How To Support Your Loved One When They Require Hospice Care

Posted by Ginny Dutile on Jul 16, 2015 8:54:00 AM

support-loved-one-during-hospice-careWhile family members of aging seniors sometimes prefer not to think about hospice care and their loved one’s end of life, this elderly care service should be considered a way to keep your loved one comfortable during this difficult time. Hospice support providers help you and your senior focus on what your senior is still able to do despite trying circumstances. Some seniors are still able to get out of bed and be active in their environment while receiving hospice care, while others are bed-bound. The type of care hospice provides varies greatly from individual to individual.

In-home hospice care may also be thought of as comfort care. Your loved one would most likely prefer to be at home or in a non-hospital setting as they receive care and support near the end of their life. Hospice care providers can assist by providing comfort measures and maintaining quality of life for your loved one.

Medical Care Is Involved In Hospice Support

It is a common misconception that medical treatments are not provided for aging adults on hospice. In reality, your loved one’s physician and nurses are deeply involved in the care plan.

Doctors decide whether a patient is eligible for hospice and make a recommendation based on their knowledge of the patient’s condition. You and your senior must take the next step towards setting up a hospice care plan based on what the doctor advises.

Many people assume that hospice services must be present within the home 24 hours per day. However, this is another misconception. Hospice services will provide a registered (RN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to manage medications, and if needed, a bath aid to help your loved one bathe and groom. Hospice may provide 24-hour care if the patient is experiencing an uncontrolled medical symptom or pain. However, this level of care is considered to be short-term and not continuous.

Hospice Care In Senior Care Facilities Or At Home

Your loved one is able to receive hospice support whether they live at home, in a skilled nursing facility, in an assisted living facility, at a board and care facility or in any other senior care facility. A skilled team of nurses, a physician and a social worker lead the hospice team regardless of where care is provided.

If you and your senior choose advanced home care during hospice, your caregiver partners closely with the hospice team. Caregivers are expected to report any new symptoms that must be managed in order to increase your loved one’s comfort.

How To Support Your Loved One During Hospice

While a hospice team and an at-home care provider are helpful resources, your loved one may appreciate additional support from their family. The following are recommended ways of showing your loved one you care during hospice:

  • Listen to your senior.
  • Accept and validate their feelings.
  • Find support for yourself in order to grieve properly.
  • Despite the weight of responsibility when making arrangements for care, remember that you are your loved one’s child, grandchild, niece or nephew. You don’t have to be the parent.

Finding a caregiver to provide the necessary attention for your loved one while they are on hospice often comes as a relief for adult children. Many children of aging seniors are not used to assuming a parental role over their loved one.

Whether your senior is currently in need of hospice care or you are planning for their future, a Geriatric Care Manager is available to answer questions and guide you through this important time in your family’s life. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.

Ready to discover more about preparing for your loved one’s elderly care? Learn about choosing a physician, estate planning, financial advising and more by reading the senior care checklist.

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