November is Home Health and Hospice Month. While celebrating this month is important, having care available when and where you need it is something we should celebrate ALL year! Living in poor health or chronic pain can be dreadful. Enjoying activities and hobbies is hard when you’re not feeling well.
Here are some of the fantastic healthcare services that offer hope to those planning to age in place:
- Home health or outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Care management & coordination
- Wound care
- Prescription medication monitoring/ management
- Nursing oversight
Managing Healthcare and Chronic Illnesses
Dealing with chronic health issues and pain can be a full-time job. The physical and mental strain a disease or injury can cause is one thing, but doing all that’s needed to heal or improve a condition is another story. If daily life consists of being on hold on the phone with providers, sitting in waiting rooms, running to pharmacies, and making endless trips back and forth to the clinic for treatment, healing might feel impossible.
We often look to our families or loved ones to help emotionally support us, but that can also affect them and our relationships. You know what they say about venting! It’s all fine and dandy, but you can’t expect friends and loved ones to always be there or to solve what’s bothering you.
The same is true for physical well-being; friends and family are great, but they can’t be there to answer everything unless they’re in the medical field or have training. Having additional oversight from a healthcare team can be helpful. Services like care management and coordination, home health, or at-home therapies can reduce the scheduling hassles, allowing patients the energy they need to heal.
To help improve the quality of life for many, healthcare has gone mobile! From physical, occupational, and speech therapy to at-home nurse visits, home healthcare is becoming widely available to improve life for those who are homebound.
Support at the End of Life
When healthcare systems can no longer cure the conditions plaguing us, we’re forced to stare down the barrel of mortality. To say this is hard would be an understatement. Only those who have been through it know the feeling.
Talking about dying often creates silence. People don’t know what to do or say. The trouble is that silence about the end of life does not make it go away or change; it makes it more complicated. Loved ones may keep trying to find cures or other providers to unravel the prognosis, but when death stares us in the face, and the clinicians truly can’t make us any better, where do we turn?
The answer, another silencing response, is hospice. Hospice is a microphone-dropping word. Hospice means death. People don’t like to discuss death, much less how to die comfortably and pain-free. Barbara Karnes, RN, has expanded upon an excellent point throughout her various podcasts and written materials: when we’ve always been taught to keep trying to get better, allowing death seems foreign. This is precisely why hospice is such an important service.
Staff who work in hospice become experts in helping others go through the dying process. They know what to do even when the ugly crying happens. They can help you make the hard decisions based on what you, as a patient, want versus what your family thinks should be done. Hospice staff can tell you what to expect and, better yet, what they can do to make you comfortable as you complete the circle of life.
When it feels like there’s no hope, hospice is that very hope. Hospice gives patients the tools and voice to die on their terms. They can choose support services and volunteers, have a pain management plan, and feel comfortable knowing they won’t have to go it alone. It’s not just for the patient, but hospice supports families. For up to 13 months following a patient’s death, hospice staff can offer emotional support services and resources to family members or a patient’s loved ones. Knowing that the family will be cared for provides additional comfort for the dying patient.
Hospice can offer services on-site at senior living communities or in private homes. This can help create a calming place to pass away where someone is familiar with their surroundings. Without hospice, patients may be in and out of the hospital trying to treat something that can be managed in the short term but not cured. That can create a revolving door for ambulance rides, emergency medical services, and hospitalizations.
If you’re interested in how home health or hospice services could help you or a loved one, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at CaringEdge. We operate in a number of areas, and we’d love to help you in any way we can. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.