We often educate on the importance of not delaying a hospice referral because we believe an earlier referral allows the patient and his or her family to better prepare mentally and spiritually for the end of the patient’s life. Yet a common misconception that hospice care is merely symptom management often leads to a later referral. In fact, hospice care involves many additional benefits to provide comfort:
Provides assistance in obtaining appropriate equipment and medications
Empowers families to take care of their loved one in the comfort of home
Helps alleviate the fear that often occurs for patients and their families
Helps a spouse with Social Security issues, financial issues, and long-term care questions
Addresses family dynamics and spirituality concerns (if any exist)
Hospice is not about dying, but about quality of life … Read More »
Determining when to shift focus from proactive cure attempts to hospice care can be difficult for the loved ones of someone diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. Understanding what hospice care is and the benefits it provides is a crucial first step. Hospice care offers supportive social, emotional, and spiritual services to the terminally ill and their families, primarily in the patient’s home.
Hospice is typically recommended when:
The senior’s physician does not believe there is a viable treatment option available.
The prognosis is six months or less to live.
The patient is enduring treatment that is neither life-prolonging nor enhancing quality of life just to avoid addressing the unpleasant facts with family and loved ones.
Family and loved ones are postponing a discussion about end of life because of a … Read More »
Life is unpredictable. And although an advance health care directive can be easy enough to put off, planning end-of-life choices now can help provide peace of mind that your standards and wishes about your health care will be listened to in the future. Additionally, it will ease the responsibility of decision-making on your family members.
Advance directives typically include these documents:
Living will. This written, legal document outlines the kinds of health care procedures and life-sustaining measures a patient would or would not like, such as mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding or resuscitation.
Health care power of attorney (POA). The health care POA is a legal document that identifies an individual to make health care decisions on the patient’s behalf if the patient … Read More »
What initially comes to your mind when you hear the words “palliative care?” For many, it’s associated with hospice care. The true goal of palliative care, however, is to obtain comfort from symptoms such as pain, vomiting and nausea that are the result of either a disease or from the treatment for that condition. There are times when this does come about at the end of life.
Dr. Eric Widera, who practices palliative care at the University of California, San Francisco, explains, “We hear this all the time: ‘They’re not ready for palliative care,’ as if it’s a stage people have to accept, as opposed to something that should be a routine part of care.”
And though palliative care, much like hospice care, focuses on maximizing … Read More »
Unfortunately, there are quite a few misconceptions regarding mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive disease caused by asbestos exposure. Some people ask, “Is mesothelioma contagious?” Others believe the disease is linked to smoking.
These incorrect assessments range from how people develop mesothelioma to where the disease forms within the body. Other mesothelioma myths include the demographics affected by mesothelioma, the amount of asbestos exposure needed to develop the sickness and the legality of using the substance in the United States.
Below are some common myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma and asbestos, as well as the realities of the disease:
Myth 1: Smoking Is Linked to Mesothelioma
Smoking is not linked to mesothelioma. The act does not cause or increase your risk of developing the disease. The disease forms along the mesothelium, which is … Read More »
We’re all familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This has special significance when it comes to our aging parents, and to finding the answers to a number of important (as well as engaging) questions: from the practical knowledge of what their wishes are for their remaining lifetime, to what their favorite hobbies were as a child – and anything in between.
It’s a good idea to let your parents know that you have some questions you’d like to ask, and then schedule a time that will be uninterrupted, inviting siblings or other family members to attend as appropriate. Then prepare your questions in advance, thinking through ideas such as:
Do you have a power of attorney? … Read More »
Family financial matters are oftentimes a taboo subject, and in addition, the root of many different controversies, heightened emotions, and misunderstandings. And for a number of today’s older adults, who maintain a “Depression era mentality” from many years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it may be hard for them to grant access to finances to adult children, and to acknowledge the necessity to spend some of those personal finances on caregiving needs.
Talking with an aging parent about finances is most efficient when begun before the need arises, appreciating it might take numerous discussions before an understanding can be reached. These conversation starters can certainly help:
“Dad, at some point, we have to make some choices in regards to … Read More »
We all desire the best for our loved ones – it’s only natural. Yet in some cases when families are involved in an older person’s care, feelings about what is best may clash. This can cause family members to fight with each other as opposed to working together. This is when it’s often a good idea to enlist the help of an outside person like a geriatric care manager (GCM), one who realizes what seniors need for long-term care and how to accomplish getting this care.
Ask most older people if they wish to stay in their home, even if they are struggling with aging-related issues, and the response is in most cases a resounding “yes!” Having to move away from their home, a place with so many memories, can be distressing, even if they admit that it’s getting more difficult to cope. Yet, wishing to continue to be at home and having the ability to stay at home, all alone, are two separate things. So what can you do? Even as a 24/7, around-the-clock family caregiver, you are not able to do it all by yourself. You need help and it could be that in-home care is the solution.
What could be better than waking up well rested after a full night’s sleep, feeling energized and ready to face the day? For some seniors – as many as one in three – getting sufficient sleep is something that only happens in their dreams. And sadly, it’s a common assumption that lack of sleep is something we just need to accept in our later years – a misconception that Preeti Malani, M.D., chief health officer and professor of medicine at the University of Michigan wants to dispel. According to Dr. Malani, “If older adults believe that these changes are a normal, inevitable part of aging, they may not think of it as something to discuss with their doctor. And not discussing it can potentially lead to health issues not … Read More »