Every life is unique, following a distinct path guided by the individual’s values, dreams, and aspirations. As the end of that journey draws near, hospice care can make it possible for individuals to spend their remaining days in comfort and dignity, still empowered to chart their own course.
Hospice care, an important Medicare benefit, is a form of palliative care that is reserved specifically for clients who are terminally ill and are no longer receiving curative treatment for their underlying disease. Hospice caregivers focus on managing symptoms and maximizing quality of life for patients and their families.
Who is eligible for hospice care? Gayle Young, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing, explains, “To qualify for hospice, an individual must have a terminal diagnosis with a prognosis of six months or less, and the individual and his or her family must agree that they are seeking comfort measures. However, hospice services can be provided beyond six months as long as a physician recertifies that the individual is terminally ill.”
Sunset’s hospice service, called Ashanti Hospice and Palliative Care—which is available to residents of Lucas, Wood, and Fulton counties—focuses on treating not just the illness, but the whole person, and centers on comfort. “Ashanti is about living, not dying. It’s about making each client’s end-of-life journey their own,” Young adds.
It’s important to recognize that hospice services can be beneficial long before life’s end is imminent. In fact, when hospice care is initiated, symptoms can be managed, stress and anxiety can be alleviated, clients can shift their focus to the loved ones in their lives, and a care partner team can be created, supporting the client through this vital phase of life. So, it’s encouraged to have the hospice conversation sooner rather than later.
“End-of-life care can be a delicate subject, but the best time for families to discuss the option of hospice and its many benefits is as early as possible before a crisis occurs. During a health crisis, indecision or disagreements among family members about the best course of action can mean a lower quality of life for the client and the loss of valuable time with loved ones during those precious remaining days. Having a conversation about end-of-life choices also enables the family and loved ones to honor an individual’s wishes rather than guessing what that person would want for their end-of-life journey,” Young states.
The Ashanti Hospice and Palliative Care team is comprised of several compassionate members, including doctors, nurses, STNAs, social workers, a spiritual counselor, as well as massage therapists and trained volunteers. The team partners with clients’ families to deliver the most holistic care possible wherever clients reside—whether it’s in their home, at one of Sunset’s communities, or in another assisted-living, independent-living, or skilled-nursing facility. This multidisciplinary team works closely with the client and his or her loved ones to develop a care plan and help guide them through the end-of-life journey. This plan of care is reviewed routinely to ensure the client’s needs and wishes are being met and any treatments are in line with his or her goals.
Ashanti’s services can include providing expert medical care, coordinating any home-care supplies and equipment that are needed, as well as aiding in controlling symptoms and managing pain and medication. Emotional and spiritual support are also available to the client and family, as well as additional services to help soothe and comfort the client, such as massage and aromatherapy. “As hospice treatments begin and the Ashanti team and family members collaborate to deliver the best care possible, clients can expect their quality of life to be maintained or improve depending on their unique situation,” Young says.
The Ashanti team is available to meet with potential clients and their families at any time to explain the hospice benefit. To schedule a meeting or for additional information, please call Ashanti Hospice and Palliative Care at 419-724-1047 or visit www.sunset-communities.org/ashanti.