How Do Family Members Cope With Hospice Care

Felix Garcia

As a family member, it can be incredibly difficult to face the fact that your loved one will have to move into hospice care. Families can face a variety of challenges in dealing with the process. There are many aspects of hospice care that you can expect during this period. Hospice care is primarily focused on creating a holistic environment for the patient, which can be difficult for family members who are dealing with their own grief.

In the midst of such a difficult time, hospices have experience in providing meaningful support to families. Often they can be a great help for you in learning how to cope with grief, and they may even organize grief support groups that allow grieving families to share and process their feelings. Hospice at home can be daunting for family members who are suddenly tasked with caring for a relative and handling tasks like managing medication and feeding.

In most cases, your hospice team will assist in providing care for your loved one at home by visiting them on a routine basis. In the time of transition, you may even be given the opportunity to learn more about hospice care, and to be given the chance to explore your feelings surrounding it.

The following are some ways in which you can cope when your loved one is entering hospice:
Hospice Valley

1. Understand What Hospice Is & Isn't

Generally speaking, hospice care is not about curing the patient, but rather it is about making sure the patient is as comfortable as possible during their final days or months. It is the primary function of hospice services to provide comfort to patients, manage their pain, to provide counseling to them, as well as to take care of other symptoms that may arise as a result of their illness.

In addition, it is very important for you to understand that hospice is not a sign of giving up. There is no reason why a person cannot receive hospice care even if they do not wish to give up on life. Rather, it is about making the best use of the situation, including allowing you to get assistance and take a break when needed.

2. Have a Plan

Taking care of a loved one in hospice can present a range of challenges, one of these being the fact that hospice often comes as a surprise to people. In order to provide adequate hospice care for your loved one, you should know what your responsibilities are as your loved one nears the end of life. The person you are considering for hospice care may have a living will, in which case you must follow their wishes.

In order to help you and your loved one through the end of life process, a hospice provider will work out a care plan based on your specific needs. As your loved one's disease progresses, the hospice will aid in the daily activities of the family, but will also require a bit of adjustment from your loved one. Making a plan in advance and adjusting it accordingly will make the whole process a lot less stressful and an easier one as well.
Hospice Valley

3. Let Family Members Help

Hospice focuses on the patient's comfort, easing their stress as well as being supportive of their family and friends during this difficult time. One of the most important things that you can do to contribute to the daily care of your loved one is to get family members and friends involved. Families and friends can be on hand to provide assistance. Just to give you an example, you could have them help out around the house by vacuuming, cleaning, preparing meals and doing the dishes.

Assign each individual to the right direction so that everybody knows where to go when it is time to help. In addition to your immediate family, you should also take into consideration the extended family, since any type of assistance you are able to receive will be of great assistance to you and the patient. Your best course of action in order to avoid overworking yourself would involve thinking about the options that are available to you.

4. Give the Patient Space

You should give your loved one as much space as necessary when he or she is able to eat, move, and go to the bathroom. Hospice is not meant to be used as a holding area until a patient passes away, but rather to provide pain and symptom management so the patient can live as normally as possible.

If the patient is used to having their time alone, you may politely ask the caregiver, from time to time, to take a break. In turn, this could be beneficial to both the caregiver and your loved one. Talk about this with the patient and see what they think. What is the best way to do it, periodically checking in with him or her and being there only when needed, or should the caregiver stay in the same room at all times?
Hospice Valley

5. Take Care of Yourself

In order to effectively assist someone else, it is imperative that one takes the time to look after oneself as well. In order to ensure that you are able to cope with the changes that may arise with the deterioration of your loved one, it is essential that you prepare for the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes.

Make sure that you do not forget to take breaks, eat, drink, take a shower, and make sure that you get plenty of rest. I know that you may be feeling mixed emotions at this point in time, but taking care of yourself as a first step towards coping with hospice stress will be of tremendous value to yourself.

6. Share Memories

This is almost always the case, the more you talk to the hospice patient, the more comfortable you will feel about the situation. Taking in turns talking to each other about the things you enjoy, the things that you like about each other, being grateful for the things that you are grateful for, and sharing the dreams you see with each other will allow you both to heal from feelings of separation and loneliness.

In some situations, it can be helpful to make a comment like "Remember the days when..." in order to start a conversation. Remembering old experiences and bringing them back to you with a smile is an excellent way to make yourself and others happy. You will be able to pass the time by participating in this activity, and you can also open up to each other, making it a great way of spending time together.
Hospice Valley

7. Use Respite Care

Respite care is used when a caregiver is burnt out, as well as if a caregiver needs a rest. Your loved one can be temporarily transferred to a facility, hospital or nursing home recognized by the Medicare program, and be cared for for a period of five consecutive days. In this way, the caregiver is able to take some time off from the task of caring for the patient.

It is important that you speak to your hospice provider to find out when and how often you can take advantage of respite care. Having this resource available to you is imperative for you, and is something you should only use when you need it.

To Conclude,

As part of the care your loved one will receive, they will have a caregiver in their own home. Often the setting in the home seems to be more comfortable and relaxing than the hospital setting. In many cases, family members suffer from a burden of stress due to the fact that they are rarely used to taking care of their loved one. When a loved one enters hospice care you will be better equipped to cope with the situation by following the 7 tips I have provided.

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There are a number of benefits that you can get from hospice services that I would like to discuss. My aim is to reach out and educate the community on what hospice care is in order to help them make an informed decision about their care. Any questions or concerns that you may have would be my pleasure to address in any way that I can, if I am able to assist you. If you would like to leave a comment, or if you would like to message me directly, please feel free and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Mission Hills, CA

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