there is a separate area on campus which has its own building, separated from the homes.

According to the American Cancer Society, people often do not receive enough hospice care on time.

A 2007 study found that 10% of people received hospice care too late, which is often the cause of dissatisfaction on the part of families whose relatives have been treated with hospice. That is why, informed and quick solutions are needed to find the best option for your loved ones, preserving their psyche and quality of life to the very last moment.


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