Understanding the Hospice Admission Process

Understanding the hospice admission processes before you make your decision on who to bring into the hospital’s hospice service is crucial to the overall success of your loved one’s hospice. Although many people do not realize it, the admission process for hospice care is just as vital to the quality of care as any other part of the medical system. If your family has decided that hospice is the best option for their loved one, you must also decide how you will go about the entire admission process. While each facility may have slightly different procedures, the process generally follows these basic steps. By understanding the basics of hospice care and what is involved in each step, you can give yourself the upper hand when it comes time to make your final decision.

The hospice admission process might seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning, but when the process is completed with your ill loved one, he or she will have a very good end of life experience overall. Before you make your choice of hospice care, you should be absolutely certain that you are choosing the right hospice facility for your loved one. There are some things that you should be aware of before you even begin the selection process. First, remember that every facility is slightly different in how they screen their patients, so you might not always get exactly what you expected. But, by taking the time to research and see all of the options available, you can ensure that you make the right decision.

It is extremely important to understand how to interact with hospice patients when you make your decision to enroll them in the service. You cannot simply turn your back on them and assume that they will be difficult to deal with. Understanding the basics of hospice care and what is required of patients and their families helps to ensure that you are able to make the right decisions for your family.

The first step in the hospice admission process involves the screening of your loved one. During this point in the hospice care process, it is a bit overwhelming, but you need to try to stay calm. The staff at the hospice facility is trained to work with patients that are a bit overwhelmed and distressed by the hospice care that they are currently receiving. Even if you do not think that your loved one is ready to be admitted, it is important to make him or her feel comfortable and ready to accept their new circumstances. Take them out for a walk, show them affection, and create a general atmosphere of normality in the room. Doing these things can help to alleviate some of the stress that is being experienced.

When you are looking over the details of the hospice care that you have chosen, there are a few things that you should pay particular attention to. One of the most important details of the hospice care that you need to be aware of is the difference between the hospice care and the life support services that are provided. A brief discussion about what each of those services consist of may help you to determine how to interact with hospice patients. Many times people become confused between the two different services, so it is important that you get a clearer picture of each of them. Once you understand the difference between the two, you will be able to better communicate with the people that are at the hospice center.

During the hospice interview process, it is important that you understand that it will be your responsibility to fill out the necessary paperwork that is required by the hospice facility. This paperwork is not only required by the state that the hospice is located in, but also by the hospice care itself. This paperwork is very important as it helps to explain who is paying for what, the specific medical needs of the patient, and all of the other specifics that are associated with the hospice care that you have chosen. The reason why you are being asked to fill out this paperwork is to ensure that you are able to meet all of the standards that have been set forth by the hospice. There are certain standards that must be met in order for the patient to receive hospice care and those requirements must be met. For instance, it is vital that the patient must be nearing the end stages of their life in order to qualify for hospice care and that the patient must actually want to be placed in hospice care.

In addition to the paperwork that is involved in the hospice interview process, there are many other aspects of the hospice care that you will need to understand as well. For example, many times when a person is being admitted to the hospice care they are going to be given many nutritional supplements, medicines and other types of medication in order to assist in their healing process. When you are filling out the forms that you are given at the hospice facility, you need to make sure that you completely understand what you are signing and whether or not the particular medications that you are being given are approved for use by your physician.

There are many different things that you can do to make sure that you understand the entire hospice care process fully. The most important aspect of the entire process however is making sure that you ask all of the questions that you have about the laws, regulations and requirements that are set forth. Without understanding these requirements you may not receive the care that you desperately need and deserve. Asking all of the questions that you need to when it comes to the hospice care, the physicians and the requirements are a very good way to start the process of truly understanding what you are getting yourself into.

What Every Family Should Know About Hospice Care

The basic information that every family should know about hospice care is that it is a medical service that offers compassionate end-of-life assistance to those who need it most. Hospice is always confidential and anyone that receives this type of care is not to be informed of the reason for the visit or the patient’s condition. This type of care can be life-saving, but it should never be news to the patient or family. There are several services that a patient can receive through hospice care including; physical care, counseling and socialization, spiritual support, education and family involvement and a home care program.

Each of these areas of care requires special effort to make sure the patient is comfortable. Physical care includes keeping the patient comfortable and keeping their pain and symptoms from getting any worse. One of the challenges of hospice is keeping the environment as quiet as possible. The main reason for this is to prevent the patient from harming themselves or others in the home while they are receiving care. If a person is having trouble dealing with an illness or pain, the staff will make sure that they do not speak to anyone else or begin talking to them while the patient is in the room. Staff will also keep the rooms as quiet as possible, no television or radio will be playing and no cell phones are allowed in the room.

Counseling and socialization are another thing that a family member should be involved with when their loved one is in the process of receiving care. This is extremely important. They should be given the opportunity to talk to other people and learn more about their disease and what they can expect. This can be a very stressful time and the family should do all that they can to help the patient through it. Counselors are there to help and to provide support and by talking to patients and their families they can identify any problems or feelings that might be going on.

There are also events that families should plan to attend if hospice care is a possibility for their loved one. These events should be planned and attended in order to be prepared for what is going on. One such event is a favorite family vacation. Planning a trip will give them the chance to spend time with each other and to enjoy the good times they had together. It also gives them an opportunity to discuss things with the doctors and nurses while they are there.

Even though they are going through this difficult time in their family member’s life, it is comforting to know that their condition will be handled properly and that their quality of life will be enhanced. It also allows the patient and their family members a chance to say goodbye to them. There are several ways in which these trips can be planned. Some of them include:

They may take their relative or the entire family on a road trip. This can be done by hiring a car with a driver who knows all the places they will be familiar with all of the major roads. The cost of the trip does vary depending on how long it is going to last but it is a very affordable way for everyone to enjoy themselves while they are getting the care they deserve. A lot of hospitals offer travel assistance in case the patient’s own transportation is not available.

A lot of people also elect to arrange for hospice care on their own. This is usually much cheaper than taking someone else along. It is also much more private and personal, because the patient is in charge of the process. It can be much more challenging to handle the care of a patient who has passed away but having the assistance of a hospice care team can make it much easier. They are able to provide the most personalized care in the end and are also trained in all kinds of emergencies.

Families need to consider all of their options when deciding on hospice care. They need to consider if the benefits of hospice care are something that will benefit them and their loved ones in the end. They also need to know what to expect when they take advantage of this service. There is a lot to consider so it is best to make a decision as early as possible.

Elderly Safety – How to Make Your Home Safe For The Elderly

Do you feel as though you are the only one in your household who is concerned about safety for the elderly? Does it seem that no one is willing to take responsibility for protecting our elders? If so, you need to change that attitude right now.

Home Safety

We live in a society that places a lot of emphasis on safety measures for the elderly. After all, we do not want them to suffer the consequences of their own bad decisions.

After all, if they were able to make a decision and follow through with it without any outside influence, what would be the harm in making sure that they are safe? After all, it is the responsibility of those who are charged with caring for our elders to ensure that they are protected from all potential hazards.

Of course, the reality is that it is not always possible to make sure that our loved ones are safe. There are times when we are unable to get to them quickly enough.

That is why there is some good news. A lot of changes are going to be made in the coming years that will allow more of us to care for our elders.

Medical advances have made it easier for us to care for the elderly. We can now use prescription medications and technology like oxygen to give our loved ones the level of comfort and care that they need.

This makes our home’s safety for the elderly an option that we can take advantage of. Even if we cannot get to them as quickly as we would like, we can at least care for them until the time comes for us to be able to do so.

What this means for you as a homeowner is that you will have the chance to be proactive about the issue of safety for the elderly. You can take some steps that will decrease the risk of accidents occurring in your home and increase the safety of the elderly.

For example, you can use a properly installed door that locks all the way up. You can also invest in a smoke detector or sensor that is hard wired into the wall so that the batteries are constantly being used to monitor the levels of smoke.

It is also a good idea to install at least one video camera that will be positioned in the room where the elderly person is staying. You can also place the video camera in a central area where there is a good view of the room.

You can use alarms in rooms where the elderly are sleeping. These are particularly important in the small bedroom where the elderly may often sleep.

It is very important that you begin the process of making your home safety for the elderly as a priority. It is never too early to start caring for the elderly and even if you cannot take them out of the house every day, you can at least try to remove them from the house every other day.

What Does It Mean To Be On Hospice Care?

There are a lot of similarities between hospice care and palliative care. Both are highly emotional experiences, which often bring grief and heartache to families. But you may have questions about what is meant by hospice care.

Hospice

Many people misunderstand the differences between palliative care and hospice care. Many people think that hospice care is like a nursing home. They will be shocked to learn that this is not the case. Hospice care is much different than a nursing home.

Palliative care is for patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. They have no other option but to live a very uncomfortable life until they die. In order to help these patients are comfortable, palliative care is used to help them cope with their pain and suffering.

A hospice care facility does not use palliative care. Hospice care is for patients who are in their last days. A hospice care facility helps patients who are near death, instead of making them feel like they need palliative care, which they do not.

The difference between palliative care and hospice care is very important. The term “palliative care” is not as well-known as the term “hepatic crisis.” It is important to learn the difference between the two types of care so that you can make an informed decision about your care.

When we hear the term “palliative care,” we think of medical facilities that are highly trained, fully equipped and well-funded for the treatment of pain and suffering. This is not true. Hospice care is similar to medical palliative care.

Hospice care uses both palliative and medical treatment. If you choose to go to a hospice facility, you will most likely be given prescription drugs to help you cope with your pain and discomfort. They will also recommend medications that will keep you comfortable and pain-free for as long as possible.

You will usually find that a hospice care facility will also offer other options for coping with your pain and discomfort. You will also get counseling and support groups. Some patients are assigned a caregiver, who is often a nurse or counselor, to help them through their final days.

What does it mean to be on hospice care? You will not feel like you are dying. Instead, you will have regular check-ups and outpatient procedures. You will be monitored, possibly even admitted to the hospital for some visits.

The difference between palliative care and hospice care is not as large as it may seem. Many times you will be given medicines, which you will need for daily living. In many cases, you will not need anything more from the hospice care facility than a change of clothing and linens.

Remember that you are not dying when you go to a hospice care facility. There are many things that you can do in the last months and days of your life.

It is best to go to a hospice care facility when you are ready to accept your mortality. You should be prepared for this, because it is going to be an emotionally draining experience. You will need support and comfort from the right sources.

Hiring the Right Caregiver for the Elderly

Caring for your family is an important part of your life. You always have to make sure that your loved ones are happy and properly taken care of. This holds true especially for children and the elderly. With kids, you hire nannies or babysitters to care for them while you are busy at work or have to be somewhere for the night. But when it comes to the elderly, you need more than daily help with naps and snacks — you need professionals and choosing one is not as easy as checking the yellow pages.

Hiring the right caregiver can be stressful but with these few helpful and practical pointers, the ordeal might become less challenging.

1.    Make your own elderly’s needs known.

When hiring the right caregiver, do not just settle for the fact that such person has prior experience with other elderly people. Instead, ask if he or she is up to the task of caring for your own elderly. The needs of other people may not be the same as your ailing mother’s so it is best that you determine if this potential caregiver has the necessary qualities and qualifications to adequately provide support and assistance to your own family.

2.    Other skills are important as well.

It is not sufficient that your caregiver knows how to cook or clean up around the house. More than that, he or she should be able to drive your elderly to and from your house and other places. It is very common that he or she may need to go to the doctor’s clinic for an important appointment or to the community center for a weekday afternoon.

The caregiver’s social skills are essential as well. If he or she does a good job in preparing the food, medicines, and sponge bath for your elderly but they do not get along, the whole setup would be useless. To avoid this from happening, find someone whom your family member will be at ease with.

3.    Always verify necessary information.

It is not rude to do a background check on every applicant. As a matter of fact, it is necessary for your family’s safety. Ask for police clearances and previous employee references when you interview a candidate and verify these pieces of information.

4.    Your elderly’s opinion matters.

While you are in charge of searching for the perfect caregiver for your family members, it does not mean, however, that you should leave your elderly out of the application process. If possible, let your elderly sit through the interviews so he or she can observe his or her potential caregiver.

If your elderly has strong opinions about hiring or ignoring an applicant, be sure to listen to these. If he or she is not comfortable with that particular caregiver, do not insist on your choice. It is your elderly’s convenience and comfort which should be the primary consideration in hiring the right caregiver.

Hiring the right caregiver is a crucial task that one must go through. The process can be very tedious but at the end of the day, you should remember that the comfort and safety of your loved one is what really matters.

4 Tips on Choosing Reliable Senior Housing

It happens sooner or later: your parents grow old and you become responsible for them when once they had been responsible for you and part of that responsibility may include the difficult decision of seeking outside help once you have acknowledged that you are ill-equipped to provide the specialized care and attention that they need in their golden years.

Seeking reliable senior housing for your loved one requires careful discernment and asking the right questions. You may be operating on a strict budget, but that does not mean you cannot get real value for your money. At the end of the day, it is the welfare of your loved one that is of paramount concern. Here are some tips to consider in choosing reliable senior housing:

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1. Geographic location

Keep your relationship alive and well by visiting as often as you can, even if you no longer live together. You would also be on hand should a medical emergency arise. This will also give you the opportunity to check out the operations of the housing facility as often as you like, and determine whether it truly is working as you expected.  Obviously, this will be easier to do if the location of the housing facility is near enough to your place of residence; thus, allowing for easy and frequent visits.

On the other hand, if you reside several states away from the hometown of your loved one, they may prefer a more familiar location. Moving them to an entirely different locale, with different people and a different climate and environment, can do more harm than good. Discuss the pros and cons with your family, and don’t make a decision unless you feel very comfortable with it.

2. Medical facilities

This is especially important if your loved one suffers from a condition that requires specific care. Will the senior housing facility have well-trained staff who also have experience in handling this kind of condition? Do they have the proper equipment and medicines when needed, round the clock?

Don’t hesitate to ask around and inquire about the staff’s professional experience and their availability. Be as careful and discerning as you would be if you were choosing your own doctor. Be sure to make an informed decision, and don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.

3. Facilities that help promote a good and healthy quality of life

Will there be enough mental and physical stimulation so that your loved one can adequately enjoy himself? Is there a safe and clean environment where they can walk around, play light sports, or socialize?

Does your loved one still retain a sense of privacy and solitude in his new living arrangements? Does he have access to quality entertainment of the type which you know he will surely enjoy? Make sure that your decision on choosing reliable senior housing promotes their physical, mental and emotional well-being, which in itself can help minimize their health and medical complaints.

4. Make sure to involve your loved one in the decision

If you’re having difficulty in choosing between two equally reliable senior housing options, why don’t you ask your loved one what they think? They will, after all, be the ones who will live there, and it is always advisable to keep your communication lines open and healthy. They may have peculiar quirks, insights or preferences that can spell the difference between a good and comfortable retirement, as opposed to an uncomfortable and troubled one.

The Guide to Helping Patients Cope with Alzheimer’s

There are times when people who are dedicated in helping patients cope with Alzheimer’s will feel frustrated and confused. Dealing with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease is never easy. The job gets harder when the illness gets worse. So, what should you do?

Communication Challenge

People with AD have trouble remembering things so it can be tough to communicate with them. They easily forget what they want to say. They also have problems in understanding some words. When the conversation takes longer, it will be hard for them to stay focused.

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The first thing that you can do is to understand how AD affects the person’s memory. Then, try to make the communication less complicated. Make it easier for the person to understand what you are talking about. Maintain eye contact and call him by name while talking to keep the person’s attention.

Observe your tone and pitch while speaking to the patient. You must be aware of the way you look at the person. Make sure that your body language is appropriate. If you fold your arms tightly, the person with AD may think that you are angry or tense.

Always encourage the person with AD to talk as much as he can. Expressing his thoughts will make him feel good about himself. You may also touch the person’s shoulder gently to make him feel more comfortable with you. Helping patients cope with Alzheimer’s is not always serious. Try to engage the person in fun activities to distract his mind from communication problems.

Attention Challenge

During the early stages of memory loss, the patient is informed of the changes he should expect. The doctor tells the patient how AD can affect his mind.

Make the patient feel better by listening carefully to what he says. Let the person express his feelings and thoughts about the changes that he is experiencing. Take note of the person’s words and see if there are lapses in his speech.

Be sensitive to the person’s feelings. Don’t correct him every time he says something weird or every time he commits a mistake. Don’t embarrass the person if he forgets something. Be mindful of the struggle he is dealing with. It is hard to be the one to take care of someone who is diagnosed with AD, but it is harder to be the person who has AD.

Increase your patience when the person is struggling to find the right words to say. Try to help him express his feelings. Encourage him to elaborate his sentences by repeating his words and adding more information. On the other hand, do not be too quick in filling in the person’s speech. Allow the AD patient to finish his sentences before you think of the more appropriate terms to use.

Lastly, you have always to observe the changes that you see about the patient. In helping patients cope with Alzheimer’s, it is necessary to understand their behavior and deal with it properly.

Contributory Factors of Dementia

Dementia is an illness characterized by gradual decline of the brain’s abilities, thus affecting the normal activities of the person. The extreme result of this mental affliction is total memory loss. During the initial stages of dementia, the inability to think clearly and forgetfulness are symptoms that should be taken seriously. This condition affects not just the person who has it but the people around him as well, especially his family.

Dementia was once referred to as senility or normal aging process where the optimal functions of brain decline. However, studies show that dementia is more than senility. It is a debilitating condition that causes severe damage in the brain which results in permanent loss of its functions.

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Contributory factors of Dementia are:

  • Diseases – There are diseases that contribute to the degeneration and death of brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease accounts to 8o% of dementia cases. Diabetes Mellitus is another disease that is associated with dementia.
  • Stroke – It can cause Vascular Dementia. It happens when the brain’s oxygen supply is interrupted abruptly during the stroke and damaged the healthy brain cells.
  • Lewy bodies – They are small, circular protein lumps that are formed inside the brain cells. How they are build up is still unknown but these lumps affect the neurotransmitters chemicals of the brain known as acetylcholine and dopamine. These chemicals play vital roles in the memory, mood, attention and learning abilities of the brain. The abnormal protein formation affects the ability of the brain to do its normal functions affecting physical abilities. The most serious disease that this condition brings is Parkinson’s.
  • Atherosclerosis – It is known as small vessel disease. It is common among people who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure. It is also the disease of most smokers. It develops when blood vessels in the brain become narrow and hard, preventing blood supply to flow normally. When blood vessels harden, fatty deposits are developed, which then causes this condition.

Other contributory factors of Dementia which can be treated immediately are:

  • Thyroid Problems such as lack of thyroid hormones
  • Vitamin deficiencies like lack of essential Vitamin B
  • High Cholesterol – Abnormal or high-level of bad cholesterol (LDL) increases the risk of getting dementia.
  • Homocysteine – It is an amino acid that flows in the blood and is associated with protein build-up. Abundance of this acid can lead to dementia.
  • Psychological disorders – Because of lack of regular activities that stimulate cognitive functioning of the brain. Another factor is social isolation which leads to depression.
  • Genetic factors like age and family genes – As people age, the risk of getting dementia increases. Sometimes, dementia runs in the family because of certain gene mutations bring this condition.
  • Head injury – Sudden impact and severe damage in the brain can cause dementia.
  • Brain tumors – Lumps in the brain can cause partial to total damage to its healthy cells.
  • Long-term alcohol consumption – Drinking a large amount of alcohol regularly can increase the risk of dementia.
  • Smoking – Studies show that smokers are at risk of early mental decline and dementia.
  • Infections like encephalitis and HIV-related infections

Rare cases of dementia like neurodegenerative dementia are caused by corticobasal denegeneration, progressive supranuclear palsy, Huntington’s disease and corticol atrophy.

How to be an Effective Caregiver?

Growing old is an inevitable aspect of life. However, many seniors face the struggles of living alone since most of their children have moved out and started their own families. Therefore, most old people face psychological problems because of having been left behind by loved ones. Most also have problems dealing with running errands and other daily physical activities due to their old age.

That is not always the case as many seniors hire the professional service of caregivers to help them out with their day-to-day needs. Caregivers can work part-time or full-time depending on the senior’s needs. Around 40 – 60 million people in the US are considered to be caregivers. Any of the family members, neighbors and paid home care workers can be considered as caregivers. An effective caregiver sees to it that seniors receive proper care such as giving them medicines on time, monitoring their blood pressure and doing other physical work on their behalf.

Providing care and support to seniors can be a rewarding experience as the caregiver and the elder often form a special kind of bond, which is cited by many caregivers as one of the reasons why they stay on the job. This article will discuss some of the ways on how to be an effective caregiver.

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•    Look after yourself
To be an effective caregiver, you need to take good care of yourself first. Being in an unhealthy state will only render you ineffective in carrying out your duties. You need to follow a balanced diet, get enough sleep and do regular exercises. You can lessen the fatigue from work by leading a healthy lifestyle.

•    Get regular breaks
Caregivers usually experience fatigue and burnout when caring for seniors especially those suffering from chronic and debilitating medical conditions. Therefore, you may need to step back from work and relieve some stress. You can take a quick vacation to recover from all the stress and fatigue. You can go to the spa and give yourself the much-needed pampering, or you can go out with your friends on a Friday night. You can also take a hiking trip or just stay at home and watch movies. You can also take up a new hobby or whatever makes you relieve stress.

•    Ask for help if necessary
If you find yourself doing something important, you can ask a friend or any of the family member to take over for you temporarily. You can also get in touch with community resources that deal with providing care for seniors to send someone out to act temporarily as the senior’s caregiver. Some local facilities also provide home health care services. The National Family Caregiver Support Program and other elderly support agencies are also responsible for providing care to the elderly. They can help you out in terms of proper caregiver education and training.

•    Communicate with the elder’s family
There are instances wherein the family members leave all the decision-making to the caregiver’s hands since most of them are leading a hectic life. However, the best approach when providing care to seniors is to communicate with one or more members of the family regarding their expectations and decisions of care. Setting up a regular meeting and getting input from everyone is always the best approach. Getting the family members’ participation can help ease the burden and make things a lot easier.

Final Thoughts
Caregiving is both a rewarding and stressful job. Therefore, you need to know how to become an effective caregiver. The elderly population is expected to triple or quadruple in number in the next three decades. Caregivers need to take pride in what they are doing. Love and compassion are the primary things that are important in this profession.