There is no manual when it comes to saying good-bye to a loved one. Heart to Heart Hospice wants to partner with caregivers to help answer your frequent questions, while providing comfort, support and dignity for end-of-life care. Our new Caregiver’s Corner blog series will compassionately address your concerns and point you to needed resources for your hospice care journey.
“Hospice” can be a scary word for patients and caregivers. When a diagnosis is terminal, it’s easy for loved ones to feel overwhelmed not just with the emotional implications, but also the day-to-day caregiving.
Often, loved ones feel like they are giving up hope when they call in hospice care, but in reality they are bringing in a team to comprehensively attend to the unique physical, mental, emotional and relational aspects of end-of-life care.
“Hospice puts life in your days,” says Seeley Avery, VP of Marketing and Education for Heart to Heart Hospice based in Plano and serving patients in Texas, Michigan and Indiana. Instead of constantly rushing a terminally ill loved one to the emergency department, hospice frequently helps patients receive needed care in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by people they love.
From Confusion to Comfort and Support
When a patient receives a prognosis of six months or less to live, it may be time to consider hospice care (check out our questionnaire Is it Time for Hospice?). Many times, families wait too long to receive the support they need during this difficult time. Heart to Heart Hospice helps coordinate from an interdisciplinary care team of specialized nurses, doctors, aides, dieticians, spiritual and bereavement coordinators and more.
Managing your loved one’s medications, pain levels, medical equipment, and visits from their healthcare team can be confusing and overwhelming. Hospice care means you have support available to you 24/7, offering patient-centered guidance in your time of need. The hospice concept affirms life: it does not hasten or postpone death.
“There is such a thing as a good death, and it can be beautiful, and it can be peaceful,” says Heather Lumsdon, Heart to Heart Hospice’s Chief Clinical Officer. “That’s what hospice care is about — literally living well till the very last breath.”
Through this blog series, we’ll address some of your frequently asked questions and provide a comprehensive look at compassionate, whole-patient hospice care. We’ll also address your needs as the caregiver. Some topics that we’ll cover include:
- Understanding different care options with advanced disease
- Financial responsibilities of a hospice patient caregiver
- How is hospice care financially supported?
- Creating a caregiving schedule with less stress
- How to schedule “need to do” and “want to do” lists
- Making space for and organizing medical supplies and equipment
- Seeking support and taking a break as the caregiver
- Finding alone time in the home
- Asking for help from family members
- Extra resources provided by the hospice team and respite care team
- How do I interact with my loved one who’s dying?
- Signs of approaching death: What to expect and a guide for those final conversations
- What to do when there’s no will or funeral plan
- Grieving a complicated loss from substance abuse or mental illness
- Bereavement services after the death of a loved one
Heart to Heart Hospice understands that a well-equipped caregiver with a supportive, understanding hospice team facilitates a dignified end-of-life experience. We’re here to help you love your family member well until the end and to give you the needed tools to do so with courage, strength and support. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs that will be published right here in the series.