As a hospice nurse, you know that you have a challenging and rewarding job. Helping people with quality care in the final stages of life is among the most important jobs of all. Not only can you support the person in need of care, but you can also provide comfort and happiness to friends and family members. Experience, kindness and empathy are qualities that go a long way in your profession. Certainly, each case is different. This requires an awareness of what is going on and an understanding of the uniqueness of each situation. There are a number of ways to provide the best possible nursing care to those nearing the final days of their lives.
In hospice care, patients and their loves ones are often aware the end is near, but it does not make it any less difficult for family members to accept. Many friends and family, even nurses and caregivers, are afraid of saying the wrong thing. They do not want to make a bad impression or seem insensitive. However, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself. The end may be near, so now is the time to show how much you care.
Mindfulness, the act of focusing on being in the present, is sometimes thought of as a type of meditation. Recent studies show that practicing Mindfulness can be an effective strategy for home health care providers, including hospice patients, caregivers, and volunteers. By shifting the focus of hospice care away from states of emotional, mental, or physical distress – it can help reduce pain and anxiety. A growing number of hospice organizations are beginning to integrate these exercises into patient care and caregiver support.
There are similarities and differences between hospice and palliative care services. Both are meant to provide comfort and relief, but they differ in important ways. This infographic helps to explain the differences.
Hospice volunteers are truly amazing people. Volunteers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary team of hospice professionals. Their job, once trained and ready to serve, can lead them in many different directions.
Patient Support: Most hospice volunteers serve as a companion to people who are nearing the end-of-life. That might mean visiting one to two times a week, talking, playing a board game, watching TV or listening as the patient shares stories of his or her life. Some volunteers enjoy writing the patient’s stories down for the patient. Volunteers may be the only non-medical person that visits the patient, especially those who live in adult care facilities.
Respite: Often it is the spouse or caregiver who needs volunteer support. They may need to run an errand, go have lunch with a friend or just rest for an hour or so knowing that someone is there sitting with their loved one. It is important to care for the caregiver since they often spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week caring for their loved one. Volunteers not only sit with the patient for an hour or two so that the caregiver can have a break, and it allows them to check in on the caregiver and spend a few minutes listening to their needs and concerns.
Vigil: Vigil support is offered when a patient is in the final hours to days of life. Volunteers are scheduled to sit with the patient as much as possible during that time so that the patient does not die alone. Volunteers provide a quiet, comforting presence for the patient. This can be particularly important to family members who cannot be present.
Bereavement: Volunteers can support family members following the death of a patient through bereavement calls or visits. When someone loses a loved one, he/she will likely have the need to tell their story over and over again so that it begins to settle in and make sense in their life. A volunteer can be that compassionate listening ear.
Musicians: Musicians play for individual patients or in a group setting at an adult care facility, like a small concert. Music is a universal language and can brighten the patient’s day, comfort, relax and entertain them, and bring back wonderful memories of days gone by.
Veterans: Military Veteran volunteers perform the same patient visits, but are paired with patients who themselves are veterans, thus facilitating a unique and important connection between the veteran and the patient. They are able to use their history and experience in the Armed Forces to add to the quality of life for the patient. In addition, they play a key role in our “We Honor Veterans” program, whereby we honor a patient who is a veteran for their service, by presenting a certificate of thanks and pinning them with a Veteran Service Flag pin. That one on one connection between veterans is a gift to both the presenter and the patient.
Training: Prior to visiting patients, volunteers are interviewed and attend a 30-hour training with other volunteers encompassing many areas including bereavement, communication, death and dying, pain and symptom management, social aspects and many others. There are also experiential exercises, allowing for personal reflection, introspection and an idea of what patients might experience in their dying process. This comprehensive training helps volunteers feel well prepared and confident serving in this essential role as hospice volunteer.
If you would like to be a part of our amazing team of volunteers, please contact us.
Understanding Hospice Care
Understanding hospice care can be difficult and confusing. One of the most important questions you can ask when faced with a serious or fatal illness, is how to care for that loved one. It is a question that should be taken seriously and only answered after much due diligence. One of the biggest mistakes family’s make is lack of preparation due to magnitude of the scenario. Remember, you are not alone, and there are options.
It is important to have a plan of action when dealing with a loved ones illness. How can you increase the quality of life? Who will be the primary caregiver? What are the expectant cost, and who will cover them? these are all valid questions, that should be planned for as soon as possible.
One of the first decisions, is who will be the main point of contact and speak for the loved one in care. This helps cut the confusion when others become involved and have questions themselves.
These decisions can be made more thoughtfully and with less stress if they are made when the loved one can make those decisions with you, so try to plan accordingly.
Know When Hospice Is Needed
There may or may not be a perfect time for hospice care. National averages show that hospice care is generally needed for about 20 days. Once again those 20 days are focused on quality of life.
It’s important to make the decision in a timely fashion, once you come to the conclusion the care is needed. If deciding when that time has come is difficult for you, then consider a few of these signs:
The health of the loved one is declining, symptoms of the illness are increasing thus reducing quality of life, your doctor recommends it is time for hospice.
Who To Discuss Hospice With
The first thing you will want to do is find a Hospice Specialist in Tucson or call Arista at 520-333-0333. You will walked through all of the options available to you and your loved one. Remember, not all hospice is the same, and you must always make a decision based on what’s best for your loved ones.
Approximately ninety percent of all hospice care in America occurs in homes. This statistic points to a couple of things. It highlights that not only is this type of care the norm, but that the demand for care is at an all-time high, as well.
One of the benefits of hospice care is that it can occur in just about any location. Hospitals and senior care facilities alike can work with this arrangement. Even so, people by and large prefer to receive this type of end-of-life care in the comfort of their own homes. It isn’t hard to understand why. At the same time, it is also important to appreciate just how substantial the need for home hospice care is right now. Furthermore, it’s a need that is likely to continue growing as time goes on.
The Demand for Home Hospice Care In America
The CDC reports that there are over 1.5 million hospice patients in America. A quick Google map search for hospice in Tucson displays over 40 providers in the local Tucson area, including in-home care services. Home hospice care can be realized in a variety of different ways. Hospice care is designed to provide support for not only the individual, but for the family and even friends of that individual, as well. However, the main purpose of hospice care is to make things as comfortable and manageable for the individual as possible, once that individual has accepted that death is near and inevitable. Hospice care is not inherently designed to treat the condition, whatever the condition may be. At the same time, treatments can be used in the name of keeping the patient comfortable. Everything about hospice care is designed around keeping the patient as comfortable as possible.
This is perhaps why so many people prefer to receive hospice care in their own homes. None of us like the thought of dying in a rest home or hospital. If we can enjoy our remaining time surrounded by familiar things and faces, we can come to terms with everything that might be going on. The concept of home hospice care can be beneficial to the families and friends of the individual, as well. It can help everyone to accept an unfortunate eventuality.
Home hospice care isn’t generally a 24-hour service, although it can be. It can include physical and psychological efforts to keep the patient comfortable. It often involves working with more than just that individual. This is challenging work that allows care workers to service the community in a unique way. As the baby boomers get older, the demand for home hospice care in America is only going to increase.
Click here for more info about Tucson hospice care.