Most people tend to think about end-of-life matters in light of preparing their last will and testament, getting their financial matters in order, and having at least some discussions with family members about what their final wishes are. Death does not always occur suddenly. When an individual learns that he has a life-limiting illness, part of preparing for the end-of-life stage means having family discussions about the most comfortable setting for the individual when the pain becomes too much to handle. It also means that family members need to communicate in specific ways about how best to spend the final time together. It’s during this time that hospice services become vitally important.
Many families have never searched for or interviewed a hospice provider before. It helps to bring a list of questions to the interview. It’s a good idea to learn whether the hospice program is certified and licensed by any state or federal agencies. One of the most important things to know is if the hospice provider will work with the patient’s current doctor. Many families will need 24 hour a day, seven day a week care with instructions for emergency requests. Another important factor is the staff to patient ratio.
The end-of-life stage is certain to be an emotional time. Family members can learn from trained hospice providers about how to communicate their needs effectively, even when they feel angry, extremely sad, or upset. Hospice workers and family members who practice active listening that is gentle, honest, open, and specific, will soon develop a relationship where everyone feels valued. Especially when individuals and family members are feeling distraught, it helps to pay close attention to what hospice providers are saying and respond appropriately.
Gentiva Home Health is now part of Kindred at Home. The collaboration makes Kindred at Home the most geographically diversified home hospice and health organization in the country. Gentiva offers community care and home health care services in addition to hospice services. The service provides care from social workers, doctors, nurses, and counselors. They also provide all medical equipment and supplies, including medications.
Hospice of the Bluegrass offers individuals and their families an interdisciplinary team of highly trained professionals who work with patients and families to offer physical, emotional, and spiritual support. The program provides grief and bereavement services for patients and their families. Team members can include physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, certified nursing assistants, volunteers, and bereavement counselors. Services can be provided in the patient’s home, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and hospitals. Bluegrass also offers in-patient care at the Hospice Care Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Kentucky One Health has a VNA Health at Home program for hospice care. Kentucky One Health provides individuals with life-threatening illnesses with a team of physicians, registered nurses, chaplains, nurses aides, social workers, pharmacists, and hospice volunteers to assist patients and their family members. The program also employs physical, occupational, and speech therapists as needed. The team helps the family focus on living during the final months of life.
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