The 7-Minute Scoop: Outliving the Life Expectancy Prognosis
Updated: Jul 19
Why do some Hospice patients not make it to their life expectancy while others outlive their prognosis? How come some patients seem to actually get better once they begin receiving Hospice care? In this short episode, Mitch discusses the factors used in determining the life - expectancy of a terminally ill patient, as well as the factors that are not considered, and explains how palliative Hospice care can actually increase someone's longevity.
"Upon Hearing the news of a terminal diagnosis, many families start planning. They plan for Caregiving, and they they move major events around on their calendars. They save vacation or they'll take personal leave time and get it scheduled so that they can be with their loved one. Now fast forward to month nine. People are out of personal time, they're out of vacation days, they're all burned out from being the steadfast caregiver. And they can't help but wonder, "How is this happening?"
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Living With Hospice. My name is Mitch Ware and it is my pleasure to be your host today.
You know, a few months ago, we realized that there were some subjects relative to hospice and end of life situations that are very pressing, very significant issues, but really have a pretty simple answer. These don't require a 20 minute episode to explain why this situation is the way it is. So we started what we call the "7-Minute Scoop' episodes. You've responded favorably to these so, today is another one of those 7-Minute Scoop' and the subject is why do people live longer than we were told they would live by the doctors? I'm reading more and more about people's loved ones living longer than the doctors and nurses originally estimate.
If you're on social media at all, and you go to end of life forums and pages like on Facebook and whatnot, you'll see that people are frustrated because things haven't progressed as the doctor's predicted. Some are just curious, but they want to know why this happens. I think it's a great question!
Many families upon hearing a terminal diagnosis start planning. They plan for Caregiving, and they they move major events around on their calendars. They save vacation or they'll take personal leave time and get it scheduled so that they can be with their loved one,. They even move weddings up. We've all heard of that someone moves their wedding or birthday party up so that mom or dad or grandma, whoever can be there.
Originally, they were told your loved one has two to three months tops. So, each family member and friend planned for that. Now fast forward to month nine. People are out of personal time off, they're out of vacation days, they're all burned out and they wonder, why is this happening? We were told two to three months, three to six months tops....and now here we are nine months or a year in some cases a year and a half later, and nothing's really changed. Now - don't get me wrong - this doesn't mean that they want their loved one to die, but the loved one keeps lingering and people and their families need answers. And, most of the time, the answer is very ambiguous. "We don't know."
Let me suggest the answer is simply this. First, an original approximation of how long your loved one has is based on the similar type of person suffering this similar type disease or same disease that are in the same stage. So these medical practitioners look at how long these folks tend to live to have this exact same, or very similar, situation. At best, it's an average of averages, and educated guess. Often times, depending on the diagnosis, you know what the diseases and the stage, these educated guesses are really good. But in some cases, they're not. They don't take in consideration the individual - their particular disease, how the disease is progressing, their personality and their overall health. These estimates are typically given in a range of like weeks or months. And when they give you that range, it'll be followed up with "We just don't know." And that's truth because everybody's different.
Second, once people stop curative care, you know, that's the stuff like the chemo and the radiation and all the other meds, their bodies very well may recover from some of the effects of these chemicals and toxins that are running through their veins in when you think about it, that makes sense. As long as all of these chemicals are in us, whether it's chemotherapy, or some other form of medicine, these medicines have negative side effects, and these negative side effects impact our overall health. That's the price we pay for curative medicine and in many many, many, many situations, it's worth the price.
Third, if you recall from a previous episode, the one on curative care. curative care has medical attention that addresses the disease plain and simple. Palliative Care, which is what Hospice is a form of, addresses the patient's comfort. There is both a physical and mental dynamic at play here as our bodies purge the toxins of the medication that we're just talking about. We regain some strength. As we regain some strength and as we no longer have nausea and all these other nasty side effects from the treatments and the medications and such, we feel stronger. When we feel stronger, a lot of times, we feel mentally clearer. When we feel stronger and mentally clear and no longer sick to our stomachs and our hair stops falling out and the headaches are gone, we just feel better in general. When we feel better, our outlook gets better and our lives improve.
There have been a bunch of studies that looked into the lifespan of hospice patients versus non-hospice patients with basically the same medical conditions the exact same scenario for each of these patients. 1000s and 1000s of them. Long story short, the result is that the average survival was 29 days longer for hospice patients than for their non-hospice patients. These studies pretty much confirm that hospice care does prolong life for many patients.
It's not magic. It's not a miracle. It's merely bodies, purging the poisons found in the curative treatments, and solely focusing on the patient's comfort. When doing so the patient rebounds.
I hope this information has been helpful. And please drop us a line at our website www.livewithhospice.com and let us know. Drop us a note. Let us know how we're doing. Also drop down to the bottom of this page and hit the subscribe button. That way you won't miss a single episode. And you can send these links to your friends and family that need some straight scoop about hospice and end of life care. So for Living With Hospice, as always, thank you for listening. Until next time, this is Mitch Ware, we're Living With Hospice and this is the 7-minute scoop.
Have a blessed day.