The term ‘quality-of-life’ can mean all sorts of things to residents of Manchester and elsewhere.
While there are various economic and social definitions, we’re especially interested in how it’s seen In the health care world, especially those receiving end-of-life care. For instance, the term quality of life can mean someone is able to live their life as normally as possible, without being in too much pain, too disabled due to a medical condition, or too negatively affected by medication.
The team at Above and Beyond Health Care and Hospice are familiar with this definition, and it’s one of our goals to do whatever we can to help our clients do everything they can to achieve quality of life.
Yes, to people unfamiliar with hospice care, it can seem a little strange to want to talk about helping people’s lives feel better when they are facing the end of their life in the near future.
But this is exactly one of the reasons why seeking quality of life is so important right now: people with a limited amount of time often want every remaining minute to count. So, in order to make the best of things in whatever number of days they have left, they don’t need to be dealing with too much pain and want as much mental clarity as possible.
Working with a home health care agency that focuses on quality of life can mean figuring out what can help clients get through each day and then helping provide this.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll always feel incredible every day, and there will be moments where they feel terrible mentally, physically, or emotionally. This is part of the grieving process and completely normal and these kinds of feelings are expected.
Clients can also be connected to people to discuss these feelings or ways to deal with the fear and uncertainty of what’s ahead. End-of-life care can include assistance with practical matters such as financial and legal matters and details like planning final arrangements.
Therapists and social workers have received training in these types of topics, but often, many home health care employees can share their experiences and perspectives. While you and your family may be new to the hospice experience, many of the staff have worked with plenty of families going through similar situations.
Conversations can also include discussions about what could be next and general matters of spirituality. People with little time left may have their own concerns and fears but also are thinking about those they’re leaving behind.
Examples of quality of life
Part of the ensuring quality of life can include:
- Pain management. This means they can work with their health care provider to find the best options to reduce their pain if they’re experiencing a high level of pain due to a medical condition such as cancer. Their terminal status means that they also may be able to access certain medications that are effective but not recommended in the long term.
- Mental clarity. Providers can also help find the right combinations of medications to help people stay lucid as well so they can have conversations with friends and family, make any financial or legal decisions clearly, and take care of any arrangements. Medication that works too well might help with pain and reduce anxiety, but it might make someone feel out of sorts.
- Encouraging activity. It could be easy enough, sometimes, to want to stay inside and reflect. But getting out and getting sunlight and maybe some low-impact exercise like a walk around the block could go a long way in improving your mood and outlook.
If you’re interested in learning more bout the different facets of quality of life, this is a great opportunity.
January is considered International Quality of Life Month, which is designed to be an annual opportunity for individuals and organizations to look at their communities and figure out to boost individual or collective quality of life, whatever this means.
For some, it could mean something as simple as access to basic services such as food and shelter. Someone who lacks some or all of these services will definitely feel uplifted once these needs are met. This will then open up the opportunity to pursue other needs.
Eventually, if all these basic needs are met, you can strive for overall excellence and work to discover your own purpose.
Some in the business world use quality of life to describe the subjective aspects of a community that make it sound appealing, like pleasant weather and plenty of recreational activities. Recruiters often use this concept to attract employees or businesses to a certain area.
But ultimately, the health care definition can make a difference to people receiving end-of-life care. Then they can be encouraged to take care of the basics and look for opportunities to enjoy themselves.