As someone approaches the end of their life, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize comfort and dignity above all else. Once curative treatments have ceased, maintaining independence and quality of life until the end becomes the primary goal.
Many people spend their final weeks or months in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by the people and things they love.
In-home end-of-life care is an effective way to provide support and comfort to individuals during this difficult time. You or your loved one can receive personalized care tailored to your unique needs and preferences by using in-home end-of-life care.
This post will outline the benefits of in-home end-of-life care and how it can help you and your family navigate the end of life with grace and dignity.
Why Comfort and Dignity is a Priority
As you near the end of your life, you must receive care that prioritizes your comfort and dignity. It not only ensures a better overall quality of end-of-life care but also puts your needs and desires first.
Benefits of prioritizing comfort and dignity in end-of-life care:
- Ensures Overall Quality of End of Life. A caring approach that focuses on comfort and dignity can greatly improve your quality of care. This approach focuses on managing symptoms and pain and ensuring you feel supported and comfortable in your final months or weeks.
- Puts Your Needs First. Everyone reaching the end of life has unique needs and preferences that others should respect. When you feel comfortable and respected, you’re more likely to be able to communicate your needs and desires with your primary caregiver. This communication leads to a care plan that adapts to reflect your wishes.
- Reduces Emotional Strain. End-of-life care can be emotionally challenging for you and your family. Having an attentive and supportive care team can help reduce emotional strain. Families who feel their loved one is cared for with compassion and empathy also tend to experience less emotional distress.
- Relieves Stress from Unfamiliarity. End-of-life care often involves unfamiliar medical procedures and treatments. Prioritizing comfort and dignity can help relieve some stress from these unfamiliar experiences. Explaining procedures and treatments in a clear and compassionate way can help you and your family feel more informed and prepared.
- Empowers You and Your Family. When a care provider focuses on your needs and preferences, they are more likely to involve you and your family in decision-making. This approach can make you and your family feel more in control of your end-of-life care, leading to greater empowerment and satisfaction.
How Comfort and Dignity is Best Achieved at Home
Many people prefer to receive end-of-life care in their homes rather than in a hospital, nursing home, or hospice facility.
In-home end-of-life care can help provide greater comfort and dignity in your final days or weeks by allowing you to remain in the comfort of your own home while surrounded by loved ones.
In-home end-of-life care offers greater comfort and dignity by:
- Relaxing in a Familiar Place. Receiving end-of-life care at home allows you to remain in a familiar environment. This familiarity can help reduce anxiety and promote greater relaxation and comfort.
- Known Sights and Sounds. Older patients or those with certain illnesses may become disoriented and confused during the final days or weeks. Having the familiar sights and sounds of home can help reduce confusion.
- Freedom and Privacy. In-home care gives you the freedom to have complete control of your environment. You can also receive your care privately, without hospital staff or other patients, allowing you to maintain greater dignity.
- Personalized and Attentive Care. One-on-one in-home care provides more personalized attention and support than residential care. A dedicated in-home care team can adapt more easily to your changing needs.
- Easier and More Frequent Visits from Loved Ones. Remaining in your home allows you to be surrounded by family and friends as much as you want, providing greater comfort and emotional support. Loved ones can also help contribute to your care needs more easily.
Developing an In-Home End-of-Life Care System
When it comes to end-of-life care, having a system in place can make a huge difference. This system should involve a primary care team, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and a full plan for in-home end-of-life care.
Your care system should include:
- Establishing a Primary Care Team. The primary care team should consist of doctors, nurses, caregivers, and family members who will be involved in care. It’s essential to ensure that all team members are on the same page and clearly understand the loved one’s wishes.
- Defining Roles and Responsibilities. Once the team is established, you should define the roles and responsibilities of each person. This approach will help ensure that everyone works together to provide ultimate comfort. For example, one person may be responsible for managing medications, while another assists with activities of daily living and personal care.
- Creating a Plan for In-Home Care. Finally, your team should work together to create a plan for in-home care. This plan needs to include details on the type of care, the caregiving schedule, and information on any equipment or supplies. It’s also vital to plan for emergencies, such as what to do in a medical crisis.
Preparing for In-Home End-of-Life Care
In-home end-of-life care offers greater comfort and dignity. But it also requires more careful planning and preparation than a residential hospice or assisted living facility.
Steps to take when preparing for in-home end-of-life care:
- Assess the Home Environment. You may need to modify your home to ensure it’s safe and comfortable. For example, you might need to install safety rails or a chair lift and remove any obvious hazards. It’s also vital to consider emotional needs and create a calming and relaxing environment.
- Follow Home Setup Advice. Doctors or caregivers can advise you on setting up your home best to meet your or your loved one’s needs. This setup may include recommendations for medical equipment, such as a hospital bed or oxygen tank, or guidance on best managing pain and other symptoms.
- Communicating Expectations. You need to be open and honest with loved ones about your expectations regarding your care. Discuss how family members can help provide care and support in a way you’re comfortable with. Are you OK with them assisting with personal hygiene? Or would you prefer that this is left up to the nurses and professional caregivers?
- Voice Concerns. Your entire care team is there to help guide you through the end-of-life process and support you and your family. Don’t be afraid to voice any concerns and ask for help or guidance if you need it.
Strategies for Families Involved with In-Home End-of-Life Care
Caring for a loved one at the end of their life can be extremely challenging, even with the support of a dedicated home care team. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some strategies for providing a loved one with the best in-home end-of-life care possible.
Coping with Emotional Challenges
End-of-life care can bring up a range of emotions for the dying person, including sadness, anxiety, and fear. You can help support them by encouraging them to speak to a therapist. You can also boost their mood by encouraging them to participate in activities that they used to enjoy.
People at the end of their life can experience various symptoms, including pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Working closely with your loved one’s healthcare team is vital to manage these ongoing and evolving symptoms. Medications and therapies can help make them more comfortable.
Relying on Your Support System
Being involved in a loved one’s end-of-life care can be emotionally exhausting. You also need to take care of your emotional well-being during this time. Reach out to family members, friends, and professional caregivers to provide you with assistance and reassurance. You may also consider joining a support group or seeking counseling.
Prioritizing Individual Needs
Every person’s end-of-life journey is different, and it’s essential to prioritize your loved one’s personal needs. This focus includes respecting their wishes for end-of-life care, providing comfort and companionship, and ensuring that their spiritual and emotional needs are met.
End-of-Life Care With Providence Home Care
At Providence, our highly-trained and compassionate hospice caregivers can help you maximize your quality of life, remain in the comfort of your own home, and stay surrounded by the people you love until the very end.
Our core values include treating all of our clients at the end of their lives with the dignity, compassion, and respect they deserve.
Contact us today to learn more about our end-of-life care with Providence Home Care.