When a loved one’s health is declining in a skilled nursing environment, families are often faced with having to decide between continuing medical treatment or accepting hospice care. Deciding on the right end-of-life care requires thoughtful consideration and a complete understanding of these options. Here are some considerations about deciding between nursing home and hospice care.

Hospice

In general, hospice care may be provided to a patient who is terminally ill or has six months or less left to live and can no longer be helped by medical care. Hospice offers palliative or supportive care, which is centered on keeping the patient comfortable through compassionate treatment. The patient, his or her family, and treating physician determine what hospice care is needed and when it should begin. Hospice care can be provided at home or in a facility. This type of care emphasizes pain management and controlling symptoms rather than medical intervention. The focus of hospice is to help the patient move towards his or her final transition in comfort, surrounded by those they love.

Nursing Home

When a nursing home resident is not on hospice, the home will provide round the clock skilled nursing care. This attention is focused on treating the patient’s illness and moving towards recovery. This care is not about meeting the patient’s comfort or emotional needs, but instead seeks to ensure that the patient’s immediate physical and medical requirements are met so they can achieve optimum health and healing. For some, nursing home care provides essential daily and medical care but lacks the personal and emotional attention the patient would prefer.

If possible, it would be best to talk to your loved one about what they want to happen before it is time to make the decision.  This may involve assisting your loved one in consulting with his or her doctor in order to discuss their options.  If you cannot communicate with your loved one, it’s important to think about what you believe he or she may want along with any medical recommendations.

At the Law Office of Alice Salvo, we are California estate planning and probate attorneys with the knowledge and experience you need to help you and your family consider your options and plan for the future. Schedule a consultation today, so we can help you explore your options and make informed decisions. /