Though we all wouldn’t mind a little peace and quiet or maybe a bit of solo time once in a while, truth be told, most residents of Dubuque and elsewhere do like having people around.
The same is true for wanting health care providers and support staff around, whether someone is receiving traditional care or palliative care and hospice care. In these cases, too few people involved in your case can quickly turn into feelings of uncertainty, frustration, and maybe a bit of fear that you’ve been abandoned at a time when you need all sorts of emotional, mental, and maybe even physical support.
The staff at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice understand these feelings and don’t want to be responsible for any of our clients having them. So we do our best to always communicate, answer questions or be in contact with other medical professionals, whether they are physicians, nurses, aides, therapists, or any other specialists who can help.
We also advocate what’s called a palliative team approach, where, when someone moves into a palliative care situation, they aren’t just assigned one physician but an entire group of professionals with different expertise and experiences, who all can have a role in helping provide various needs and quality of life.
A palliative care team can consist of different professionals, including physicians, nurses, aides, massage therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Many palliative care teams also include at least one social worker. He or she can help navigate some of the non-medical aspects of what a client is experiencing, including questions about finances or faith. They also can answer general mental health questions or provide info about estate planning or other final arrangements.
Having access to so many people can be useful to a client as well as their family and close friends. Palliative care team members likely have worked with other families at the end of someone special’s life, so they’re familiar with what often goes on.
This expertise can be useful when the professionals are placed in this situation again, especially among people who have never experienced the end of life process and aren’t sure of anything other than they will soon be losing someone special to them.
Besides having access to different medical professionals who bring different skills to the table, a palliative care team also can be useful for those who prefer to get answers or assistance right away.
For instance, if a physician is the only one with the answers, it may be difficult to reach him with a question. You might have to talk with several members of his or her staff to explain your question. Then you also may have to wait an extended amount of time for him or her to return your message.
In a palliative care situation, many people may be able to provide answers to your question or questions. Or, if they don’t have that specific answer they can contact someone else who can help with that. This type of communication and a focus on service can help a client feel welcome and secure at a difficult time.
Team approach to dementia
The team approach has its supporters especially in situations where a client is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
A team can observe how the client is doing at every visit. They also can talk to family members for their thoughts on whether changes are taking place.
Depending on a particular arrangement for each patient, team members can occasionally collaborate, whether it’s an in-person meeting or sharing thoughts through the Internet. These can take the form of observations and any medical changes, such as noticeable weight gain or loss.
People battling Alzheimer’s disease may, over time, lose some of their mental faculties as well as some physical abilities. When an aide or a nurse shares this with the group, it will give them all the same information.
The client’s situation could also be an opportunity to add more members to a team.
In 1998, the American Journal of Medicine published a piece that suggested that a multi-disciplinary team would be most effective.
Beyond the suggestions already discussed, additions to the team can include pharmacists, nutritionists, psychologists, even an attorney. The latter could be of use by helping clients update any documents such as a will and testament, durable power of attorney, and formalize any life-saving methods.
The idea of a relatively large palliative care team assisting Alzheimer’s disease patients was affirmed in 2014 in a similar article. It advocated the input of different individuals in observing, measuring, and recommending.
This time of year is perfect to do more. If they haven’t already, clients, their families, and existing medical professionals can discuss areas of collaboration so everyone benefits.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week takes place Feb. 14-21 each year. The week is sponsored by the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners, which is happy to offer resources to families and health care professionals. This includes a variety of seminars to make sure people have the latest information and current research.