Care For Patients With Alzheimer’s And Related Dementia

March 20, 2019 in Caregivers Blog

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and advanced dementia often cannot report their symptoms—leaving them untreated and vulnerable to muscular and psychological pain and various other symptoms. This can cause strain on dementia patients and their families as they try to handle all the setbacks—physical and emotional—that come with this disease.

Those coping with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of end of life dementia face a challenging journey. Memory loss, confusion and difficulty making decisions are progressive over time often with losing basic control over the body eventually adding to these challenges. Coping with this disease can be frustrating, stressful, and lonely—especially for dementia caregivers. Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care provides unique care to those individuals caring for loved ones with advanced dementia.

Expert Care

The Palladium team is trained in providing dementia related care and can help families cope with confusion, irritability and personality changes that possibly create distressing family dynamics.

We assess and treat dementia related symptoms such as anxiety, trouble sleeping and depression while supporting any coexisting conditions. We can help families establish daily routines, recognize what triggers troubling behavior, and recognize signs of distress.

Palladium is focused on improving quality of life for both dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and their families. Using established methodology to determine signs of discomfort when patients are no longer able to verbalize, we focus on ensuring the patient is comfortable and free of pain even when they are no longer able to communicate their needs. We also offer treatment of depression related symptoms including Sundowners, anxiety and frequent UTIs. Our patient and family-centered care anticipates and manages needs early.

Help For Dementia Caregivers

Our care also provides significant support to family caregivers.  Your wellbeing and your confidence in the care you provide are also our focus. Our respite care services give family caregivers a much needed break while providing expert care for your loved one. We also know that navigating medical terminology, medical jargon and numerous specialists can seem overwhelming. Our dedicated supportive care team will educate you about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the disease process, and what to expect. We’ll give you the knowledge you need to feel empowered vs overwhelmed.

Signs It May Be Time For Hospice or Supportive Care

It may be time to consider Palladium if your loved one shows any of the following signs:

  • Continual weight loss
  • Needs help to sit up, eat, getting dressed and grooming themselves
  • Unable to walk without assistance or bed-bound
  • Shows signs of severe anxiety

Helping Determine When Hospice is the Right Choice 

It can be difficult to determine when hospice or supportive care may be the best option. Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care can help determine if our care is appropriate.

For an at-home assessment, support, resources, or answers, call the supportive care team at Palladium at (888) 502-4646.

 

 

How Palladium Helps COPD Patients

January 18, 2019 in Caregivers Blog

About COPD: 

With nearly 12 million Americans living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and another 12 million not yet diagnosed, chances are good that you may know someone living with COPD.  With this growing number of Americans affected by the disease, the need for informed and capable caregivers is more critical than ever.  As someone who may be the primary caregiver of a COPD sufferer, you may feel that you have been thrown into the caregiver role and you are unsure how to help.

COPD Symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath, even when at rest
  • Increasing Emergency Room visits or hospitalizations for complications
  • Lung infections or respiratory failure
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Accelerated resting heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Continuous oxygen or increased use of bronchodilators
  • Fatigue, depression, anxiety, stress
  • Wheezing and chest pain
  • Choosing to focus on comfort rather than a cure
  • Feeling the need to call your doctor’s office with questions about medications, symptoms

There is currently no cure for this chronic and progressive disease and symptoms will eventually worsen. Patients may develop pneumonia, lung cancer, or depression. They also face the stress of frequent hospitalizations. In fact, over half of the patients with COPD are readmitted to the hospital within 12 months. COPD can also put a strain on patients and their family caregivers—causing stress, frustration, and financial setbacks.

People with COPD frequently experience uncomfortable symptoms that are difficult to manage alone. Managing COPD can be a rollercoaster with episodes of very few symptoms or major exacerbations that are very scary. Patients can be stable for months and then unexpectedly worsen for days or even longer, it is highly unpredictable. With our team’s support, symptoms can become more manageable, stress can be reduced and patients coping with this disease can live happier and healthier lives.

Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care can greatly improve quality of life for patients with COPD. Our specialized teams of caregivers include registered nurses uniquely trained in the management of COPD. By providing medical and personal care to control symptoms and reduce anxiety, stress, and pain, we can improve quality of life for families living with COPD.

For more questions on the treatment and management of COPD, or if you or a loved one are suffering from this disease, call the supportive team at Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care at 888.502.4646.

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.

How to Care for A Loved One with Dementia or Alzheimer’s

September 12, 2018 in Caregivers Blog

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Join us as we educate, raise awareness, and put an end to the stigma and misinformation surrounding dementia and Alzheimer’s.

After you or your loved one has received a diagnosis of early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel helpless and hopeless. However, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is not a death sentence. Patients can live long and healthy lives years after they are diagnosed. It is valuable, however, to understand what exactly you are dealing with, and to know the most beneficial and practical ways to handle the symptoms.

Ways to Care for A Loved One with Dementia or Alzheimer’s:

  1. Educate yourself on Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The first and most important thing you can do after a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is learn about the symptoms, effects and the best methods of treatment and care. Ask your loved one’s physician any questions about their specific case, and ask them for their recommendations for a care plan.
  2. Develop a predictable daily routine. Have a set schedule for your loved one to bathe, get dressed, eat meals, and do other daily activities. This will avoid confusion and frustration, and they will always know what to expect. Allow for extra time for each activity so they do not feel rushed.
  3. Be flexible, patient, and willing to let things go. AD can cause unpredictable mood swings and behaviors and it is best not to take these personally. Keep in mind that your loved one may not be able to take part in the activity you planned, or may get upset with you for no reason. Try not to let any frustration show.
  4. Speak gently, positively, and directly. Always address your loved one by name, establish eye contact, and ask them simple questions in a calming, positive manner. Speaking to them directly and including them in the conversation allows them to exercise their communication skills.
  5. Allow independence when possible. While it may seem easier to just do everything yourself, it’s important to let your loved one do as many things as they can by themselves.
  6. Plan fun activities. Plan outings and activities that you know your loved one would enjoy. Go to the zoo, watch live music, shop at a local thrift store. However, understand that some plans might not work out and always be on the lookout for signs of confusion and frustration.
  7. Take care of yourself. Taking care of someone with AD is a full-time job and can quickly lead to caregiver burnout. Know the signs of exhaustion, stress, and frustration, and take time for yourself to relax and have fun.

It’s certainly overwhelming and frightening for a parent or loved one to be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and taking care of them can be a difficult and emotionally taxing job. However, with the right attitude, knowledge, and preparations, it can be a fulfilling experience for both of you. If you think your loved one would benefit from in-home supportive care, call Palladium Hospice and Supportive Care at 888.502.4646, we may be able to help.

Supportive Care: What You Should Know

June 12, 2018 in Caregivers Blog

Supportive care (also known as palliative care) is a type of specialized medical care for people suffering from a serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress that come with these illnesses and ultimately improving the quality of life—for both the patient and the family. Some studies have shown that supportive care may even extend life.

Supportive care provides the patient with a comprehensive team of specially-trained doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a current physician to provide an extra layer of support and comfort. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and it can be provided along with curative treatment, differing it from Hospice care.

Still confused? Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions regarding supportive care.

  1. How Do I Know If Supportive Care is Right for Me?
    Supportive care may be right for you if you suffer from pain, stress or other symptoms due to a serious illness. Serious illnesses may include cancer, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and more. Supportive care can be provided at any stage of illness and along with treatment meant to cure you. Ask your current physician if supportive care is right for you.
  2. What Can I Expect from Supportive Care?
    You can expect relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. Supportive care helps you carry on with your daily life while improving your ability to go through medical treatments. It can also help you better understand your condition and the best choices for medical care. In short, you can expect the best possible quality of life.
  3. Who Provides Supportive Care?
    Supportive care is provided by a highly-trained team of experts including supportive care doctors, nurses and other specialists.
  4. Where do I Receive Supportive Care?
    Supportive care can be provided in a variety of settings including the hospital, outpatient clinic, at home, in a skilled nursing facility, or wherever you call home.
  5. How Does Supportive Care Work With My Own Doctor?
    The supportive care team works in partnership with your own doctor to provide an extra layer of support for you and your family. The team provides expert symptom management, extra time for communication about your goals and treatment options, and help navigating the health system.
  6. Does My Insurance Pay for Supportive Care?
    Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover supportive care. If costs concern you, a social worker from the supportive care team can help you.
  7. How do I Get Supportive Care?
    You have to ask for it! Just tell your doctors and nurses that you would like to learn about what supportive care would mean for you and to meet your local supportive care team.

Supportive care supports and enhances all aspects of both your and your families health and well-being, and helps you to live the highest quality of life as possible during your illness.
Remember, supportive care is not hospice. It is care that is available at any stage of the illness process. To learn more about supportive care, go to palladiumcare.com or call (888) 502-4646.