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Choices for Dying At Home With Dignity
November 16th, 2010 by Aldouspi

Choices for Dying At Home With Dignity

The terminally ill deserve to die with dignity and many today are electing to do so at home surrounded by loved ones. It is essential to be under medical supervision for many reasons.

A physician's care is necessary when a patient elects to die at home because the physician can coordinate the services that the individual will require during the dying phase of the illness. There are many community programs set up to assist the individual to remain at home as long as possible or if medical assistance can be managed at home to maintain the comfort level of the individual, he/she may even be able to remain at home until the end. There are many choices for assistance during this time.

Hospice is a common choice for receiving care at home or in a "home setting" during the final phases of a terminal illness. Hospices operate on the belief that everyone has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and surrounded by loved ones. Hospices are set up to support the individual and his/her family to make sure that their belief becomes reality. Using a hospice does not prolong the individual's life but it does provide for the necessary medical care to help alleviate pain and maintain as much comfort as possible during the dying process. They are also skilled in educating and supporting the family members through the process so that they can make informed decisions whenever necessary and be prepared for the death of their loved one.

Home healthcare is another alternative that is very similar to a hospice. Both hospice and home healthcare provide basic nursing skills for the individual in his/her home. The difference lies in how the policy is towards the families of the dying individual. Hospice care is geared towards not only the patient but also toward caring for the family members. Home healthcare policies are geared for the patient only; although most are very caring staff that will voluntarily offer support to family members.

The biggest question on the minds of those contemplating dying at home is "can pain and any other symptoms be managed so that the individual will be as comfortable as possible and as pain-free as possible while going through the dying process at home?" The answers usually are yes with qualified support and education of family members and others who will be in contact with the individual. Support will be in the form of medical treatments, medications, pain management techniques, therapy and daily care management for tasks such as meals, dressing/ or bedcare, bathing, bathroom care and the primary care individuals family members or others will need respite especially if it is a prolonged care interval at home. Respite is when the primary caregiver is given a break from giving support to the dying individual so that they can rejuvenate their own energy reserves and have an emotional and physical break from the duties they undertake.

Every community will have choices, even if the only choice is the hospital or figuring out your own homecare if the area is so remote as not to have established hospice and homecare facilities. Support groups can be located locally or over the Internet. Even if there is little in the way of established care in your community there are still resources available through your local library and by way of connecting to organizations through the Internet.

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