Friday, February 19, 2016

Hospice care for patient, family and care givers

Hospice Care - Academy Massage Therapy - Massage Therapist Winnipeg
While not a subject people generally wish to discuss or consider, death comes to us all as it is a natural process of life. It goes without saying that facing the end of one's life is difficult not only for the patient but for their loved ones. No one wants to see that person suffer and be in pain. We want to ensure that he or she is made as comfortable as possible. However, that can be a difficult task in those final days. And the emotional strain on the caregiver can be enormous.  

For many seriously ill patients, hospice care is the preferred option. Hospice is a care program that focuses on the quality of one's life instead of continuing with treatment to prolong life. Hospice provides an alternative for people whose life expectancy is six months or less, and involves palliative care rather than ongoing curative measures, enabling a terminally ill patient to live their last days with purpose, dignity, and support. This is achieved through the compassionate efforts of a dedicated team of health care professionals and volunteers who provide medical, psychological, and spiritual support. The caregivers also try to control pain and other symptoms so a person can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. Hospice programs also provide services to support the needs of the patient's family, including helping the family manage the practical details and emotional challenges of caring for a dying loved one. To that end, hospice care does not cease once the patient has passed on. The survivors may also need support as they grieve and struggle with their bereavement.

It is a difficult decision to know when the time is right for a loved one to enter  hospice care. Some families choose to prolong personal care for as long as possible and may decide upon hospice care for the last few days of life. For the patient, it is important that the family understands their wishes and are educated about hospice care so that they are prepared once the time arrives for hospice care to be administered. When loved ones are clear about a patient's preferences for treatment, they’re able to devote themselves more fully to providing care and compassion.

In most cases hospice is provided in the patient’s own home. This allows the patient to spend their final days in a familiar, comfortable environment, surrounded by loved ones who can provide personal care with the support of hospice staff. With an emphasis on holistic care, hospice programs frequently provide benefits that are not available in traditional health-care settings such as hospitals or nursing facility and may include various therapies such as music, art, pet and massage. Massage has proven to be extremely helpful for many hospice patients in managing stress and alleviating pain. 

Working with the dying is a difficult task and requires commitment and compassion. But by providing peace and comfort to the terminally ill during their final days, it also helps to show us how to live more fully. 

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