Archive for February 2017

How to Talk with a Loved One with Dementia

Posted on Feb 23, 2017

Few things in end-of-life care are more heartbreaking, stressful, and scary than trying to communicate with a loved one who has dementia. When a loved one can’t remember your name or who you are it can be devastating and terrifying. This added level of emotion makes a challenging situation worse.

However, as frustrating as it can be, regular communication with dementia patients is critical to their health and treatment. If you’re struggling to communicate with a dementia patient, consider the following.

Be Positive- Even when you do get frustrated, do your best to not show it in front of your loved one. Remember that the majority of communication is nonverbal, so use your tone, body language, and facial expressions to keep things positive.  
Remove Distractions- TVs, radios, outside noises, and busy settings can all be very distracting. When the time comes to have a conversation you need to remove all possible distractions. Close the doors and windows, shut the blinds, and turn off all electronics. This will keep the focus on the conversation and reduce the risk of your loved one getting distracted.
Listen Well- It’s common for dementia patients to struggle to find words and answer questions. Be on the lookout for this, and be ready to listen with your ears and eyes. When they are struggling to find the right words or appear confused, don’t be afraid to make suggestions. It’s also helpful to read between the lines and try to figure out the meaning or feeling they’re trying to tell you.
Keep it Simple- Always ask simple questions and don’t ask more than one question at a time. Instead of asking open ended questions, give two or three options or just stick to yes or no questions.
Be Reassuring- Remember that your loved one is probably just as frustrated, if not more so, as you. If they start getting flustered give them a reassuring physical touch and let them know it’s okay. Reassure them that you’re here to help and that no one is mad at them.

Communicating with dementia patients is inevitably hard, so the most important thing to remember is that it’s normal to be frustrated. The staff at Cura-HPC is trained to help facilitate communication between dementia patients and their family. It’s just one of the ways we treat both the patient and the family.

Hospice Care vs Home Health

Posted on Feb 15, 2017

Hospice Care vs Home Health

When you have a loved one who is deteriorating in health, you’ll inevitably come across some terms you’re not familiar with. Two terms that you’ll probably hear frequently are home health and hospice (sometimes called home hospice). Unfortunately, these two terms get used interchangeably a lot, which adds to the confusion. Home health and hospice refer to two very different services for two very different scenarios.

Home Health

A patient receives home health services when they need occasional medical services. This can include: physical therapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy, or nursing care. The patient’s doctor will be in charge of overseeing treatment from the various members of the home health team. Regardless of the treatment provided, all progress will be carefully documented to chart any improvement or decline in the health of the patient.

Home health care can be provided for as long as the doctor in charge feels it is working. Once the doctor feels the patient is no longer responding well to home health care, they will recommend the patient be transferred into the care of a hospice provider. This transition isn’t an abrupt or sudden change, often there’s an overlapping period when the home health and hospice agencies are working together to ensure a smooth transition.


In order to qualify for hospice care, a patient must have a diagnosis of less than six months from a certified doctor. In most situations, hospice care will be provided at a patient’s home from a Medicare-certified provider. A hospice care team will of some combination of a: social worker, doctor, chaplain, bereavement specialist, volunteer, nurse, and hospice aid.

Although hospice patients are required to have a six-month prognosis, patients can receive care for longer than six months if their physician continues to give a limited life expectancy prognosis. Another big difference between hospice and home health is that Medicare can cover 100% of hospice costs including personal care and equipment, and hospice is available for 24/7 care.

We hope this clears up some confusion, and we hope you’ll consider using Cura-HPC when the time comes for one of your loved ones to enter hospice care. 

The Different Kinds of Power of Attorney

Posted on Feb 10, 2017

power of attorney

Most people have heard the term “power of attorney” before, but a lot of people don’t know that there are actually two different kinds – medical and financial. It’s important to designate both, because only designating a financial power of attorney will not allow your representative to make health care decisions, and vice versa. Laws concerning power of attorney vary from state to state so it’s always a good idea to consult a skilled estate planning lawyer when making these sort of plans.

What Does Power of Attorney Do?

This document allows you to guarantee your medical and financial desires are adhered to in the event you are incapacitated. This is done through a trusted person you elect to carry out your final wishes and make any necessary decisions.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical power of attorney gives your representative the ability to make decisions about your treatment options and when to remove feeding tubes and ventilators. This person will be charged with making any decision that is not covered in an advance directive.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney will have control of paying bills and selling any assets. They will also have access to any banking and investment accounts, and can make withdraws in order to pay for necessary goods and services.

It is possible to designate the same person as both medical and financial power of attorney, and this is actually quite common. The person you choose could be a friend, family member, or even a lawyer, all that matters is that you pick a competent person you can trust. Once you’ve decided who is right for each role, give a copy of your advance directive if you have one, and go over it to see if they have any questions. 

What to Know About Dementia

Posted on Feb 03, 2017

Dementia is a word most are familiar with, but few fully understand. The majority of people probably think of dementia as a condition that affects memory. While this is part of dementia, it’s not a full and accurate view of the disease. Dementia is actually a fatal disease for which there is no cure.

There are three primary stages of dementia and it’s best for people with older loved ones to be aware of all three stages to spot the early signs of the disease.

Early Stage- The first signs of early stage dementia are small memory lapses like frequently losing or misplacing things. They might also struggle to remember names or words in conversation. Many may try to write this off as a natural consequence of getting older, but if you notice these signs there are early treatment methods that might be beneficial.
Middle Stage- As dementia progresses, individuals will have trouble remembering where they are and what they’re doing. Planning and organizing their days will become increasingly harder as well. Changes in personality or sleep patterns are also very common for this phase.
Late Stage- Once they enter late stage dementia, the individual will require round the clock care. Taking care of themselves, dressing, and eating will all require the assistance of someone else. During this stage, they are also incredibly susceptible to infections and other diseases so keeping up proper hygiene is very important.

How Can Hospice Help?

Once a dementia patient reaches the point that they qualify for hospice care, there are many ways a trained hospice caregiver can help. Typically, in late stage dementia communication is very limited, so it can be hard to understand what the patient needs to be comfortable. Our staff is trained to understand and treat the needs of dementia patients. We can also help family members understand what their loved one is going through and how they can best offer support.