Archive for March 2018

Avoiding Caregiver Burnout with Respite Care

Posted on Mar 19, 2018

Being a caregiver for a dying loved one can be a fulltime job. With all the responsibilities and emotions involved in caring for a loved one, sometimes caregivers just need a break. This is a common problem and Medicare created a level of care called respite care to meet this need. With respite care, family caregivers get a break from their caregiving duties while the patient is cared for in a Medicare-certified inpatient facility.

When is Respite Care Allowed?

The official Medicare definition of respite care is, “short-term inpatient care provided to the individual only when necessary to relieve the family members or the person caring for the individual at home.” Qualifying events include:

  • Caregivers becoming sick
  • Emotional or physical fatigue from continually caring for the loved one
  • Needing to attend an important event such as a wedding, jury duty, graduation, or funeral

How Does Respite Care Avoid Burnout?

When a patient is accepted for respite care, Medicare will pay for them to stay in a Medicare-certified facility for up to five days. This provides family caregivers with some free time to rest and get recharged. Knowing the patient is receiving around the clock care from trained professionals can come as a great relief to caregivers who have spent months as the primary caregiver for the patient.

Who Cares for the Patient?

While in the care of the Medicare-certified facility, the regular hospice team will continue to administer the care plan they created, while the facility staff members will fill the role normally played by the family caregiver.  

We understand that caregiver burnout is a real thing, which is why we encourage family members to take advantage of respite care when qualifying situations allow. At Cura-HPC, we want to help families through this difficult time by limiting the emotional stress and physical demands of having a loved one in hospice care. If you need hospice care for your loved one, please call Cura-HPC.

Pain Management in Palliative Care

Posted on Mar 19, 2018

The World Health Organization defines palliative care as, an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

To put it simply, the goal of palliative care is to make the patient as comfortable as possible. As you might imagine, a large part of making patients comfortable is managing the chronic pain that often accompanies end of life care. Not every hospice patient will experience chronic pain, but the hospice team at Cura-HPC will assess the patient’s pain level on a regular basis to see if any care plan adjustments are needed.

To assess the patient’s pain, there are several scales a hospice team can use: 0-10 Numeric Pain Rating Scale, the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale, and the FLACC scale. Each scale has its own advantages and will be used to best assess the pain of the patient.

Once the level of pain has been assessed, we can start treating the patient. A common pain management technique is using medication. By using the right dosage and type of medication, we can block the pain receptors in the brain and decrease the feeling of pain. Some of the most common types of pain medications used to treat chronic pain are:

  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone

Anytime medication is used, we take precautions to ensure patients are not over medicated. While we want to manage the pain as much as possible, we also want patients to be coherent enough to spend meaningful time with their family.

Another method used to treat pain is by tending to the emotional symptoms of pain. Depression and anxiety are often associated with end of life care, and these two factors can worsen the physical pain a patient may be experiencing. By offering grief counseling and bereavement care, depression and anxiety can be better managed.

If your loved one is in need of hospice and palliative care, call Cura-HPC. 

Reducing Stress When Planning a Funeral

Posted on Mar 12, 2018

Planning a funeral for a loved one can be incredibly stressful and frustrating if you’re not careful. While this process won’t likely be enjoyable, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress level and avoid frustration.

Plan Ahead

The more time you have to plan, the easier it will be. As your loved one begins to age and their passing becomes more and more evident, you can start making preliminary funeral plans. You can even take this time to ask for input from your loved one if you feel like they will be receptive to that kind of conversation.

Don’t Do it Alone

Don’t be afraid to delegate certain tasks to other family members or friends. This will allow others to have their voices and input heard during the planning process and it takes duties off your plate so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Ask as Many Questions as You Want

Funeral directors are a great resource to use when planning a funeral. They are particularly good at answering all your funeral related questions, so don’t worry about asking too many. If you’re unsure or curious about something, don’t hesitate to ask.

Talk to Someone

The combination of planning a funeral and dealing with the death of a loved one can take a toll on your emotional state. Cura-HPC offers bereavement counseling for a patient’s family that is available for 12 months after the patient passes. This service can help you deal with the emotions you’re going through and process what you’re feeling.

If you’re looking for a Tulsa hospice provider, call Cura-HPC.