The end of life process can be difficult for the families of those facing the final moments. Above & Beyond Hospice Care helps with end of life nutrition & other decisions you may be faced with at this difficult time.
Information About End of Life Nutrition & Other Decisions
There are a number of decisions that need to be made as part of the end of life process. The choices you make are very personal. By the same token, they will allow your loved ones to take care of you in a way that you personally chose. It will help remove a lot of turmoil they would otherwise feel if faced with making these types of decisions on their own.
- Living Will & Durable POA – It’s important to create A Living Will & Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. There are declarations; a list of how you want to be cared for when going through the final stages of life. In addition to deciding if you want to continue nutritional intake there are a number of other areas it will address also.
- Food & Water – One of the “declarations” will include whether or not to provide you with food & water if you are in the final stages of life. Food & water are considered “life sustaining” actions. Frequently asked questions about tube feeding are answered here. While this article talks in depth about both tube feeding & hydration.
- Other Choices to Make – Included in the declarations will also be such decisions as DNR or “Do Not Resuscitate” instructions, life sustaining procedures, comfort care, and more.
Choosing to accept or decline certain types of care is one of the most important life preparations we can make.
5 Ways Hospice Care Helps with End of Life Nutrition & More
Understanding hospice care is important. This article may help you understand hospice care better; while also helping to show you how hospice care helps with end of life nutrition decisions.
- Pain – The human body is a complex and beautiful machine. Part of the end of life process is that our senses are numbed more and more. We no longer recognize or feel pain from lack of nutrition or water. In the same token, our body will shut down until we enter a painless state of ‘sleep’ or coma.
Pain medication may be ordered by your physician. This helps assure that your loved one is not experiencing pain from the health issues they are battling. However, the process associated with the end of life is not a painful experience.
- Tube Feeding – If your loved one has chosen to allow tube feeding our trained nursing staff can assist you with the proper techniques. Hospice care helps with end of life nutrition whenever it is the desire of the patient or their family. The center of Bioethics& Human Dignity (by Trinity International University) offers this information that may help clarify questions about tube feeding.
At the same time, it’s important to understand that tube feeding is a means of prolonging life.
- Comfort Care – Comfort care is, without question, the priority of hospice care. Likewise, comfort care is very specific to each patient, their documented instructions for end of life care, and their personal needs.
- Artificial Nutrition – You may hear the term ‘artificial nutrition’ in discussions of hospice and end of life. This simply means that the patient is taking in nutrients and hydration by means other than by mouth. Here is more information about nutrition and hydration.
- Hydration – If someone chooses not to accept food & hydration our hospice caregivers will provide water to them in small amounts via a sponge or swab. This is a measure of comfort and won’t help prolong life. Also, we will show you how to provide small amounts of water via a special swab or sponge when your loved one is alert enough and able to pull the moisture into their mouth and swallow.
It is rare that hospice care will include tube feeding and hydration; however, there are some cases that require it.
- We should all consider taking a few minutes to ask our doctor or lawyer for a standard Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
- A free Advanced Directive for Healthcare form is available here for you to fill out yourself. Please read the directions carefully.
- Completing these documents will help our families feel comfortable with the decision making process at the time of our death.
Whether you want to plan ahead or simply need to ask questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us about our hospice care. Remember that hospice care helps with end of life nutrition and comfort as we go through the process of the end of life.
Photo by Don Johnson 395