For many family members, fear springs from not knowing or understanding what to expect. This is especially true when it comes to having a discussion with a physician about starting hospice care for seriously ill seniors. Hospice workers will help ill seniors with pain management and managing other symptoms, but that isn’t all they do. Part of their job is to educate their patients and their family members about what changes they will see in their loved one as their health declines. Having a better understanding of natural changes gives family members peace of mind that death is a natural process.
Another important task that hospice workers have is to encourage senior caregivers to take occasional breaks and take care of themselves. Taking care of a seriously ill individual can be extremely exhausting. Hospice workers will notice when family members need a break and encourage them to take one. In helping family members better understand the aging process, hospice workers help family members know when the end of life is coming and encourage family members to spend more time with their loved one during the final stages.
Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton offers an information line and helps senior caregivers decide when it’s the right time to begin hospice care. The program has residential centers where seniors can receive pain management, palliative care, and hospice care in a home-like, comfortable setting. The program has specialized services including respiratory care, occupational massage, and music therapy. Hospice workers provide medication management and other services 24 hours a day. Volunteers assist with errands and caregiver relief.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides a few specialty hospice programs, including a program for veterans and Hispanics. Crossroads Hospice puts together a team of professionals for ill seniors and their families. Teams include a physician, registered nurse case manager, social worker, chaplain, bereavement counselors, home health aides, and volunteers. They also provide caregiver support groups and bereavement education and support.
Heartland Hospice Services of Dayton is a fully accredited hospice program that serves the Miami Valley in Ohio. Heartland reminds patients and their families that hospice does not mean giving up hope. This hospice program does not require that advance “do not resuscitate” orders be on file. The program works closely with the patient’s other healthcare providers to offer the utmost in quality hospice care. Heartland Hospice offers pain and symptom management, psychosocial support, spiritual support, medications, medical equipment and supplies, patient and family education, therapies, and bereavement services.
Optum Hospice Care offers community-based hospice care. The Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) as demonstrated accredits them by clinical excellence and compassionate care. The hospice team provides care in the patient’s home, in a nursing home, in an assisted living center, at a family member’s home, or wherever the patient lives. Patients can receive care 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Family members that help provide care can get information and resources to help them through their grief, including the opportunity to attend grief support groups.
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