Celebrating the Holidays With a Loved One In Hospice

December 7, 2018 in Caregivers Blog

The holidays can be an emotional challenging time when your loved one coping with an advanced illness chooses hospice care. During a holiday that is centered around family, joy, and life, it can be difficult to feel festive when a family member may be facing a limited life expectancy. But it is important to realize, hospice is about living life to the fullest. It can be about celebrating life, especially this time of year.

  • Still honor your loved one’s favorite traditions. Just because your loved one is on hospice, doesn’t mean you have to forgo your holiday traditions. If fact, create emphasis on them. Ask your loved one what their favorite traditions are and plan on celebrating all their favorite ways. Your ill or elderly loved one will appreciate the old and new memories of the family traditions.
  • Include them in activities. Let your loved one help decorate the tree, cook dinner, or make cards. This will make them feel loved, appreciated, and independent. It is also a great way to make lasting memories.
  • Find a religious service they can attend. If a holiday service is an important part of the holidays to your loved one, find a local service to attend with them. If this isn’t an option, bring a small ceremony to your loved one by singing hymns or reading their favorite scriptures.
  • Accommodate visiting guests. If you have a lot of family and friends visiting, make sure that there is enough space and no interference with your loved one’s equipment or medications. With that, be aware of overstimulation or exhaustion. Your loved one could easily get overwhelmed or confused if there are too many guests or activities.
  • Allow yourself to have fun and enjoy the season.Instead of wondering if this will be the last holiday you spend with your loved one, make the most of the season. This time of year is about brightness, giving, love, and hope—and cherishing time spent with loved ones.

The holiday season is a special time of year to spend with the people you love, and can be especially painful if you have recently lost a loved one. While it maybe difficult, it’s important to remember that the holidays can still be a time of celebration, even through grief. Honor your loved one’s memory by observing their favorite traditions and sharing stories about them.

Whether you have recently lost a loved one, or have a loved one in hospice this holiday season, there are resources available to you. If you have a loved one living with illness, Palladium can help. We empower both the patient and their family to live better despite illness. For more information, call us at (888) 502-4646 and we will walk with you through every step of the way.

Common Myths About Hospice and Palliative Care

November 15, 2018 in Caregivers Blog

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, established to bring awareness to the truth behind hospice care and all that is has to offer. The theme for National Hospice and Palliative Care Month 2018 is My Hospice. A Program that Works. A Benefit that Matters. This theme was conceived with the hope of communicating how health care can – and should – work at its best. Hospice care is people-focused, real care that concentrates on patients living life to the fullest. This month, we’re bringing awareness to what hospice is by bringing truth to some common myths regarding hospice and palliative care.

Myth: Hospice care is only for elderly people with cancer.
Truth: Hospice is available to anyone facing a life-limiting illness regardless of age or disease. Typically, hospice is referred when a patient has chosen to focus on quality of life vs. continuing to undergo aggressive treatments for a disease no longer likely to be cured. Hospice is offered to patients with any end stage cancer, pulmonary, cardiac, or renal disease, end stage neurological disorders, HIV, and more.

Myth: Choosing to receive hospice care means you are giving up on life.
Truth: Hospice does not mean surrendering life or giving up hope. It simply means prioritizing the patient’s wishes and comfort during the last months of their life. It focuses on maximizing quality of life and enabling the patient to live as fully as possible.

Myth: Hospice is a place.
Truth: Hospice is provided wherever the patient feels the most comfortable. This is usually at home, but can also be wherever the patient resides—a nursing facility, an assisted living home, or retirement community.

Myth: You have to give up your own doctor when going into Hospice care.
Truth: Both our Hospice and Supportive care programs allow patients to continue seeing their regular doctor while providing an extra layer of support through nurses, volunteers, and social workers.

Myth: Hospice is only beneficial to the patient.
Truth: While hospice provides nurses and doctors that focus on keeping the patient pain and symptom free, hospice also reduces stress and anxiety for in-home caregivers. Families are more confident with our logistical help, emotional support and instruction on how to give medications properly. Knowing what to expect as an illness progresses and having advice available 24/7 often prevents episodes of panic and unnecessary hospital readmissions. Our teams help families for a year after a loved one passes by providing bereavement and grief counseling.

Myth: Hospice is paid for out-of-pocket.
Truth: All of Palladium’s services are paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances.

Myth: Hospice care and supportive care are the same thing.
Truth: While hospice allows patients to return to the highest quality of life during a serious illness, our supportive services bring an extra layer of care and support and are provided along with curative treatment. We focus on relief of the symptoms and stresses, helping the patient focus on comfort and quality of life.

For National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, Palladium hopes to bring light to all the advantages that hospice and supportive care have to offer by correcting some common myths. Ultimately, hospice care is a unique program that provides physical, emotional, and spiritual care, and helps patients get back to who and what they love.

For more information, questions, or support, contact the team at Palladium by calling (888) 502-4646 or request additional information here.

Managing COPD in the Winter

November 9, 2018 in Caregivers Blog

For those suffering from COPD, you may notice your symptoms getting worse during the winter months. Cold weather conditions are known to aggravate COPD symptoms. Winter and cold weather, even a slight chill, can trigger respiratory problems, causing increased mucus, coughing, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

The best safeguard against your COPD symptoms worsening during the winter months is to avoid the cold air as much as possible. However, this isn’t always possible, so here are some ways to protect yourself and your lungs this year.

  • If you go outside, use a scarf. If you cover your nose and mouth and breathe through your covered nose, the air will warm before it enters your lungs. As trivial as this sounds, the simple act of wearing a scarf can protect your lungs from the shock of cold air.
  • Avoid sick people and wash your hands. Since the lungs of those living with COPD are already compromised, it is important to avoid any interactions with triggers that could make COPD worse or cause infections. This is especially important during winter when colds and the flu are prevalent. If you have COPD, try to avoid sick people and get a flu shot every year to prevent getting sick yourself.
  • Keep oxygen tanks warm. If you use supplemental oxygen, you may notice that when the air outside gets colder, the air in your oxygen tank gets colder, as well. To combat the dangers of sending cold air into already weakened lungs, it’s critical to keep your oxygen tank and hose warm. Do this by putting the hose under your clothes or a blanket. This will warm the air before it gets to the lungs, lessening the risk of shock and strain on the lungs.
  • Use a humidifier, and clean it often. Since dry air can often be a trigger for COPD, it’s important to keep moisture in the air. Using humidifiers during the dry winter months is helpful for COPD patients. However, it’s vital to keep the humidifier clean at all times—this maintains its optimal function and discourages mold and other irritants.
  • Be cautious when heating your home. For most people, there’s nothing better than cozying up next to a warm fireplace when it’s cold outside. For those with COPD, fireplaces can trigger flare-ups and exacerbations. Smoke from fireplaces, candles, and stoves produce lung irritants that can impact breathing.

While coping with COPD can be challenging, especially during the cold months of the year, wintertime can still be safe and enjoyable. Learn how to control symptoms so you can enjoy to cold months ahead.

Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care has a specialized team of caregivers expertly trained in the management of COPD. We help patients and their families learn to cope with this disease and improve their quality of life. For questions about COPD and how we can help, call the compassionate care team at Palladium at 888.502.4646.

10 Signs Your Loved One Could Benefit from Hospice

October 17, 2018 in Caregivers Blog

A common question regarding hospice care is: “when is it time”? And while this varies from person to person, the prevailing answer is “as soon as possible”. Hospice has a stigma of being a surrender, or giving up on life, when it is actually quite the opposite. Hospice focuses on improving the quality of life, allowing an individual to live their best life, despite their illness.

While it’s difficult to come to terms with the advancing illness of a loved one, hospice is most effective when started early on.  This helps ensure your loved one, and you as their caregiver, gain the full benefit of the care and support hospice brings.

If you are not sure if your loved one could benefit from hospice care, here are ten signs that hospice may be appropriate:

  1. They have been hospitalized or have visited the ER several times in the past 6 months.
  2. They are spending more and more time sleeping or resting in a chair and are less mobile.
  3. They can no longer do simple tasks around the house (make the bed, cook for themselves, etc.)
  4. They are making more calls to their doctor.
  5. They are experiencing frequent falls, frequent infections, or significant weight loss.
  6. They are having trouble managing their illness.
  7. They seem weaker or more tired.
  8. They have been told by a doctor that life expectancy is limited. (Typically less than six months).
  9. They are expressing goals of wanting to be comfortable and wanting quality of life.
  10. They are seeming more stressed and anxious.

If your loved one has any of these symptoms, hospice care might be a good option. Hospice focuses on pain and symptom management, ensuring that your loved one is comfortable. We can help your loved one live the best life they can despite their serious illness.

For more information on whether hospice care is right for your loved one, call our caring team at Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care at 888.502.4646. You don’t have to wait until your physician recommends hospice care. You or your family can request our services and we can help determine if our care is right for you.