Hospice care for people with cancer is meant for the time when cancer treatment can no longer help, and the person is expected to live 6 months or less. Factors involved in determining if a person with cancer needs hospice include:
- The person is in the end stages of cancer
- Treatment is no longer effective
- Health is rapidly weakening and the malignancy is progressing
- The burden of treatment on the patient and family members outweighs the benefits
The purpose of hospice care is to preserve the quality of life for people with cancer who have a limited time to live. Hospice addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs that accompany a terminal illness, according to Vitas, a nationwide provider of hospice and end of life care.
Hospice care includes the following services:
Pain and Symptom Control
The goal is to help the person with cancer be as comfortable as possible and free of pain.
Emotional and Spiritual Care
Hospice care helps with emotional well-being and tends to spiritual needs, based on the person's religious beliefs.
Bereavement and Grieving Support
Bereavement is the time of mourning that occurs after the person with cancer dies. The hospice care team works with surviving loved ones to help them through the grieving process.
A group of doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice aides and clergymen are all part of hospice care. These healthcare professionals coordinate and supervise all care 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. This team is responsible for making sure that everyone involved in the cancer patient's care shares information and communicate.
Hospice can provided at home where the person with cancer lives, or in a residential facility such as assisted living, nursing home or an in-patient hospice care center.