This page has been fact-checked by a Doctor of nursing practice specializing in Oncology and has experience working with mesothelioma patients.
Sources of information are listed at the bottom of the article. We make every attempt to keep our information accurate and up-to-date.
Please Contact Us with any questions or comments.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is usually terminal. Toward the end of life, mesothelioma patients benefit from mesothelioma hospice care. This kind of care includes medical, psychological, social, spiritual, and practical support at home or in a hospice facility.
What Is Hospice Care?
In hospice care, a team of health care workers provides care and support for patients nearing the end of life. Their primary goal is to make a dying patient as comfortable as possible rather than working to cure the illness.
The focus on patients in hospice is managing pain and supporting any spiritual, social, mental health, and physical needs to improve quality of life for the time left.
Mesothelioma Hospice Home Care vs. Facility Care
Hospice care services are not restricted to any one location. A team may administer care at a patient’s home or in a hospital, nursing home, or in a dedicated hospice facility. There are benefits and drawbacks to each option:
- With home hospice care, the primary caregiver is probably a family member supported by members of a hospice care team. These other members may visit the patient regularly or irregularly. Most care is provided by the family member, which can be comforting to the patient.
- In a hospice facility, the hospice team may be available around the clock or only for part of the day. At a facility dedicated completely to hospice care, the patient receives twenty-four-hour care from professional caregivers, which is beneficial for patient comfort and symptom management. Family members can visit and provide some supportive care.
When patients are very ill or critical, hospice care may be provided in hospitals or nursing homes.
The Professional Hospice Care Team
No matter where hospice care takes place, it is administered by a team of experts:
- Palliative care doctor, and other doctors
- Social workers
- Home health aides
- Counselors and therapists
- Spiritual counselors
The medical professionals administer medications, coordinate care, communicate with doctors, and help patients dress, bathe, and eat. Volunteers may also work with hospice patients, providing services like transportation, food preparation, and cleaning.
Social workers, counselors, therapists, and spiritual leaders help hospice patients cope with the emotional and spiritual aspects of facing death. Other professionals on a hospice team may include occupational therapists, art and music therapists, physical therapists, and others.
Services Hospice Care Provides for Mesothelioma Patients
Hospice care offers a wide range of services and support for end-of-life patients. The primary service is palliative medical care. Palliative care is medical care dedicated to making patients comfortable rather than curing their disease or keeping them alive.
Palliative care includes medical treatments like:
- Minor procedures
- Pain management
Hospice services also include non-medical care:
- Therapies, including physical, occupational, speech, music, and art therapy
- Complementary and alternative medical practices, like acupuncture, massage, and yoga
- Counseling, psychotherapy, and spiritual services
- Non-medical services and activities to enhance the patient’s overall quality of life
Hospice also includes personal care and hygiene. When a patient cannot maintain their independence, hospice caregivers will help with bathing, going to the bathroom, dressing, and other personal needs.
Hospice care also typically provides nutrition and diet planning. They can guide the family when the loved one does not desire to eat as much.
How Hospice Benefits Loved Ones
Hospice revolves around the dying patient. Hospice can also benefit caregivers and families. This care may provide peace for loved ones watching a family member suffer and die.
Giving patients the best care and support helps the family cope with the loss. It provides guidance and counseling to families and loved ones who need help.
Hospice care also provides loved ones with practical assistance. Being a family caregiver is stressful and emotionally draining. Hospice can step in when family caregivers need a break. It can also be a less expensive alternative to hospital stays.
Bereavement counselors in hospice help family and friends cope with the stress of watching a loved one deteriorate and die. After the patient passes, they are also available to help loved ones work through the loss and its accompanying grief.
Choosing Hospice Services
There are plenty of options when the time has come to provide hospice care for a loved one with mesothelioma. The patient should have as much say in the decision as possible, but family caregivers may need to make the final choice.
Practical concerns like cost and location may dictate the final decision. Within the necessary parameters, loved ones want to choose the best care, and there are several factors to consider. This includes whether the patient would prefer to stay at home and if home care is even an option.
Paying for Hospice Care
Financial burdens at the end of life can be an additional stress for patients and their families. Hospice is often a lower-cost alternative to nursing homes and hospitals.
Most people in hospice are at least partly covered by Medicare. The patient must qualify for Medicare Part A. If they do, it can cover things like medical care, nursing, medical equipment, prescription drugs, and home aide services.
If you are facing end-of-life care, whether as a patient or a loved one, the decision is not easy. However, a patient needs to receive the best palliative and supportive care possible.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Anne Courtney, AOCNP, DNP
Anne Courtney has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and is an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has years of oncology experience working with patients with malignant mesothelioma, as well as other types of cancer. Dr. Courtney currently works at University of Texas LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes.