How to Reach Out to Loved Ones Facing End of Life Illness

Posted on Mar 21, 2019

Visiting loved ones that are living with an incurable disease can be hard — knowing what to say, what to do or how to act may be difficult. But time is of the essence. Here is a short list of activities that can help you engage with loved ones who are in hospice care.

1. Remember the good times.

Now is a great time to bring up fond memories and “remember when” stories. This often will lift the spirits of the patient and also provide a much-needed distraction. A few laughs may be just what the doctor ordered. Feel free to bring pictures, videos, or music that you know will bring them joy. Positive reminiscing can help the patient recall the great times they had — moments of warmth, of joy, and pleasure. This form of nostalgia can greatly impact a loved one.

2. Talk, but on their terms.

While talking with a loved one in hospice care is very therapeutic for the patient and visitor alike, be sensitive to their willingness to speak. If they don’t want to speak, don’t press it. If they can only answer in “yes” or “no” gestures, only talk in ways where those are the only necessary answers. Keep your talking to subjects that you know they like and remain positive. Never squabble or speak ill of others while in their presence.

3. Read to them.

Reading to loved ones in hospice care — whether fictional stories or on a subject you know they enjoy — is a great way to spend time with them. Bring a variety of works you think they may enjoy and let them choose which selections you will read. Get their feedback on the content of what you’re reading as you go in order to include them. They should always feel like you are reading to them and not at them.

4. Touch and interact with them.

With proper permission, don’t feel worried about touching them. Brushing hair, giving hand or foot massages, or just holding their hand can help make them feel special. Interact with love and respect. Touch not only helps them bond with you but also helps them to feel loved.

5. Just be with them.

Sometimes, nothing needs to be said. Letting the patient guide the conversation can sometimes result in complete silence...and that’s ok. The silence may feel uncomfortable, but let it serve its purpose — just time spent in their presence. Looking into the face and the eyes of a loved one can provide immense comfort to the patient and visitor alike.

6. Say goodbye to them.

The patient likely knows that they are dying, so it is typically ok for you to say goodbye. It may be hard to do and some tears will more than likely flow, but this is quite healthy. Offer hugs and tell the person how they have impacted your life. Tell them, lovingly, how much you will miss them and that you will never forget them. This feeling of being remembered can feel like a victory over dying for many hospice patients.


Cura-HPC | Your source for compassionate care.

If you or a loved one require hospice care services, the friendly professionals at Cura-HPC can definitely help. Our experienced and nurturing medical professionals provide specialized care that is sensitive to the unique needs of patients and their loved ones.

How Do Hospice Nurses and the Hospice Team Assist Patients?

Posted on Mar 21, 2019

Approaching the need for hospice services can challenging. You may have some questions.

“How do hospice services differ from other health care services?”

“To what extent will my loved one’s unique needs be met by hospice staff?”

Hospice Care Nurses and Other Personnel

Just as a specialist is best able to treat unique medical needs, the hospice team is dedicated to addressing the unique needs of those requiring end of life care. One of the most vital aspects of this specialized care is the role of the hospice interdisciplinary team. The Cura hospice team is comprised of hospice and palliative care certified medical professionals with specific training and experience who specialize in meeting the distinct medical and emotional needs of patients approaching the end of life. Cura-HPC physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains provide education regarding the disease process and provide expertise to manage symptoms and control pain which is often associated with end-of-life disease.

“How will hospice help me as a caregiver?”

Taking care of anyone, in any stage of health, can be a challenging full-time job. In some instances, a caregiver can feel uncertain about caring for the new and emerging needs of their loved one. The role of the hospice nurse is to provide education and support to caregivers and family members during this challenging time. The gradual passing of a loved one can leave loved ones physically and emotionally drained. The entire Cura hospice team, including social workers, aides and chaplains will be available to provide psychosocial and spiritual support so that families can engage and embrace this journey with their loved one.

You probably have a variety of very unique questions about the specifics of hospice care. In order to have your questions answered and your anxieties relieved, we welcome you to reach out to Cura-HPC. To set up an appointment to speak with a hospice professional, feel free to call 1-800-797-3839.

Visiting Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s or Dementia: Do’s & Don’ts

Posted on Feb 15, 2019

It can be quite difficult to experience a loved one who is suffering from early or advanced stage dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. Visiting a friend or family member who is experiencing lapses in memory or changes in behavior due can be challenging, but it is quite meaningful for all involved — the patient and visitor alike. In this piece, we’re going to examine some of the things you’ll want to not do and do when visiting someone suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.

Don’t:

  • bring up the idea of memory. Asking someone with dementia to recall anything is not polite and may cause immense frustration.
  • use any critical terms. Pointing out failing, mistakes or messes may aggravate someone with cognitive difficulties.
  • talk around them. Always include the patient in any conversation happening in their presence. Speaking as though they can’t hear or understand you is inconsiderate.
  • correct them on inconsequential points. Arguing with someone who is irrational can cause intense frustration for the patient and visitor alike.
  • ask them sensitive questions. Keep all questions simple and inconsequential, giving them plenty of time to answer.

Do:

  • schedule visitations appropriately. The idea of “the more, the merrier” does not apply. Too many people can be overwhelming for dementia patients. Keep visitation to one or two people at a time.
  • remove distractions. Televisions, radios, phones and other noise-creating devices should be turned off and stowed away if possible.
  • prepare other visitors. Just as you’re preparing now, make sure that other visitors are sensitive to the needs of the patient. Make sure all preparations are done before arriving for visitation.
  • remain positive. Keep all of your bodily movements intentional and somewhat slower so as not to startle the individual.
  • identify yourself. Even if this is a parent, grandparent, or close friend, make sure to introduce yourself. State your name and your relationship with them. “My name is Marco. I am your nephew.”
  • talk in short, simple sentences. Trying to comprehend longer sentences may be difficult for those with dementia. Keep statements and questions very short and to the point.
  • follow their pace. Guage their mood and level of energy. Never urge them to do something they don’t want to do.
  • give the person affection. If the patient is comfortable with a hug, feel free to give them one. Always ask first and tell them that you are going to hug them so there are no surprises.

At times, you may wonder if the person you’re visiting even realizes that it is you whom they are visiting. Regardless of this, visitations can help those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia on many different levels.  

Could a Home Funeral Be The Right Choice?

Posted on Feb 07, 2019

Few things in life are certain, but your last wishes should be included amongst those that are. Though your funeral wouldn’t be considered your final sendoff as its an event you won’t consciously attend, deciding how you will be memorialized can bring peace of mind when thinking about death. One funeral option that few consider simply due to its lack of marketing is a home funeral. In this piece, we’ll look at what constitutes a home funeral and if planning to have one will help give you and your loved ones the most meaningful opportunity to say goodbye.

What is a home funeral?

While it may sound like a new-fangled trend, what is called a “home funeral” used to simply be called a “funeral” for most families. Funerals used to almost exclusively take place within the home of the deceased. Instead of professional mortuary specialists caring for the needs of the departed and those left behind, families would take on the responsibility themselves. The resurgence in the desire to take back outsourced duties has resulted also in what is now known as a “home funeral” — a funeral that takes place within a residential space and is sometimes conducted by the family themselves.

Why would one want a home funeral?

Home funerals certainly sound like a lot of work — work that is typically left to trained professionals to relieve the grieving families of such a burden. However, for many individuals and their families, they don’t see the need for personalized care to cease at the moment of death. For the person leaving this world, knowing they will receive a home funeral means that their bodies will be cared for by those who knew them and mourned for in a place familiar to them. This consistent familiarity gives many a great sense of peace and helps ease anxiety about such matters. For the loved ones of the deceased, caring for the body of a loved one could be seen as a continuation of the care they received in life. Home funerals also remove some of the restrictions on time with the deceased for loved ones to say goodbye to the earthly versions of someone. What may not be possible in a commercial funeral home environment (spending extended time with the deceased, certain respectful rituals, etc.) are usually much more possible with a home funeral.

Are there any health hazards associated with having a funeral in one’s home?

One common misconception about home funerals is that having such a display in a residential location may be a health hazard to attendants and mourners. Realistically, home funerals are just as safe and legal as funerals in designated funeral homes, chapels, or other places of significance. To further dispell insecurities about home funerals, there’s also no hard-and-fast rule that the attendants are on their own.  Many licensed funeral professionals are happy to help as little or as much of the process as needed. While some loved ones may feel that taking part in the washing and dressing of a deceased family member or friend may bring additional closure, many are not emotionally prepared for such activities and can leave this to trained professionals. Even though some funeral professionals may not offer help with home funeral arrangements, there typically will always be many more that will than won’t. Even if you elect to not use the body preparation services of a mortuary professional, you may want to seek their assistance for help with legal documentation and transportation of the body to its final resting place.

How can non-professionals care for a deceased loved one?

Even if someone is emotionally prepared to tend to the body of a deceased loved one, some may feel hesitant about having a home funeral because they simply feel materially unprepared. Because caring for the deceased has largely been outsourced to funeral professionals for the last few generations, the art of preparing a body for the next steps has largely been lost to the common person. There was a time when how to care for a deceased loved one was as common knowledge as a favorite family recipe or home remedy for an ailment. Because of renewed interest in home funerals in recent years, a large amount of training material and courses have been developed aimed solely at those wanting to know how to care for deceased loved ones at home. There was even a documentary made that followed a few families during their home funeral processes for loved ones.

Why talk about home funerals now?

For many, there are certain anxieties that surround the treatment of their own earthly remains or the remains of departed loved ones. Investigating the various options and coming to final decisions about such arrangements can help to relieve such anxieties at any stage in life.

As the end of life becomes more evident for a loved one, proper care throughout the process can relieve a great deal of anxiety. It’s for this reason that Cura HPC is dedicated to providing professional and nurturing hospice care for your loved ones.

Fear of the First Step: Hospice Arrangements

Posted on Jan 14, 2019

There are few words that can express the feeling of being told that you or a loved one may need to begin planning for end-of-life care. Many emotions can well up inside — confusion, defeat, anger, and depression are just a few. While we realize that no one escapes the natural rhythm of time, we all pray for a quick, unexpected, yet peaceful passing. This isn’t the case for the majority of us. Because we and so many of our family members will face our passing long before it is immediately upon us, it’s important to open lines of communication with hospice services to determine which best meets your needs — even before their services are immediately necessary.

Talking Logistics is Not Giving Up On Hope

Speaking to car insurance agents about policies doesn’t make us apprehensive about riding in automobiles. Buying fire damage insurance doesn’t make us increasingly wary of lighting candles around the house. Why then would making arrangements for hospice care make us feel that we’re inviting death into our homes? Part of the reason for this is because, while there is a possibility of going through life without a single car accident or house fire, you will eventually pass away. Speaking to hospice care representatives, especially as your health or the health of a loved one deteriorates, can feel like giving up on life. This is probably the single biggest myth about hospice care. Talking to hospice is not waving a white flag, but instead planning for that which no one can avoid.

The Comfort of Knowing

Many have reported scenes where they were given the hardest pill to swallow — that it would be a good idea to start making arrangements for end-of-life care, but that they felt immediate relief from many of their anxieties upon meeting with hospice care representatives. If this is your situation, do not despair. Do you know who also needs to make arrangements for end-of-life care? Absolutely everyone. There is not a soul alive who shouldn’t be making the right arrangements for their care towards the end of life. On the other side of this coin, those who pulled the trigger on speaking with hospice care representatives actually felt much more at ease about their fate or the fate of their loved ones. The comfort of knowing that they or their loved ones would be receiving the utmost quality care was one less thing to worry about. This comfort can be yours as well.