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What is “end-of-life” care and how can it help your family

End-of-life care–the time when a loved one is near the end of their life–is difficult for families too. It is difficult to accept that a person you treasure  may be near the end of their time in this world. However, as a family member, what can you do to ease the burden?

Hospice care may be considered for the more advanced stages of diagnoses, including these and other conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • AIDS
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Neurological conditions
  • Chronic diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Severe stroke
  • Renal failure

What can you do for your loved one?

Participate in family meetings with your loved one’s medical team and caregiver and request a consultation with palliative or hospice care when you and your family feel it’s the right time. Discussing your loved one’s goals and having conversations about advanced care planning are extremely important. This can make the difference between a calm ending and a stressful ending.

Provide Basic Physical Support

Hospice care uses the family members as the main caregivers with the support of a professional care team, so you will undoubtedly continue to provide basic support, such as preparing meals and helping your loved one eat or drink–or perhaps your home caregiver will. Either way, love and support is critical at this time.  As time goes on, this basic support will increase. You may need to help your loved one get changed, bathed, and toileted. You may have a role in helping them track and take medications. Use the care team as a resource to find out what you can do to best help and keep your loved one comfortable. Because these changes will occur suddenly or incrementally over weeks and months, it is important to enlist hospice assistance early. Hospice is not a loss of hope; rather, it adds life to those remaining days. Most of those who do receive hospice care report that they wished they would have started hospice services earlier.

Offer Comfort

You can do much of this yourself at home or in a nursing home depending on where your loved one is staying at this time. For example, you could learn how to give a hand massage with lotion to provide comfort to your loved one. Or you could find music they like that is soothing. You can offer to give a manicure or read aloud.  You could play simple games.

Help with Lifetime Planning

Another way you can help your loved one is by helping plan for the future by getting all financial, personal, health, legal, and other information in order. Although it is not easy to address these topics, it is important to help your loved one make these arrangements so he or she can feel closure and remain calm through the rest of his or her days. This planning includes bank accounts, wills, living trusts, power of attorney, healthcare directives, and funeral arrangements. We can help you find a qualified, professional and compassionate caregiver. Fill in this quick form and we’ll get right back to you: https://www.pillarcare.com/palliative-care/ or call at: 015 4840 0160