Death is scary. Talking about death isnt easy. Most people want to fight death and extend their life as long as possible, and not mention it. But no matter what we do, the result will be the same, we will die. But its ok to talk about it, to plan for it, and to embrace it. And an End-of-Life Doula can be a helpful guide in making your final journey what you want it to be.Amongst a growing movement to normalize death, End of Life Doulas have emerged to help fill a need by providing professional guidance, resources, and a compassionate hand during this often-difficult time. Among many other things, a doula can help with planning; understanding the dying process; and assisting the family through grief. Through conversations, a doula can help the dying find meaning in their life through their legacies and can help with logistics and arrangements. When the dying process begins, doulas can ensure that final wishes are being honored and can offer education to those involved about the dying process. Many doulas may be able to sit bedside for some of the final vigil to offer needed breaks for family members. After the passing, doulas can continue to offer support to families as they grieve.Talking about death will not speed up the process, but it might just help make it more comfortable and meaningful. Give it a try! Editors Note: This article was written by Lucy Crandall, an End-of-Life Doula. She can be reached at 719-641-6850 or at Lucy@goodmourningsco.com
5 Differences Between Hospice and Palliative CareIntroduction to Hospice Care and Palliative CareYou have probably heard of hospice care and palliative care before. However, many people do not know exactly what these terms mean or the difference between them. Hospice care and palliative care are types of comfort care for people facing serious illnesses. The purpose of both hospice care and palliative care is to make the patient more comfortable by offering pain management and symptom relief.Read on to learn more about hospice and palliative care, as well as the similarities and differences between them.What is hospice care?What is hospice care?Hospice is compassionate comfort care for people with a terminal illness approaching the end of life. Patients must have a life expectancy of six months or fewer to receive Hospice care. However, in Florida, some private pay insurance companies allow for a life expectancy of up to one year. Hospice care is designed for people with illnesses that are not curable, or who do not want to undergo any further treatments. Instead, they wish to spend their remaining time in the comfort of their own home surrounded by their loving family. With hospice, they can receive end-of-life care to make their final days, weeks, or months of life more comfortable and pain-free. Hospice services can include home care, in-patient hospice care, spiritual services, family meetings, care coordination, respite care, and bereavement care.Hospice identifies as being family-centered and focuses on the grieving family just as much as the patient.Florida has the second highest number of hospice patients in the US, behind California. In 2018, there were over 130,000 hospice admissions in Florida. What is palliative care?Like hospice, palliative care is also compassionate comfort care for people with serious illnesses like cancer or heart failure. Palliative care provides pain and symptom management services for the patient. This type of care also aims to relieve stress and improve the quality of life of the patient and their family. Other parts of palliative care can include informing patients of their treatment options, assisting with necessary legal documents such as advance directives, offering spiritual services and more.Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness, including at diagnosis, during treatments, and at the end of life.According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), this type of care has been shown to not only improve the quality of life of patients with serious illnesses, but also reduce caregiver burden and avoidable utilization.Additionally, the Florida Palliative Care Coalition (FPCC) states that palliative care is one of the most impactful methods of improving the quality of care for patients with serious illnesses.What is the Difference Between Hospice Care and Palliative Care?While similar in nature, there are several differences between hospice care and palliative care:Intent of careOne of the main differences between hospice and palliative care is the intent or goal of the care. Hospice care does not have curative intent, or the goal of curing the illness. Instead, it is provided to patients with incurable illnesses or who decline further treatments. Conversely, palliative care can be provided with or without curative intent. Patients may receive palliative care in conjunction with attempted treatments for their illnesses.Eligibility for Hospice and Palliative CareTo be eligible for hospice care, two physicians must certify that the patient has six months or fewer to live if the disease runs its natural course.On the other hand, palliative care services can begin at any time or stage of the illness based on the physicians or patients discretion. A patients condition does not have to be terminal for them to receive palliative care.How to pay for Hospice and Palliative CareHospice care costs can be paid 100% by Medicare, Medicaid, and/or private insurance. In fact, hospice is the only Medicare benefit that covers pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, full-time care access, nursing, social services, grief support, chaplain visits, and more. Palliative care is frequently paid for by private insurance, though Medicare may cover some of the services depending on your benefits and treatment plan. Palliative care costs can include prescriptions, medical visits and many other services. Where Hospice Care and Palliative Care are deliveredHospice care is provided where the patient lives. According to the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association, 80% of hospice care takes place in the patients home. It can also be provided in nursing homes, assisted living communities, or other long-term care facilities.While palliative care can also be delivered in home settings, it is often provided in a hospital or outpatient clinic setting.Who provides Hospice Care and Palliative CareHospice care is usually provided by a team consisting of home health aides, nurses, clergy, hospice physicians, social workers, specialized therapists, and even volunteers.Palliative care is different. Since it is often planned and provided concurrently with specific treatments, it is usually delivered by a team of specially-trained physicians, nurses, the patients primary doctor, and other specialists.Why are Hospice Care and Palliative Care important?It is valuable for older adults to understand hospice and palliative care so they can make informed decisions about their end-of-life wishes. For example, people should express to their family members and doctors in advance if they would want to pursue life-extending treatments if the situation arises. Older adults should also communicate their preferred setting to receive end-of-life care if the time comes, whether that be at home, in a hospital, or in a long-term care setting. Even if these services never end up being necessary for you, it is best to be prepared to ensure your wishes are carried out.How to Find Hospice Care or Palliative CareFinding the best hospice or palliative care for a loved one can be overwhelming, especially when you already have a lot on your plate. Let us help. Florida Senior Consulting is connected with the best professionals in Florida. We can help set you up with the providers you need to get the best care for your loved one. From securing home health care providers to personally coordinating medical appointments and everything in between, we will take on your loved ones case and treat them as if they were our own family.Well help you spend more time with your senior loved one and less time worrying about them.We believe senior care should be on your terms, and the choice should always be yours. Visit our website FloridaSeniorConsulting.com or call (941) 661-6196 to for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We have your best interest at heart and cant wait to get started.
For many of us, the holiday season is a joyful time. Its a rare chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend quality time with our loved ones. But for those dealing with the loss of someone close to them, the holidays can be an especially challenging period. Society tends to put a clock on grief, says Pastor Gary Gibson, Director of Spiritual Care and Chaplain at Presbyterian SeniorCare Network. Everyone goes through this process very, very differently. We must be respectful of that. If you or someone close to you is dealing with loss this time of year, its important to know that the most wonderful time of the year doesnt need to be the most difficult. Below are five tips Pastor Gary recommends to people struggling with grief over the holidays. 1. Set realistic expectations for yourself The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, but they can be especially anxiety-inducing for someone dealing with loss. Its important to be honest with yourself about what youre capable of doing this time of year, Pastor Gary says. We shouldnt let other people determine what we should and should not do. 2. Surround yourself with people who love and support you This holiday season, evaluate your familys understanding of where you are in your journey. Keep in mind that while your friends and family may not always know the right thing to say or the best way to comfort you, they are in your corner and want to help. 3. Dont ignore your holiday traditions While the temptation might be there, try to do everything you can to avoid canceling your holiday plans and traditions. People will tell me they dont want to put up the tree or hang lights outside, Pastor Gary says. But for most people, the person they lost loved the holidays just as much as they did. Its important to still honor their memory. 4. Volunteer Whether its with a local food pantry, hospital, womens shelter or The Salvation Army, helping others is a surefire way to feel better during the holidays. While the first day or two may be difficult, once you volunteer a few times, you may find yourself going back every chance you get. 5. Small progress is still progress It could be hearing the persons favorite Christmas song on the radio or going to a coffee shop alone, but every person who has lost a loved one deals with triggers this time of year. The important thing is to not let it prevent you from making progress each day. Maybe the next time you go to the coffee shop, sit down and hang out for 10 or 15 minutes, Pastor Gary says. You may be surprised at who you might meet. Grief during the holidays is a battle, but with a positive mindset and the support of those around you, there is always hope. You can do it, Pastor Gary says. You just need to continue to encourage yourself to put one foot in front of the other.