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Hospice is a term that refers to end-of-life care and generally applies to the type of care a person with a life expectancy of six months or less receives. The focus of hospice care is to improve the quality of life of both the patient and their immediate caregivers by managing symptoms, providing day-to-day care, preparing for death, and bereavement counseling. Essentially, hospice is palliative care for the dying. There are many books regarding hospice care, philosophy, and fundamentals that can help caregivers, family members, and patients gain understanding and clearer expectations of hospice care.
One of the best sources of hospice books is referrals from a hospice facility. Hospice staff are capable of providing references for a variety of material on end-of-life care and some facilities even have libraries with shelves full of hospice books. If a hospice facility is unavailable or inaccessible, check the resource section of websites such as the Hospice Foundation for hospice books that may be of use.
Hospice books broach a range of subject matter, most of which is very useful, but can be very heavy reading material. It is a good idea to select hospice books that discuss matters specific to an applicable situation, such as pain management, dignity, bereavement, or end-stages. Dying can be difficult for all involved, but understanding how the end-stages of a specific terminal illness play out can help prepare both patient and family. Further, knowing what to expect from hospice care can help make day-to-day life more manageable.
Other resources for hospice books include libraries and book stores. Check the table of contents in selected books for included topics and choose books with information most relevant to your situation. Some topics are very broad and apply to every patient or family member, but others are specific to disease type, age, palliative treatment plan, and so on. Another topic often covered in hospice books is financing of hospice care. Some information on this subject can prove valuable, but there are hospice staff members who can explain financing.
Finally, ask friends and neighbors who have recently lost a loved one if they have any hospice books to share or recommend. This is a good way to find material that has helped others gain knowledge or understanding. Keep in mind, as a family member of a dying loved one, the focus is on the patient’s comfort, but the wellness of a caregiver is equally important. Ask for books that are relevant to or helpful for caregivers, but know that not everything can be found in books. Ask for support from staff members when needed.
Bereavement and grief are also topics that are relevant to hospice care. Whether you are the patient helping those you leave behind prepare for your death or are a family member suffering from grief after loss, the subject of bereavement should not be ignored. Again, seek help when needed. When the time is right and you have finished with your own hospice books, consider donating them to a hospice facility for others to read.
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