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Education & Information Blog

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August 12, 2014
Today I'd like to talk about end of life care. Those words can trigger massive emotion in some people, particularly those dealing with an illness or an ailing loved one. The end of life...it happens to everyone. I'm not saying we should look forward to it by any means, but we should look at it through loving and accepting eyes when it comes time.  Make those last months, weeks, days, and hours count. Make the best of them. And the way to do that is to be informed. Be as informed as possible about the current stage of the disease and/or the stage of dying that your loved one is in. Allow your loved one to talk about their death and their wishes before they reach the stage where they can no longer communicate. Do they want to remain at home or go to a facility? This is an important decision and needs to be determined as quickly as possible so arrangements can be made regarding medical equipment and medical personnel that may need to be on hand. If home care is chosen, in whose home will your loved one reside? You may think the answer is obvious, but as this is discussed with all family members you will see that everyone has their own opinion which will likely differ from your own. Do not be offended by those who want all the responsibility or those who want no responsibility and everyone in between. Some people simply cannot deal with medical care or the acceptance of a loved one dying.
Discuss with the physician different options regarding home care. Hospice is an excellent resource to utilize. Be sure to research each of the available agencies that service your area, and if they aren't performing as expected FIRE THEM! Hospice can make the dying experience either extremely comforting for patient and family or it can be an absolute nightmare. I have experienced both scenarios and have since learned a great deal about how hospice should operate. You cannot allow a patient to suffer because of incompetent professionals. As my husband always loves to say, "the squeaky wheel gets the oil." So speak up and advocate for yourself or your loved one when something isn't as it should be.
I will discuss more about hospice in another blog.
Keep in mind your loved one will eventually be bed-bound or unable to maneuver without assistance. At that time, you will need to be have a hospital bed ready to move into the room. When moving a patient, utmost care should be taken to avoid injury to you both. Click here to watch a video of how to proper assist someone out of bed.

Sitting patient up to transfer

Place a gait belt snuggly around patient's waist. Instruct patient to place hands on your shoulders, place your knee between their knees, use your hands to grasp both sides of gait belt securely and ask patient to assist you with standing them up. Pull them up as they assist in standing themselves up. Transfer to wheelchair or walk behind patient while continuing to hold onto gait belt if patient is still strong enough to walk.