What qualifies someone for hospice?



Hospice:  A home that provides care for the terminally ill.  Cancer patients in their last stages and others who have six months or less to live, benefit from moving into a hospice as the hospice is geared to take care of their needs and ensure comfort and care.

Palliative care:  Palliative care refers to treatment given not towards curing an illness, but towards keeping the patient comfortable and pain free.

Looking after a loved one who is terminally ill is one of the toughest assignments one can have.  Firstly, unless one is a nurse or a doctor, one is not fully qualified for the task at hand.  Secondly, if the loved one is suffering, watching them from close quarters can be really traumatic and both emotionally and physically draining.

Under such circumstances, opting for hospice care may be the best thing one can do, for oneself and for the patient.  A hospice is geared to look after the terminally ill and will be able to keep your loved one as comfortable as possible.  In addition, many times, they will have licenses to procure and prescribe pain killers such as morphine, that are not available to others.  On top of that, this will give you the opportunity to spend quality time with the loved one rather than constantly worrying whether one is doing enough for the loved one.

In India, there are quite a few charitable organizations that run palliative centres.  Most of these however cater to the poor and destitute. They do the best that they can but given that they are charity run and are invariably filled beyond capacity, they may not be suitable for those that are willing to pay for better quality services.

Searching on google for “hospice”, “palliative care”, “terminally ill care” and similar words along with the name of one’s city will give one a quick overview of the available options.

It is important to remember that considering the option of hospice care for a loved one is not an act of abandonment, a sign that one is relinquishing one’s responsibilities or dereliction of duty.

Under such circumstances, it may be the right thing to do for one’s loved one.

Actively managing joint pain in elders

jointpainUntil a few decades ago, people believed that progressive blindness was an unavoidable consequence of aging. Not anymore. With easy cataract operations and other advances in corrective surgery, vision is no longer such a big problem for most senior citizens.

Similarly, in today’s world, most elders believe non-specific joint pain is inevitable. This, again, need not be true. While many of the underlying reasons for joint pain such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, loss of muscle, and stiff and brittle tendons and ligaments cannot be completely reversed with medication or surgery, appropriate footwear, seats and cushions, orthopaedic support devices and supplements can help alleviate joint pain to a large extent.

Take for example, one of the most common pain areas – the knee. A lot of strain is put on the knee during the acts of sitting down and getting up – especially in the toilet. A lot of relief can be got by using simple devices such as toilet raisers and appropriately fixed grab bars which can ensure reduced pressure on the knees. Similarly, knee supports and braces can go a long way in reducing pain and deferring knee replacement operations. Also, Collagen peptide supplements have been shown to reduce joint pain especially for people with acute pain.

Another common problem for many people is back pain – especially in the lumbar region. A wide variety of cushions, back support devices, belts and corsets are available that can relieve such chronic pain. In addition, minor adjustments in lifestyle and choice of chairs can lead to perceptible reduction in pain in a short period of time.

Similarly, regular exercise, massage and yoga can help you regain your flexibility and even muscle tone to an extent.

So whether it is your heel or arch of the foot, ankle, knee or hip, coccyx or tailbone, small of the back/lumbar region, upper back or neck, there are easy to use solutions available that can dramatically reduce your pain and improve the quality of your life.