What is Continuous Hospice Care?

Posted on Sep 21, 2017

Hospice care is a Medicare benefit that can be provided at four different levels: routine care, continuous care, inpatient care, and respite care. Each of these levels was created to address a different level of need of medical attention.

Continuous care, as you might have guessed by the name, provides 24/7 care for patients. This level of care allows patients to remain in their home as their disease progresses while still meeting their medical needs. With a member of the medical team present at all times, symptoms can be managed better and the patient can experience a better quality of life.

This level of care is available to any hospice patient, if they meet the qualifications. According to Medicare,

“Continuous home care may only be provided during a period of crisis as necessary to maintain an individual at home. A period of crisis is a period in which a patient requires continuous care that is predominantly nursing care to achieve palliation or management of acute medical symptoms.”

A patient can receive continuous care in their home or in a long-term care facility. However, continuous care can not be provided at a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

No matter what level of care you or your loved one needs, Cura-HPC is here to help. We’ve been helping families through the difficulties end-of-life care can present for many years. Our staff is knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate. If you or your loved one is in need of hospice care, call Cura-HPC and one of our transition specialists will be more than happy to assist you.  

Estate Planning Apps

Posted on Sep 14, 2017

One of the best parts of living in this day and age is that there’s an app for almost everything, including estate planning. These apps can’t replace the expertise of an estate planning lawyer, but they can help you organize your thoughts and make things a little more convenient for your surviving relatives.

Everplans

This app creates one convenient and secure place to store necessary documents for end-of-life planning. Passwords, wills, funeral preferences, and other important documents can all be easily found by your loved ones after you pass away. Everplans also uses a few simple questions to help you create a checklist of all the necessary documents you need for a robust estate plan.

Cake

Similar to filling out an online dating profile, Cake uses a series of simple questions pertaining to post-mortem preferences and you can either swipe left to answer no, or swipe right for yes. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, Cake will help you create an estate plan that reflects your answers.

SafeBeyond

This app has less to do with the legal side of estate planning, and more to do with the emotional side. With SafeBeyond, you can create written or video messages for your surviving family members that will be automatically delivered at certain dates, events, or locations. For example, a father who knows he will die before his daughter’s wedding can record a video message that she can watch on her wedding day. SafeBeyond can also deliver a final message on social media so you can say goodbye to all your friends.

Again, you’ll need to consult a lawyer to have a strong and thorough estate plan. These apps should only be used as a starting point to get the ball rolling. Although no one likes to think about estate planning, it is vitally important to ensure your final wishes are met and your assets will be bequeathed properly. 

Dealing with a Loss at Work

Posted on Aug 15, 2017

After a loved one passes away, one of the first things most people will do is send an email to their manager and/or HR director informing them of the situation and requesting bereavement PTO. This will inevitably lead to a few of your coworker learning of your loss, or at least that you had a “family emergency.” Knowing that some or all of your coworkers are aware of the situation can make returning to work difficult.

Going back to work generally presents one of two problems: wanting to return to regular routine and not being able to focus on work.

Those who fall into the first category will struggle to answer questions like, “how are you doing?” Having to discuss the loss again and again with separate coworkers and constantly hear, “I’m sorry for your loss” can grow tiresome. All you want to do is return to the daily grind like nothing ever happened, but everyone keeps bringing it up.

The issue this group of people needs to be on the lookout for is suppressing and bottling up emotions. Getting back to normal routines can be helpful, but it’s also really easy to ignore what you’re feeling and not truly process the emotions.

The second group of people may not want to be a work at all. To them, the thought of having to be away from home and family is incredibly unpleasant. Doing work-related tasks and having to put on a happy face for coworkers and clients is the last thing they want to do. No matter how much they might want to move on, thoughts of their loved one are still on their mind.

Dealing with lack of focus after a loss is expected for a certain period of time. However, if the problem continues to persist, it might be time to consider professional help. Experiencing a loss incredibly hard, and there’s no shame in talking with a grief consoler or psychiatrist. 

The Meaning of Comfort Care

Posted on Aug 28, 2017

Comfort Care

When a patient is facing a terminal illness and curative treatments are no longer working, it’s common for doctors to change the goal of medical care from curing the illness to making the patient as comfortable as possible. This philosophy of care is sometimes called comfort care.

Comfort care also referred to as palliative care, is provided by a hospice care team by focusing on relieving the effects of symptoms. The members of a hospice team will have experience in wound care, medication management, pain management, and other end-of-life issues. To provide more comfort for the patient, comfort care can be provided at home, the hospital, an assisted living center, or where ever the patient lives.

Because not all pain is physical, comfort care also incorporates a spiritual and mental health aspect. A bereavement consoler or chaplain will be part of the care team to help with any non-physical symptoms that may come up. These services are also available to the family of the loved one.

It’s important to note that shifting from curative to comfort care doesn’t mean all life-saving treatments will be automatically stopped. In many cases, a curative treatment will also provide symptom relief and comfort to the patient, so these treatments may continue when comfort care starts.

Making this switch can be a tough decision for families because they feel as if they are giving up on their loved one. However, doctors won’t make this recommendation until all curative treatment options are exhausted, and they feel it’s in the best interest of the patient. Switching to comfort care isn’t giving up, it’s trying to provide the best level of care for the patient as possible.

If you or a loved one are in need of hospice care, call Cura-HPC. One of our transition coordinators will more than happy to talk with you about your options. 

What To Do When “No Funeral” is Requested

Posted on Aug 21, 2017

While most deaths are followed by a funeral or memorial service, it’s not entirely uncommon for the deceased to decline a funeral in their will. A funeral serves two purposes – to honor the dead and get closure. So, when the deceased does not want a funeral, families are left wondering how to get the end result of a funeral without actually having a funeral. It’s hard to replace the familiarity of a funeral, but there are four ways you can still honor the dead and get some closure.

Obituary

Spend some time collecting details of your loved one’s life, and write a detailed and loving obituary. This process can be incredibly therapeutic, and seeing your loved one’s picture and story in print can give you closure. You can also rest well knowing you honored their memory well by telling their story and letting others enjoy it.

Carry on Their Hobbies and Projects

If they were passionate about keeping the lawn in pristine condition or tending to the rose bushes, keep these traditions alive. It’s a great way to honor your loved one long after they're gone, and it gives you a tangible way to remember them. Whenever you’re busy working on their project or enjoying their hobby, you can think back to all the good memories of them doing the same.

Donate to a Charity

Contact your loved one’s friends and the rest of the family to take up a donation for your loved one’s favorite charity and make the donation in their name. This allows you to do something they would have really appreciated.

Take a Trip

Find out where their favorite place in the world is and take a family trip there. It could be somewhere they went every year, where a major life event happened, or just their favorite trip they ever took. Once you're there, try to take a walk and reflect on their life. Having this connection will help you hold on the memories while still helping you move on.

Funerals aren’t the only way to get closure, as long as you honor their memory and abide by their last wishes, there’s a lot of different ways to write this chapter of life.