The Caregivers Guide to Hospice and Palliative Care at Home

Posted on

Jan 28, 2017

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If you have been the primary caregiver for a family member or friend, you have probably been given a lot of information, with numerous choices.
You have more than likely met the primary physician, with referrals to a specialist, perhaps with numerous hospital visits. Perhaps your loved one has been in rehab, or has received Medicare home health services. Maybe you have moved him or her to assisted living or to a nursing facility. With each change, you had to meet a new group of healthcare professionals, and made the necessary adjustments to new routines.
Even though you have been through lots of transition, now you are faced with more decisions. Your loved one is declining. Treatments intended to improve his life are no longer effective, possibly causing more pain and suffering. You are now having to make an even more difficult decisionis it time for hospice care? Hospice can be such a scary word for the patient and family member. One can feel a tremendous responsibility when making these difficult decisions.
When is it right to begin hospice care? Optimally, when there are no more curative treatment options, and the focus becomes comfort and quality of life. Sometime curative treatment causes more suffering than benefit, with the patient and family member electing to stop aggressive measures. However, Hospice patients can often continue to receive additional services to help improve their quality of life.
What is palliative care? Palliative Care is a specialized form of medical care that helps patients feel relief from pain, symptoms, and emotional distress caused by a serious illness or its treatment. Unlike Hospice, it is much more than just comfort care. The goal of palliative care is to improve a patients quality of life throughout the course of a serious illness. Palliative Care can be used along with treatments meant to cure.
Palliative Care can be helpful at any time during a persons illness. Most palliative care services are given in the hospital, and sometimes in outpatient clinics. Talk with your physician if you feel that palliative care might be helpful. There are palliative nursing services that can provide weekly home visits at a private pay basis. '
Editors Note: This article was submitted by Jo Alch, R.N, founder of Acappella in Home Care and Palliative Nursing Partners. She may be reached at joalch@acappellainhomecare.com.

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