Over the last several weeks we have been discussing taking care of the caregiver through stress management approaches, respite care and a self care focus. It is important to realize that when you are caring for a terminally ill loved one that there is an amazing support system available to the dying person, caregivers, family and friends.
Hospice can not only deal with the burden of grief at this time, but it can also provide caregiver support, education, expert symptom control, and so much more. Once someone is diagnosed as having a life-threatening illness and having less than six months to live, hospice can be available with all the above services. There is no cost for hospice care. Unfortunately, our society has a lot of taboos about dealing with death and dying. These hesitations set up barriers for people to get involved with hospice at an earlier stage of the dying process.
Many hospices in town offer home care and inpatient care. We have discussed respite care in the past, and this type of support is really important when dealing with a dying loved one. Someone can choose to stay at home as long as they want to and then go to hospice for their last days. They can also stay at home and just go in for symptom control or to give their caregivers a much needed rest.
Catalina In-Home Services is very familiar with working as a partner with in-home hospice care. We train all of our caregivers in end-of-life nursing support approaches and techniques. Soon we will even have a hospice refresher course video online so that a caregiver who has been trained months before can be updated before they are assigned to a hospice situation.
I have been an in-home care and inpatient hospice nurse. Also, one of our clinical nurses has extensive hospice experience over many years. We see this as an amazing service at a very intimate time of a person’s life. Catalina In-Home Services works very closely with the hospice nurse to ensure that the care is consistent, appropriate and promotes quality of life. Our RN Care Managers create a comprehensive and holistic care plan in cooperation with the hospice nurse’s direction. Working compassionately, respectively and expertly, our caregivers provide excellent support for the dying person and their significant others.
CIHS sees the hospice as the umbrella over the whole dying person’s situation. Catalina In- Home Services is the hospice’s companion service to supplement what is needed beyond the hospice’s scope. Some of the extra duties include: basic nursing care, assisting with medications, reporting to the nurse, food shopping and preparation, light housekeeping, fall prevention, ambulation and transfer support.
Caring for someone you love who is dying is a very special and challenging task. With the right expert support it can also be a meaningful and rewarding period in which you can say goodbye to your loved one.
Below are some further resources to explore what hospice is and can answer many questions.
American Cancer Society
National Institute on Aging- also discusses the difference between hospice and palliative care