Sometimes lung cancer stops responding to treatment and no other treatment options are available. Sometimes a person has made the decision not to seek further treatment for their disease. When these situations occur, there are other ways to control physical and emotional pain and discomfort associated with advanced and incurable lung cancer.
Hospice is a type of care aimed at controlling physical and emotional pain and discomfort and is provided to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. In most states, hospice care is available to those who are no longer seeking curative treatment and are not expected to live longer than six months (sometimes a year). When the decision is made to pursue hospice care, a doctor can provide a referral.
Hospice care is provided by a team that includes doctors, nurses, social workers, aides, counselors, spiritual care givers and volunteers. The team provides support to the patient as well as to the family/caregiver. The goal of the hospice team is to control physical pain and discomfort, to provide emotional and spiritual support, and to allow the dying process to happen while maintaining comfort and dignity. This service is covered by Medicare and by most insurance plans.
For more information about Hospice or end-of-life resources:
Hospice Foundation of America. A national organization providing resources on finding a hospice, what to expect at the end of life, and how to find grief support. Provides training for professionals as well.
Caring Connections. A program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), provides free resources and information to help people make decisions about end-of-life care and services before a crisis.
Aging with Dignity. A non-profit organization that provides a user-friendly advanced directive document that is accepted as legal in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
Palliative Doctors. A website run by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine with information and resources about hospice as well as palliative care.
Questions to Assess the Quality of Palliative Care or Hospice Programs. A chart to help evaluate hospice programs. Written for professionals, but includes helpful questions.