The ultimate goal of a hospice program is to provide end-of-life care services and make sure each client is as comfortable as possible in their final days, which may be days, weeks, or months.
This approach goes beyond physical comfort, which is certainly welcomed and appreciated. Helping clients in the Manchester area and beyond can also include supporting family members and other loved ones who are also going through a difficult time.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice has been treating clients in eastern Iowa for years. Our staff is trained in home health care along with end-of-life care and some of our staff have been in this line of work for a long time.
Their experience is appreciated by loved ones, who are often uncertain or unsure about hospice care since they aren’t familiar with the process. So trained employees can be especially appreciated.
Hospice nurses and other medical professionals can be great “ambassadors” to the program. They’re compassionate, calm, and eager to help. They’re generous, have big hearts, and, although there are difficult circumstances, they’re able to help families make the best of things.
This can include checking in with clients regularly and performing any needed medical procedures, such as changing bandages or checking blood pressure. Assessing their health is important. Though they may have a terminal condition, they could have a low immune system and be susceptible to other infections.
Hospice staff are part of a client’s medical team and can relay information to other providers and family members about how their health.
As part of the efforts to help a client’s quality of life during end-of-life care, home health care staff can provide access to a variety of specialists and therapists who can offer additional services.
For instance, they can connect with physical therapists who can help improve strength and flexibility or bring back movement and mobility that may have been lost due to injury or medical condition.
They can also offer the services of occupational therapists, who can help people learn or relearn certain tasks to help them with their independence. Or massage therapy can help with pain and improve relaxation.
Home health staff can also discuss a need for respiratory care, which could be useful for people who have certain medical conditions that restrict their breathing or reduce lung power. This can include various lung diseases, asthma, or COPD.
In some cases, a client may find it increasingly difficult to breathe as their medical condition progresses, so any tools to help their respiration, including portable oxygen, may be useful.
Although providing supplemental oxygen to people with difficulty breathing seems fairly basic or routine, it’s actually a fairly new concept in end-of-life care discussions.
In 2017, this question was discussed in a scholarly setting in a journal article published at the U.S. National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes for Health.
The main topic being discussed was how effective a palliative care focus can be at helping clients with their quality of life, especially those with chronic respiratory diseases.
Efforts to help can include a specific plan to help with the respiratory symptoms for each patient, which could lead to less suffering due to pain and difficulty breathing. Poor breathing could affect other areas of their life, so management of this could make things better for not just the patient but their family.
The authors also recommended using the term “supportive care” to describe these efforts, rather than palliative care, which, at the time, could help people reduce hope.
While the idea of respiratory therapy for end-of-life care clients sounds useful, the more important aspect is people with the skills to be able to manage this level of care.
This is suggested by the American Association for Respiratory Care, which offers training opportunities and other resources for people interested in learning these skills. Some can be learned for those pursuing careers as respiratory therapists, but other units can be learned by nurses and others in the health care field.
Respiratory therapy skills can teach different ways to help patients with their breathing, including mechanical assistance through a ventilator.
These types of skills are increasingly being needed for critical COVID patients who lose the capacity to breathe independently.
Ventilators likely may not be available in a home setting but more places like a hospital or medical center.
But there are plenty of other methods which can help clients dealing with respiratory needs.
This month is an excellent opportunity to learn more. Respiratory Care Week runs Oct. 24-30 this year. The nationwide initiative is designed to let people know how valuable those with respiratory care training can be, especially to those who benefit from respiratory care.
People are encouraged to talk about the topic on their social media channels and in their communities.