June 14, 2024

NVT Health

Health Blog

How Long Does Hospice Care Usually Last?

Hospice care is often the last type of medical care that someone receives when their life is ending. This is something that medical professionals and family members have to decide is right for the patient while also giving them a chance to feel secure and safe.

If you’re struggling with this decision, and aren’t sure if it’s right for your situation, here’s everything you need to know.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of end-of-life care that helps patients get all of the care they need while also giving their family the freedom to still stay in the role of a family member instead of having to double up as a medical aid as well.

Most patients don’t go into hospice care unless they’re near death, meaning that it’s an end-of-life surface to make this transition easier on everyone involved.

How Long Does it Last?

Hospice care can last any time up to six months, but the average time is generally within three weeks. Although this feels incredibly short, the number is brought down significantly by the fact that a third of patients in hospice die within the first week of arriving.

This isn’t because hospice care isn’t good for them, but instead because of starting it so late into what they’re going through. Half of the patients pass within the first three weeks, and roughly 90% are gone within the six-month timeframe that’s generally set for hospice patients.  

Does Anyone Leave Alive?

Some people do survive! These are by no means the average and are instead outliers that prove the rule. These are people whose illness goes into remission or who are lucky enough to survive long enough for a cure or new medication to become available.

If your loved one is in hospice care, it may feel tempting to cling to this ten percent and hope your family member is part of it, but it’s more important, to be honest with yourself. Hiding your feelings about it, or lying to yourself about what’s happening, isn’t going to help anyone.

Are There Resources for Family Members?

There are countless resources for family members and patients alike. Instead of having to struggle with what’s right or talk amongst yourselves, you’ll find free or reduced-price mental health help, as well as grief counseling.

Don’t overlook these programs! Seek help for grief as soon as you feel yourself starting to grieve. If it’s a hospice patient, many family members are quick to bury their feelings and hide them from the world, but you need to share how it’s hurting you. There’s nothing like communicating how you feel and being reassured that you’re not alone.

Hospice Care is So Much More than Medical Care

Hospice care does more for your loved one and yourself than any family member could complete on their own. Not only does it encourage your loved one to relax and feel well cared for, but it takes the strain of being both a caregiver and a family member at the same time off of your shoulders.