The holiday of Independence Day is over for this year, but the idea of independence can still be celebrated by residents of Cedar Rapids and elsewhere, especially those receiving hospice care.
Though the holiday itself usually can involve fireworks, patriotic music, and perhaps picnics, the idea of independence is something that everyone can appreciate, especially staff and clients at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice.
One of the positives about switching to hospice care from traditional care is that clients are often able to “relax” as their provider changes from active treatment to a more managed solution to their health condition.
For instance, a physician previously may have had them on a strict dietary regimen or taking strong medications with unpleasant side-effects. Their medical care also might have restricted other activities, like being near the hospital or clinic for regular chemo or radiation treatment.
But upon entering hospice care, some of these rules may go away. They may not need to check in with their doctor as often either, and instead, have visits from hospice nurses or other home health care professionals.
Focus on quality of life
If they have the abilities and energy, they will often be allowed to remain in the comfort of their home on their own, rather than having to relocate to a rehabilitation facility or an assisted living center. Even when someone is in good health, this type of move can be disruptive and emotionally challenging. When someone is in a hospice situation, it can be even more stressful.
Many hospice programs allow people to continue living at home for as long as possible. Or they may offer the services of a caregiver on a 24-hour basis or even visiting regularly or a variety of other health care personnel to come on a scheduled basis throughout the week.
Any provider or hospice nurse may switch from “getting better” and become more focused on looking for ways to help boost their quality of life at this challenging time.
This can include a shift in medication as well. Previously, a physician may have prescribed various medications to treat whatever health condition or health conditions that ultimately lead to the need for hospice care. He or she may also need to prescribe something for any side effects from these conditions plus any pain associated with these conditions.
When someone moves to the independence of hospice care, medications may now need to focus more on pain management vs. “treatment methods” that may or may not be ultimately effective. So medications may be changed from what they were taking previously to medications that will provide a better quality of life.
They also may now have access to certain pain medications that may have not been recommended in the past, especially if a provider initially worried about long-term risks to the body or high potential for addiction. If they are given a few months to live, they may not have to worry about some of these longer-term risks so better quality of life can be easier to achieve.
This may require some adjustment and monitoring by hospice staff or especially if someone is in a great deal of pain. Medication may be able to help reduce the pain levels, but at the same time, someone with a limited amount of time left often prefers to be as lucid as possible so they can help family members make final arrangements or discuss end of life care and other options.
Moving to a hospice situation can certainly be scary for people who haven’t thought much about the end of their life or the general process of dying. Yes, people can feel independence from previous restrictions, but they can also feel unsure and uncertain about everything happening to them.
Some of the ways to reduce some of the fear and stress are to learn some of the options available through home health care and hospice care. For instance, Above and Beyond offers a variety of therapies and services to help clients. This includes regular massage therapy which can relax stressed muscles and reduce mental stress as well; occupational therapy, which helps people learn or relearn skills to help them remain independent and also makes sure their home is safe; and physical therapy, which helps heal injured muscles or motion.
All of these options can make it easier to transition into hospice care and have the energy to better deal with what’s coming ahead.
Our staff is also aware of the challenges that clients might be feeling so we’ll do our best to help them feel comfortable what’s happening now and what can be happening in the future.