Although the holiday season may be filled with joy, it can also spark feelings of loss and nostalgia for loved ones who are no longer with us. It’s also an incredibly poignant time for anyone who is caring for a loved one nearing the end of life. The ebbs and tides of life, as we know, do not always follow our schedules, routines, or desired outcomes. It becomes crucial to know how to ease end-of-life care to bring much-needed comfort during this trying time.
If you are in the midst of a season of providing end-of-life care, here are some thoughts to keep in mind that will help you best help the person in your care – as well as yourself.
Provide a calming environment. Ram Dass, author of … Read More »
If you knew that a significantly better quality of life could be achieved for someone you care about, you would not think twice about exploring that option. Yet one of the most beneficial forms of care – hospice – is one that family members shy away from, due to many different misperceptions and myths about hospice care.
Hospice is meant to help someone with a life-limiting illness find respite from pain and other difficult symptoms, while obtaining comfort as well as spiritual and emotional support. Hospice care is provided night and day, both for the individual needing care as well as family members. And, for anyone covered by Medicare, hospice care is offered for a very low … Read More »
Sharing what’s on our hearts with those we love is never more important than when someone is nearing the end of life. There are often unspoken sentiments and unresolved issues that, once verbalized, can bring peace and a deeper connection with our loved ones in their final days.
As Dr. Jessica Zitter, physician in critical and palliative care medicine at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA explains, “Those are opportunities for people to take stock and say, ‘I want to be more intentional about how I want to relate to people in my life.’ Death should really be seen as the last opportunity that you have to make amends and clean things up before you’re in the next world, wherever that may be.”
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Of the many responsibilities a family caregiver faces, perhaps one of the more difficult is managing health concerns and knowing what questions to ask the Dr. as your parent’s caregiver. The National Council on Aging estimates that approximately three quarters of all seniors are clinically determined to have at least two chronic illnesses, and are seeing on average of four medical specialists.
Hired Hands Homecare, offering in-home care in Napa, CA and the surrounding communities, offers these simple tips to communicate effectively with those on the senior’s medical team:
Are all of the medications essential? With most older adults taking many medications, you’ll need to keep an in-depth list and review occasionally with the doctor along with the pharmacist, each of whom should be able to make … Read More »
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 »
In Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It’s a standard feeling for many family caregivers when their loved one is faced with a chronic disease diagnosis, such as dementia. Even though this can instill some measure of comfort in thinking that life can carry on like it always has, if only we don’t acknowledge this new reality, the truth is that acknowledgement is extremely important in order to get the necessary support.
It is understandable for a family member to wish to deliver all of the care a senior loved one needs. Nevertheless, frequently in the crux of denial are feelings of guilt, helplessness, and in some cases incompetence in the ability to “fix things.” And you will … Read More »
When someone you love has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, it might seem as though the best course of action is to talk about anything and everything BUT the illness and diagnosis, to ensure a positive, upbeat atmosphere and boost the person’s spirits. Yet although it is most certainly a good idea to offer a bright spot in the person’s life by staying optimistic, it’s just as important to provide the individual with ample opportunities to talk through any thoughts, feelings, and fears.
To take it a step further, providing the hospice patient with the opportunity to talk through end-of-life concerns can help lift a tremendous burden. So what’s the best approach to let your loved one know you’re available to share in these kinds of difficult … Read More »
When a family member enters into hospice care, it’s, understandably, a challenging and emotionally charged time for the individual’s loved ones, and raises a variety of questions. What exactly does hospice care entail? Who provides this type of care for your loved one? Should the person be in the hospital, or can hospice care be provided at home? Following are some essential hospice care tips from the experts at Hired Hands Homecare.
Hospice care is about helping individuals experience the highest quality of life possible each day, with comfort and support provided to both the person receiving hospice care and his or her family members.
The hospice team is comprised of nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health care aides, and bereavement counselors. The individual who is receiving hospice care will have … Read More »