Elderly or terminally ill people need end-of-life care. It can be a confusing and overwhelming time for the person receiving care and their family, but knowing what to expect and being prepared for each stage can help. This post reviews helpful end-of-life care tools to assist you through this challenging time.
What is End-of-Life Care?
When someone is in the last few months or years of their lives, they start receiving end-of-life care. This care helps you live as well as possible until you die. End-of-life care helps clients and their family members feel more comfortable and peaceful during this difficult time.
End-of-life care may involve hospice, which provides medical and social support for people who are dying. It may also include palliative care, which helps people manage pain and symptoms as they get closer to death.
End-of-life care includes:
- Providing pain relief and other necessary medicines
- Helping you stay comfortable
- Providing information about your anticipated progression
- Supporting you and your family through challenging decisions
- Improving coordination among the end-of-life care team
- Facilitating communication between you, your family, and physicians
- Helping you with everyday activities, such as bathing, grooming, and cleaning
Benefits of End-of-Life Care Tools
End-of-life care is a crucial aspect of the healthcare industry. All people will face death at some point, but the process can be made more comfortable and peaceful with the help of end-of-life care tools.
4 main benefits of using end-of-life care tools:
- Enhancing Quality of Life. Enjoying the time you have left can be challenging, but it is possible with end-of-life care tools.
- Improving Care Coordination. End-of-life care teams consist of multiple healthcare providers and caregivers. Getting all of these professionals to coordinate well can be challenging, especially when they work at different practices. End-of-life care tools allow for better coordination between care providers and your family to ensure you have the best experience possible.
- Reducing Stress and Anxiety. It can be stressful when you or your family member are facing a serious illness. End-of-life care tools can help reduce stress and anxiety by providing you with peace of mind.
- Improving Communication. End-of-life care ensures people have access to the best quality care possible at the end of their lives. Care teams must communicate well with each other to provide the best care and stay up-to-date. End-of-life care tools can help care teams improve their communication.
While there are plenty of benefits to using end-of-life care tools, there are also challenges when it comes to implementing these tools.
Challenges of Implementing End-of-Life Care Tools
It’s not always easy to implement end-of-life care tools, but it’s crucial that you do. There are some challenges when it comes to implementing these tools. Being aware of these challenges can help you or your family members overcome them.
End-of-life care tools can be difficult to implement due to:
- Limited Availability. Due to the limited availability of end-of-life care tools, you may not have access to them. Knowing in advance what you need and securing it for when you need it can help.
- Financial Burden. These tools can be expensive, on top of other expensive healthcare costs, you or your family may not be able to afford them. Planning ahead means you’ll have time to understand what you need and whether insurance or other programs might cover the cost.
- Emotional Strain. Many people are uncomfortable talking about death, which can make it difficult for them to think about what they need for their own end-of-life care. This process can be emotionally straining.
To overcome these challenges:
- Consult a Professional. While this is your first experience, it’s probably not for your doctor. Ask your doctor about your options and what they think would be most helpful and make you most comfortable.
- Use Insurance. Talk to your insurance company and use any applicable insurance to help you pay for end-of-life care tools.
- Discuss Your Feelings. Be open and honest with your caregivers, providers, family members, and friends about the emotional strain you’re experiencing and any concerns you have.
Tools for End-of-Life Care
End-of-life care can be uncomfortable to think about and plan for, but it’s important to have the right tools in place to help you and your family through this difficult time.
These tools are available for people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and terminal illnesses — or their families — who want help with end-of-life care planning.
Tools to consider:
- Pain Scales. Unfortunately, many people don’t learn how to use pain scales until they are already experiencing pain. Understanding how to use pain scales can help your healthcare providers make you more comfortable.
- Advance Care Directive. The purpose of an advance care directive is to give you more control over what happens to you when you’re at the end of your life. It helps your family understand what type of care you want if you can’t communicate with them. These directives consist of legal documents.
- Symptom Response Kit. You don’t want to have to visit the emergency room every time you experience symptoms. A symptom response kit includes medications and supplies to help you and your caregiver manage your symptoms in your home.
- Medical Equipment. When you or a family member has a terminal illness, it can be difficult to know what equipment you need in the home. Identify all the equipment they need, such as medical supplies and equipment, and source them to keep in your home.
- Transfer Education. Many people nearing the end of their lives need assistance moving. There are tutorials designed to teach your loved ones or caregivers lifting techniques to safely move you from one place to another. You also can learn how to work safely with a caregiver as they move you.
Ultimately, end-of-life tools help elderly and terminally ill people live more independently and comfortably. They also assist family members in providing care for their loved ones.
Best Practices for End-of-Life Care
If you or a family member is in the last months of years of life, you can take steps to make end-of-life care a better experience.
Best practices for end-of-life care include:
- Educating Yourself. You and your family need to learn about what end-of-life care is and how it works. Knowing what’s ahead of you will allow you to make informed decisions.
- Asking the Right Questions. Once you understand end-of-life care, it’s time to ask the right questions. Talk with your doctor about what will happen in the future regarding your health so you understand the plan and how to implement it.
- Implementing Comfort Measures. Medical professionals can take measures to keep you comfortable throughout the entire process. These measures include things like hospice care, pain management techniques, and therapy. Use these comfort measures to make the process easier for you or your loved one.
- Utilizing Palliative Care. Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms like pain or negative emotional affect while improving quality of life. Seek palliative care to make the process more comfortable and peaceful for yourself or your loved one.
End-of-life care helps you avoid feeling fear, anxiety, and pain while you live out the rest of your life. It helps you feel more in control, ensures there is a plan in place, and offers the best possible care.
End-of-Life Care at Providence Home Care
End-of-life care helps you maximize your quality of life, stay comfortable in your home, and stay surrounded by the people you love. At Providence Home Care, we always treat our clients at the end of their lives with the dignity, compassion, and respect they deserve. Learn more about end-of-life care from Providence.