• Carrie Klaege

Hospice and Palliative Care

Being a primary caregiver looks different when a patient is in hospice or palliative care. Read more below to see how you can continue to bring quality and comfort to your patient during this time.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with a serious illness. It can be combined with curative treatment and focuses on providing relief and stress from the illness. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and their loved ones. The medical care of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other specialists work with an individual's primary doctor to provide extra support.

What is Hospice?

Hospice is specialized care designed to support an individual with a terminal illness as well as their friends and family. Rather than focusing on a cure for the illness, hospice aims to provide comfort and quality of life for the remainder of the person's life. Hospice seeks to administer and maintain care pain-free, giving individuals time and comfort to spend with their loved ones. Hospice also can provide emotional support for family members coping with the idea of losing their loved one.

What caregivers should know when their seniors or loved one is in need of these services:

A caregiver's primary role is to provide support to the individual in hospice or palliative care as well as their loved ones. Caregivers who are family members or friends may need a break from their caregiving duties. Hospice Respite Care is designed to provide a temporary break from their hospice patient. This will allow the caregiver to take a short vacation or attend a family event. Respite care provides support in a facility for up to 5 days.

Family members can also supplement their caregiving by hiring professional services like Southern Arizona Home Care to take care of important tasks and errands so loved ones can focus on quality time with their loved one. Professional services like Southern Arizona Home Care are trained professionals who work closely with hospice to keep patients comfortable and maintain communication with the hospice as the patient's needs may change.

Caregivers can Enhance Quality of Life

Caregivers can help enhance the quality of life for older adults who are in hospice by doing various tasks for them. Individuals may have a small appetite and may have difficulty swallowing, so preparing small meals that are easy t swallow are helpful. Also, having nice, loose clothing that they can easily wear will help them feel comfortable and looking their best.

Getting and Staying Organized

Getting and staying organized will be a key factor for the caregiver. The better organized you are, the more the patient and their family can enjoy time together.

Start a notebook where you can keep important phone numbers, medications, and notes about the patient. Utilize the notebook when you need to add important caregiving tasks, appointment schedules and locations, daily routines for the patient, and more. The more organized you are as a caregiver, the less burden a family will feel.

Home Safety

Caregivers can also ensure that wherever the patient is, the room and common areas are safe for them. Whether a loved one has the patient in their home, or the patient is in their own home, caregivers can go through and do a general safety inspection to make sure is it fit for the patient.

Things to look for when checking for safety:

* handrails to help move from room to room

* raised toilet seats

* grab bars in the bathtub, shower, and near the toilet

* non-skid mats on the bathroom floor and bathtub

* properly working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers throughout the home

* emergency numbers for hospice and other family members

* guardrails on the bed if the patient is physically disabled

Caregivers can also take into account the needs of each patient including their mobility, communication, and physical abilities, and look and recommend other things that may be needed in the home.

A professional caregiver can provide comfort care to hospice patients and support family members who want to spend quality time with their loved one. Common care schedules can include overnight shifts where the caregiver stays awake during the night to make sure the patient stays comfortable and can contact family members and hospice agency if the need arises. This often helps family members to maintain their own rest and wellbeing during a time of heightened stress and anxiety.

Call us today to discuss your needs for hospice respite care. 520-261-8716.

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