Archive for April 2018

Hospice Care for Cancer Patients

Posted on Apr 20, 2018

While medical researchers have made great strides in cancer research, there often comes a point in which treatments are no longer effective and remission is out of reach. When a patient reaches this point, hospice can be a great benefit. The goal of hospice care for cancer patients is not to cure the disease, but rather to do whatever we can to make the patient comfortable in their final stages of life. This palliative care approach can often increase the patient’s quality of life and offers several other benefits.

Financial Assistance

Going through cancer treatments can be expensive even with the best insurance. Thankfully, hospice care is a Medicare benefit, which means patients and their families rarely have to pay anything out of pocket for hospice care.

Pain Management

A very common service provided to hospice patients with cancer is pain management. Hospice teams are specially trained to help patients cope with the physical and mental effects of chronic pain. When pain becomes very severe, we can offer 24/7 care, called continuous care, to ensure the patient’s pain is managed.

Bereavement

Hospice and palliative care is designed to treat all the needs of a patient, not just the physical symptoms. With that in mind, bereavement counseling is offered to patients and their families. This service can help everyone cope with the grief and depression that can accompany end of life care.

Respite Care

Caring for a loved one while they have cancer, or any terminal illness, can be exhausting. To help family members get a break from the demands of caregiving, hospices offer respite care. This is a level of care that allows the patient to receive up to five days of inpatient care to give the family caregivers some time to rest.

Going through end of life care and switching to a palliative care method can bring about some uncertainty. If you have questions about hospice care for cancer patients, please give Cura-HPC a call. One of our staff members will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have.  

What is Palliative Care?

Posted on Apr 18, 2018

palliative care

Simply defined, palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is a special form of medical treatment designed for patients with serious illnesses. The goal of palliative care is not to cure the illnesses, but rather to alleviate the symptoms and make the patient as comfortable as possible. Palliative care is most commonly applied in a hospice setting for terminally ill patients.

Quality of Life

By treating the pain and suffering caused by terminal illnesses, palliative care professionals are able to improve the patient’s quality of life. This treatment method isn’t only focused on physical pain; it also includes mental health symptoms like grief and depression.

A Team Effort

Palliative care is typically administered by a team of end of life care experts. This team includes a medical director, nurses, social workers, aids, bereavement councilors, and even volunteers. A palliative care team will often work in conjunction with other medical professionals such as a patient’s primary care physician. This team approach offers a comprehensive plan for end of life care.

Not Just the Patient

One of the more unique aspects of palliative care is that it is designed for the entire family, not just the patient. Helping a loved one through end of life care can take an emotional toll on a family, which is why bereavement and grief counseling are offered to family members of hospice patients during the patient’s enrollment and for 12 months after the patient passes away.

Making the decision to switch from a curative style of medical treatment to purely palliative care can sometimes be a tough decision. Families often feel like they’re giving up on their loved one. However, it’s important to remember that palliative care will increase the patient’s quality of life and you will have access to medical professionals who specialize in managing end of life symptoms like chronic pain and depression.

If you have questions about palliative care or are in need of a Tulsa hospice for your loved one, please call Cura-HPC today.

Preparing to be a Health Care Proxy

Posted on Apr 06, 2018

Being named as a health care proxy for a loved one is an incredible responsibility. You will have to be an effective decision maker and potentially make some hard calls. If you find yourself in this situation and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, here are a few tips.

Know What They Value Most

It might be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but understanding what you loved one values during end of life care will help inform your decision making. Find out if they prefer to be at home or in a hospital, if they want life support, and if there’s any kind of treatment they do not want to undergo.

Plan Ahead

Trying to answer a difficult question at a moment’s notice will only add to your stress. To eliminate this stress, try to think through as many situations as you can and decide what you want to do if that happens. Obviously, you won’t be able to prepare for every situation, but the more prepared you are, the easier it will be.

Talk with Family Members

You might have to make a decision your family members don’t agree with, and you need to be ready for those conversations. Having these conversations in advance will give you time to explain your reasoning and allow family members to slowly accept your decision, should it come to that.

Being a health care proxy can feel overwhelming. That’s one of the reasons we offer bereavement counseling to patients and their family members. This counseling can help you cope with the stress and grief of making these tough decisions.