Archive for June 2018

Important Hospice Patient Changes to Look For

Posted on Jun 11, 2018

As the primary caregiver for a loved one, families will spend the most time with a patient, which means they have the best opportunity to spot changes in a hospice patient. Catching these changes early can help doctors make better decisions and improve the quality of the care provided. Here are two kinds of changes families should be looking for.  

Physical

Changes in a patient’s physical condition almost always warrants a conversation with someone on the hospice medical team. Common physical changes include:

  • Increased Number of Falls
  • Pain when moving or lying down
  • Refusal or sudden inability to turn or move
  • Skin changes such as sores, tears, bruises, rashes, itching, or a change in color
  • Bladder or bowel functions
  • Eating or drinking habits
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sight or hearing

Mental

Changes in patient’s mental state can be just as important to note as physical changes, but they aren’t as easy to spot. Families need to be vigilant and watch out for:

  • Increased sleeping during the day
  • Difficult to wake from sleep
  • Confusion about time, place, or people
  • Restless (picking or pulling at the bed linen)
  • Talking about things unconnected to the events or people present
  • Increased anxiety, fear, or loneliness at night
  • Suicidal thoughts or depression

A patient receiving end-of-life care via hospice and palliative care will likely go through lots of mental and physical changes, which makes it hard to know which changes need to be brought up with the nurses and doctors. When in doubt, it’s always best to let the hospice medical team know about changes. Having more information will only help them create a care plan that’s right for a patient’s unique needs.  

What You Need to Know About Palliative Care

Posted on Jun 01, 2018

Palliative care is a unique form of care that is vastly different than other forms of medical care. The unique nature of palliative care makes it ideal for meeting the needs of patients, under the correct circumstances. It’s important to understand the basic definition, goals, and applications of palliative care.

Definition

Palliative care is a specialized form of medical care for patients with terminal illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a terminal illness. It is suitable at any age and for any kind of terminal illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

Goal

The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care teams focus on treating people suffering from the symptoms and stress of terminal illnesses. This type of care treats pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and any other symptoms that may be causing discomfort.

Administration

A pure form (meaning only palliative with no curative) of palliative care is most commonly found in a hospice setting. However, palliative care methods are also used in conjunction with curative care as well. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.

If you or a loved one is in need of palliative and hospice care, call Cura-HPC. Our experienced team will provide the highest level of care and compassion to all patients under our care. We are able to provide the full range of hospice services including pain management, personal assistance, spiritual care, coordination of care, and bereavement care.