How Respite Care Helps Families

Posted on Jul 27, 2018

Respite Care

When families enroll their loved one in hospice both the patient and the family get access to a wide range of hospice services. One of those services is respite care, which is temporary care provided for the patient at a hospital, nursing home, or inpatient facility so the family or friends who are acting as the patient’s primary caregivers can rest and take some time off.

Being a hospice caregiver can be incredibly draining, both physically and emotionally. As many hospice patients need constant care and attention, it can be difficult for caregivers to take care of themselves. The time off can allow families and friends a chance to recharge their batteries and take care of personal issues they may have been putting off due to lack of time and energy. Doing so lets the caregivers come back focused and ready to take care of their loved one.

In certain cases, family and friends may be temporarily unable to care for the patient due to extenuating circumstances. This can include illness, natural disaster or extreme weather, family emergencies, or other uncontrollable events. During these times caregivers can rest easy knowing someone will be there to care for their loved one.

Getting a break from the duties of caregiving offers physical and mental benefits.

  • Knowing their loved one is being cared for by a trained professional, caregivers can finally catch up on some of the sleep they’ve been missing out on.
  • Getting to step away from the day to day grind of caregiving will refresh a caregiver’s attitude and renew their energy.
  • Just by taking a few days off, caregivers have reported a major decrease in the amount of stress they feel.
  • Having some much-needed me-time will allow caregivers to return to their normal diet, exercise, and daily routine.

Respite care is a vital part of hospice care, for both the patient and the caregiver. If you are looking for a Tulsa hospice for your loved one, call Cura-HPC. 

What to Expect When Grieving a Loved One

Posted on Jul 19, 2018

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone will experience grief differently. Often, we feel like the grief will never end or like there’s something we could be doing to make it better. While there certainly are steps you can take to improve the grief process, like bereavement care, the way to get over grief is to get through grief. It sounds cliché’, but it’s true. There are so many factors that can affect how a person will grieve that it’s foolish to think there’s a standardized or ideal way to grieve.

That being said, knowing what to expect when grieving a loved one can be helpful. This will help you understand your emotions and feel more comfortable expressing them. Below are a few commonly felt emotions people going through grief may experience. Again, just because you don’t experience any of these emotions or experience emotions not listed doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

Emotions you might feel:

  • Shock
  • Sudden sadness or hopelessness
  • Anxiety about life without your loved one
  • Guilt or anger about things that were said and done, or things that weren’t said and done
  • Relief that their suffering is finally over
  • Not accepting their death

Other, sometimes physical, symptoms of grief:

  • A heavy chest
  • No appetite
  • Mood swings
  • A tight throat
  • Frequent forgetfulness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Difficulty focusing

It's also not uncommon to act out of character in the following ways:

  • Unexpected crying
  • Strange cravings
  • Undereating or overeating
  • Purposeless wandering
  • Taking on behaviors and characteristics of your loved one
  • Fits of anger
  • Frequently talking about your loved one

Study Finds Hospice Care Reduces Hospitalization

Posted on Jul 13, 2018

Tulsa hospice

One of the most difficult parts of caring for an aging loved one is the frequent trips to the hospital. These trips are emotionally draining and they can be expensive. Thankfully, hospice care has proven to be an effective way to reduce trips to the hospital. A study by the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA) found that while 44% of nursing home residents are likely to be hospitalized in the final 30 days of their life, that number drops to 22% for nursing home residents who are enrolled in hospice care. As a Tulsa hospice care provider, we are passionate about reducing hospitalizations for our patients an improving their quality of life.

This study involved 505,851 non-hospice residents and 241,790 hospice-enrolled residents living in more than 14,000 facilities across the nation. Of the residents studied, 37.63% of non-hospice and 23.18% of hospice residents were hospitalized in the last 30 days of their life. This means that for every 10% increase in hospice penetration there is a reduction in hospitalization risk of 5.1% for non-hospice residents and 4.8% for hospice-enrolled residents.

After the study was completed, the researchers found that higher facility-level hospice penetration decreases hospitalization risk for both non-hospice and hospice-enrolled residents. Their findings also dealt with nursing home end-of-life care delivery, collaboration among providers, and cost-benefit analysis of hospice care.

Studies like this continue to show the many benefits of hospice care. However, the sad reality is that the majority of hospice-eligible patients will never receive one day of hospice care. At Cura-HPC, we work hard to ensure as many patients as possible receive the Tulsa hospice care they deserve. 

Hospice Care 101

Posted on Jul 09, 2018

Making the switch to hospice care is almost always a hectic time, especially if it’s a family’s first time to enroll a loved one in hospice. As hospice care functions somewhat differently than standard medical care, families often have several questions. Below is a basic guide to the ins and outs of hospice care.

Hospice Eligibility

It’s important to understand the qualifications for hospice care. The most important factor in hospice qualification is that a doctor determines the patient has a terminal illness, which is defined as having a prognosis of 6 months or less if the disease or illness runs its normal course. There are no exclusions for the kind of terminal illness a patient has. Any terminal illness can qualify a patient for hospice care.

Hospice Team

Once the patient is deemed eligible, a hospice team will meet with the patient and their family to create a customized care plan. The patient’s regular doctor can be part of this team if the patient chooses.

The Goal of Hospice

The care plan will be designed to make the patient as comfortable as possible, not to cure the illness. This style of medical care is referred to as palliative care. Palliative care seeks to improve the quality of life for patients and their families through the prevention and relief of suffering. This goal is accomplished by the treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual issues.

Where Hospice Care is Available

Hospice care can be administered in almost any setting. This includes the patient’s home, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient facilities, and anywhere else the patient is comfortable.

The Cost of Hospice

In most cases, families will pay little to nothing for hospice care. Medicare will likely cover everything needed to treat the terminal illness, including both clinical services (like pain relief) and support services. Some services may also be available to caregivers and loved ones at no additional cost.

If you have more questions about hospice care, please call Cura-HPC. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you make this difficult transition. 

Signs of a Heart Attack

Posted on Jul 02, 2018

As our loved ones age, it’s important that we are able to recognize and deal with common health risks that come with aging. Heart attacks are one of those conditions family members need to be able to catch quickly to seek medical attention immediately. Below are the four signs of a heart attack according to the American Heart Association.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

These symptoms may manifest differently in men and women, but it’s important that families act fast if they think their loved one is experiencing a heart attack. In the event of a heart attack, call 911 as fast as possible. Every second counts when a heart attack is happening.

For more information about heart attacks and what you can do when one strikes, go to the American Heart Association’s heart attack resource center. There you can learn about the signs of an attack, risk factors, and even what to do after an attack happens.

Keeping our elderly loved ones safe is everyone’s responsibility. Sharing this information with other family members at the next family gathering may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it might just save a life.