For families who have a loved one with a serious illness, a physician’s news that the person will not get better may not come as a much of a surprise. For others, who are not expecting such news, families go through feelings of shock and devastation. In both situations, emotions run high, even while many difficult decisions will need to be made.
Families need to set up hospice care, determine how care will be paid for, decide on the setting where hospice care will take place, learn more about the illness, and find support for the family. In addition to all of those decisions, family members may begin the process of making final funeral or burial preparations and adjust their schedules to meet their loved ones’ needs. Families complete all of these tasks and more while they find ways to make the final days with their loved ones special and memorable.
Allied organizations and individuals came together to form the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York, a non-profit organization that promotes the development of comprehensive, quality programs for end-of-life care. This organization offers educational programs, developments in hospice and palliative care initiatives, and a newsletter for its members. The organization offers an online search engine with a database of providers for palliative and hospice care, as well as veteran’s services.
Under the Caregiver Resources tab, caregivers will find additional helpful resources such as:
Family members at the start of their journey in understanding hospice care and adjusting to changing schedules will find useful information at HospiceDirectory.org, which is a subsidiary of the Hospice Foundation of America (HFA). HospiceDirectory.org claims to be the most comprehensive and user-friendly North American directory of hospices. They recognized that families and individuals needed a resource to find hospice that they could access any time of day or night. They created an online directory to fill that need. It’s intended to be the bridge that helps them transition to hospice care.
Families can perform a provider search by location. They can also email basic questions into the site using the contact form and have them answered by a doctor.
Family members usually want to preserve this stage of life by doing some activities together that will be special and memorable. Some suggestions are to write a journal together, organize family photos, put together a collection of favorite things, or plant a memory garden. When it’s appropriate and doesn’t jeopardize the ill person’s life, getting a pet can keep everyone in good spirits. A pet can also provide comfort for those left behind after the person passes away. For those who are able to get out of the house for a time, can also take the focus off sorrowful times. Even short trips can make a world of difference.
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