What Is End-of-Life Care?
When a loved one is first diagnosed with a serious illness, it’s common for families to meet with specialists, explore treatment options, and consider clinical trials. At a certain point, healthcare providers may inform the patient that the treatments aren’t working and that he or she is not a candidate for other curative options. This doesn’t mean that the patient will no longer receive care; however, services will transition from curative treatments to palliative care. End-of-life care is often provided by Caring Companions in Memphis, who may be working in conjunction with a hospice care program.
An end-of-life care team is typically comprised of many different professionals. A patient may have elder care companions who provide services such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, companionship, and personal care. Nurses from the hospice care program can visit the patient’s home to assess his or her needs and determine how to improve quality of life . The hospice team may also include social workers, trained volunteers, spiritual counselors, or members of the clergy.
The hospice care team provides palliative care, which can take many different forms. Palliative care does not focus on treating the condition; rather, it is intended to manage symptoms to provide greater comfort at the end of life. A nurse can help the patient manage his or her pain and other symptoms. He or she may provide prescription medications or medical supplies for symptom management. For example, if a patient can no longer get out of bed to go to the bathroom, the nurse can insert a catheter that will stay in place and drain into a special bag.
An important component of end-of-life care is support for the whole family. A hospice care team can offer the family practical assistance and psychological counseling. For instance, a hospice nurse can instruct family members on how to properly set the controls on oxygen therapy equipment, how to lift and transfer the patient, and how to administer medications. A spiritual or psychological counselor can be there to offer emotional support to family members as they struggle to cope with anticipatory grief during their loved one’s illness and the grieving process after the passing.
Do Your Parents Need In-Home Care? [INFOGRAPHIC]
One of the hardest decisions adult children face is recognizing when their parents need care. This reversal of roles can be difficult for everyone to handle at first, but making decisions about care as soon as you notice signs that your parents need assistance gives you the freedom to make choices without the pressure of an emergency situation.
This infographic from Caring Companions details some of the signs that your parents could benefit from home care and how to start a conversation about home health care with your family. Our caregivers serving Memphis can provide a range of care services, from hospice and Alzheimer’s care to basic elder care duties. Call us to learn how we can give you peace of mind about your parents’ wellbeing, and please share this information to help others who are also facing difficult decisions about their aging family members.
Transitioning Your Aging Parents into Home Care
Adult children are often faced with difficult decisions regarding their parents’ care. Often, when a parent’s health declines, he or she is resistant to the idea of moving to an assisted living facility—and with good reason. This is why home health care in Memphis and across the country is growing in popularity. While in -home care is often a better option for elderly parents than an assisted living facility, parents may still display some resistance to the idea. Continue reading for a few tips to help you and your parents with this transition.
Start the Conversation Early
Many adult children wait to discuss the idea of elder care with their parents until a serious medical problem has already occurred. Unfortunately, it can take some time for aging parents to adjust to the idea that they could benefit from receiving elder care services. It’s advisable for adult children to begin the conversation early, while parents still have the ability to care for themselves. It’s likely that the transition into home care will require many conversations over a period of months or perhaps years.
Use the Right Approach
Aging parents often pride themselves on their independence and their capabilities, even if those capabilities have begun to decline. When it is evident that a parent needs home care services, adult children should be careful to use the right pronoun. Instead of saying, “You need some help with meal preparation because of your arthritis,” an individual could say, “I’m worried that you’re losing weight. It would reassure me to know that someone was here to ensure you eat healthy meals each day.” Some adult children may even decide to call a home care provider a “housekeeper” instead of a “caregiver” to bolster their parents’ pride.
Introduce a Care Plan Gradually
Arranging home care solutions for aging parents doesn’t always have to mean hiring a caregiver to be in the home 24/7, although this certainly can be arranged. It’s often easier for aging parents to adjust to the idea of in-home care if they begin a care plan gradually. For example, adult children could arrange for periodic respite care when they’re short on time. Later, a caregiver could provide services for just a few hours per week. As the elderly parents need more assistance, they could receive additional care.
When to Use End-of-Life Care
Toward the end of life, every individual has unique needs and concerns. End-of-life care provided by Caring Companions in Memphis can meet those needs. Because the end of life is an uncomfortable topic of discussion for many people, families often delay seeking end-of-life care from a hospice program. However, surviving family members may later voice regrets over not having sought hospice care sooner, given that these services can help loved ones maintain their dignity and their comfort level during a difficult time.
The nature of end-of-life care is to provide palliative services, rather than curative treatments. Because of this, end-of-life care is best sought when a patient’s healthcare team determines that a terminal medical condition can no longer be treated. For example, a patient with cancer may no longer be a candidate for treatments such as chemotherapy.
However, this patient may still receive medical services such as oxygen therapy, in addition to home care services from senior helpers, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. End-of-life care benefits family members as well as patients, as it can ease the burden of caregiving and offer peace of mind.