Category Archives: Hospice Care

Why People Choose to Volunteer at Hospice

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It’s National Volunteer Week! There are so many critical organizations that simply wouldn’t be the same without the wonderful work of volunteers. And, our hospice in South Jersey is no exception. Here are five of the reasons why people choose to volunteer at a hospice, as well as some insights that may inspire you to join in this worthy cause.

Personal Experience 

Many people choose to volunteer at a hospice because of their own personal experience with these services. They have seen first hand how hospice staff and volunteers came together to bring joy and comfort to a terminal loved one as well as support to their family, and would like to repay this with their own compassionate services.

The Good of Giving Back

Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things a person can do! Studies have shown that volunteering effectively decreases risks of depression, gives a sense of purpose, teaches valuable life skills, reduces stress, and helps people become part of a community. When someone volunteers, it’s as beneficial to them as the people or organization they’re helping.

Staying Active 

Many volunteers are retirees who have a wealth of experience and skills to offer. The work they do allows them to keep using their skills for the benefit of others in a way that is suited to their own needs and lifestyle. It’s a great way to stay mentally and physically active, whether you are a retired nurse, accountant, teacher or business owner.

Wide Range Of Roles 

A hospice is a complex facility with roles to suit everyone regardless of age, skillset or interest. Many people want to offer companionship to patients, while others find that fund-raising, organizing events, community outreach or assisting with the administration is where they fit in best. This way, anyone can find a role that they can make their own, to the benefit of the whole team and residents.

Develop Career Skills

On the other side of the coin, young volunteers get a great opportunity to explore a critical industry and develop the skills they need for a career in caregiving. The senior care industry is one of the fastest-growing in the USA, and by volunteering, young adults get a unique insight into what hospice is all about, the value of our services, and how to care for the terminal and elderly.

Our Hospice in South Jersey Needs You 

Hospice can feel like an overwhelming place for residents and their loved ones. Volunteers play a critical role in helping patients and families feel at home, connected with their community, and in touch with the rest of the world. If you have a spirit of compassion, respect for all ways of life, and the ability to listen and be comfortable with others, then you may be ideally suited to this important role.

Our hospice, The Shores, is a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, offering compassionate and professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. We greatly appreciate our volunteer teams and the value they bring to our residents, their loved ones, the environment of the hospice, and in helping us reach the goals set out in our vision.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer at our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/why-people-choose-to-volunteer-at-hospice/

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What is Terminal Lucidity?

Terminal Lucidity

Every individual reaches the end of their life in their own way. Often, this time brings unexpected feelings, events, and phenomena.  One of these phenomena is terminal lucidity. Here’s some insight into what this mysterious rally is all about, from our hospice community in South Jersey.

The Phenomenon of Terminal Lucidity 

What causes terminal lucidity, also called an end-of-life rally. Why some residents experience it while others do not remains unknown. However, it’s a fairly common event when patients close to the end of their life suddenly experience a boost to their physical and mental state. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients can suddenly recognize loved ones and speak clearly, and those struggling at the end of severe illnesses suddenly have the energy and clarity of mind to connect with their loved ones.

Although confusing for many families and caregivers, it can be a wonderful experience to see a loved one become more alert after months of decline. Terminal lucidity tends to fade rapidly and often indicates a loved one is close to the end of their journey. Therefore, families should treasure whatever solace it brings rather than it becoming a cause for false hope.

What Causes Terminal Lucidity?

Current thinking is that terminal lucidity can result when a resident stops medical treatment for terminal conditions. These medical treatments tend to cause side effects that can be detrimental to the mind and body; once the resident is no longer on them, the mind can become more responsive. Terminal lucidity may occur because patients cease medical treatment and opt for care that prioritizes comfort rather than a cure.

An Opportunity to Connect and Honor Final Wishes

Family members, caregivers, and hospice associates use these last moments of lucidity to show residents additional care and attention. Many use these moments to make special requests to see loved ones, listen to specific music, and even eat their favorite dessert!

Residents are usually aware that these are among their final moments, making it important that loved ones are prepared to fulfill final requests and be present to enjoy this last time together.

Quality, Compassionate Care at Our Hospice in South Jersey

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area in a community called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for residents and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support.

To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today to organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/what-is-terminal-lucidity/

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Guardianship and Your Loved One in Hospice

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It’s important that a person’s wishes regarding their medical care and financial decisions are respected at all times. However, this can become a problem when they are no longer able to competently advocate for themselves. In these cases, a guardianship may be necessary. Here’s what this means, from the team at our hospice in South Jersey.

What is Guardianship? 

If your loved one in hospice is at an advanced stage of decline and can no longer be declared legally competent to make healthcare and financial decisions for themselves, they need a legal guardian to protect their interests. This is known as guardianship. Duties that a guardian would perform include:

  • Signing consent on medical treatments or therapies
  • Making end-of-life care decisions
  • Paying bills from the patient’s accounts
  • Budgeting for care needs and other expenses
  • Giving consent to access medical, personal or financial information
  • Managing the financial aspects of their estate

How Can I Set Up Guardianship for My Loved One? 

It is important to establish exactly what legal estate planning documentation your loved one already has. If they have already set up a designated Power of Attorney for medical and financial needs, then those named individuals will be able to take on these responsibilities and there’s no need to go through the guardianship process. It is also important to check if they have a Living Will (also known as an Advance Directive), as this will give guidance on their wishes regarding end-of-life care.

If no such legal documents exist, you will have to follow your state’s process of setting up a guardianship. This usually includes:

Filing a petition for guardianship or conservatorship – This petition will outline why guardianship is needed. Note that the state will contact the individual as well as relatives in the event that this petition is filed.

Investigating the need for guardianship – An investigator will then be sent by the court to confirm that there is a case for guardianship. They can also determine if a less restrictive alternative is more appropriate.

Attending the court hearing – A judge will evaluate your petition as well as listen to any statements made by concerned parties, including members of your loved one’s medical team. The judge will then make a decision on whether or not guardianship should be granted.

This process can take several months unless there is an especially urgent need. For these reasons, it is especially important for individuals in hospice to take the time to get their legal affairs in order before the need for guardianship arises.

Compassionate Care for Seniors and Their Families at Our Hospice in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support.

To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/guardianship-and-your-loved-one-in-hospice/

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Why Do Doctors Recommend Hospice Care?

Hospice Care Jersey Shore

When you go to a doctor, you mainly focus on getting treatment or a cure for your illness. Therefore, when a doctor recommends hospice, it can be difficult to understand. The reality is that doctors want their patients to get the best care possible, and that sometimes means recommending hospice care. Here are some insights from our Bridges hospice in South Jersey.

When Do Doctors Recommend Hospice? 

If curative treatment options are exhausted and no longer work or if a patient no longer wants these treatments, the doctor will recommend hospice care. In order to qualify for this care, they should be evaluated to have six months or less to live. This is not a firm rule however, as it is based on the typical progression of the disease.

How is Hospice Care Different? 

Curative treatments are designed to either slow down or halt the progress of a disease, or to cure a person completely. Hospice care, on the other hand, is about effectively managing the symptoms of the health condition to ensure maximum comfort during the end stage of life. The types of residents we care for include the following two categories:

Residents with Terminal Health Conditions – The unfortunate reality is that some health conditions cannot be cured and, while curative treatments are important for extending the quality and duration of a resident’s life, they will be terminal in the end. Curative treatments can also be very demanding on a patient’s body and well being, and in the event that disease progresses beyond likely recovery, some patients choose to live their last months in comfort rather than attempting further treatments.

Advanced Age Residents – It is natural for the body to slowly stop working effectively as a result of old age. And, therefore, many hospice residents are older. This care program is invaluable to senior health at the end stages of life and helps to significantly reduce hospitalizations. Expert daily care allows loved ones to spend quality time together and ensures every comfort is met in a peaceful and welcoming environment.

Hospice care isn’t simply about changes in a patient’s medical treatment. It is about treating the last stages of life with kindness, respect, and dignity. It focuses on comprehensive assistance and care that ranges from managing daily tasks and ensuring end-of-life wishes are met to helpful therapies, spiritual support, family support, and even companionship and entertainment. In this way, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are prioritized.

Choose Bridges – Our Supportive, Compassionate Hospice Care Program

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for residents and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support.

To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/why-do-doctors-recommend-hospice-care/

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5 Myths and Facts About Hospice Care

Caregiver, carer hand holding elder hand woman in hospice care. Philanthropy kindness to disabled concept.Public Service Recognition Week

There are so many myths and misunderstandings about hospice care and what it means, and that can lead to people missing out on essential care that provides comfort and dignity. Here are some common myths and facts about hospice care, from the team at our hospice in South Jersey:

Myth #1 – Hospice only provides 6 months of care, so you must delay it as long as possible 

This misunderstanding arises from the process that evaluates a patient’s need for hospice care. A patient will only be recommended for hospice when two doctors perform an evaluation and determine that the patient is terminal with a life expectancy of around six months or less. However, this is an estimate that is used to diagnose care needs going forward – it’s not an exact measurement. As long as a patient meets these criteria, hospice care is available.

Myth #2 –  Hospice care just provides pain medication

Pain management is a priority in hospice care in order to keep patients as comfortable as possible. However, it is not the only service that is provided. Modern hospice care is incredibly advanced and deals with a patient’s needs holistically, providing symptom management and therapy, as well as social, psychological, and spiritual support. This is extended to family and loved ones as well, providing a setting and support system that includes nurses and doctors, social workers, trained volunteers, and more.

Myth #3 – Hospice means giving up hope

Hospice is not the hopeless place that often exists in many people’s minds. Instead, it’s a place that redefines this stage of life, providing expert support and care that prioritizes dignity and wellbeing to the very end. Through our programs and team, we provide patients and families with a place to gather and enjoy quality time together, where families can be assured that their loved one’s every need is being met in a comfortable, welcoming setting, and where patients don’t have to fear being lonely, in pain or helpless.

Myth #4 – Staying at home is always better 

Caring for a loved one who is terminal can be incredibly challenging and emotionally stressful. At hospice, patients have a team of caregivers to ensure that needs are met, allowing family and loved ones to spend as much quality time together as possible. Hospice care doesn’t just involve symptom management. Trained doctors and nurses also monitor patients to ensure that any other minor health complications are treated early, ensuring that patients stay as healthy as possible and avoid traumatic hospitalizations.

Myth #5 – Hospice is Expensive

Hospice is actually funded through Medicare/Medicaid benefits. It’s unlimited in length, and most private insurance plans offer coverage for hospice as well. In most cases, coverage includes hospice care, visits from doctors and other medical professionals, medications related to the patient’s terminal condition, as well as any supplies and equipment they may need (for instance, an oxygen tank).

Have Any Questions? Speak to the Friendly Team at Our Hospice in South Jersey

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/5-myths-and-facts-about-hospice-care/

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7 Symptoms and 4 Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

An elderly Indian man with heart problems

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a progressive and chronic condition in which fluid builds up around the heart, limiting its ability to pump properly. Here are some insights into this health condition from the team at our hospice in South Jersey.

7 Symptoms of CHF 

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Fatigue
  3. Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
  4. Difficulty concentrating
  5. Coughing and wheezing with pink phlegm
  6. Rapid weight gain
  7. Difficulty exercising

The most important signs to watch for include rapid/irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fainting, and severe weakness. If any of these are detected, a doctor should be alerted immediately.

4 Causes of CHF 

There are several cardiovascular diseases and conditions that can cause damage to the heart, leading to heart failure. The most common of these include:

  • Heart Attack – In a heart attack, the artery leading to the heart is blocked, blocking incoming blood flow. Without a flow of blood and oxygen into the heart, this tissue can become damaged, resulting in the formation of scar tissue. This scar tissue affects the pumping performance of the heart, which can lead to fluid building up.
  • Cardiomyopathy – This disease affects the tissue of the heart, causing the heart to become larger and more inflexible, which negatively affects its ability to pump blood, leading to fluid buildup. This condition can be caused by chronic high blood pressure, problems with the heart valves, abnormal protein build-up, inflammatory infections, metabolic disorders, and certain drugs.
  • Coronary Artery Disease – Plaque, cholesterol, and fatty deposits can build up in the arteries, causing narrowing that restricts the flow of blood to the heart. This can be caused by long-term smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Strain on the Heart Muscle – Certain health conditions can put a lot of strain on your heart that can lead to fluid buildup, including kidney disease, birth-related heart defects, HIV, hyperthyroidism, and hemochromatosis.

Treatment of CHF 

Treatment for hospice patients with congestive heart failure focuses on reducing symptoms and maintaining the best possible quality of life, and may include blood thinners, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and other medications. What type of medications the patient will receive depends on whether or not they have an underlying heart condition, other chronic health conditions they may have, other medications they may be on, and how they are affected by certain medications. The team of doctors, medical practitioners, and wellness therapists will work together to ensure the best holistic care for each patient on an individual basis.

Expert Hospice Care Led by a Compassionate Team of Specialists at Our Hospice in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/7-symptoms-and-4-causes-of-congestive-heart-failure-2/

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What Are the Latest Advancements in Hospice Care?

Hospice Care Jersey Shore

New technologies are transforming every industry, and hospice care is no exception. Here are some exciting new advancements that are entering the industry to improve care for terminal patients.

Predictive Analytics in Hospice Care 

These data systems collect and analyze patient data from medical teams and support systems to help chart and predict changes in a patient’s condition. The more information that registered nurses, social workers and doctors have, the better they can anticipate and respond to changing health conditions in order to provide the best possible care and comfort. This is especially important for patients who are unable to reliably communicate their condition or information about their symptoms, such as dementia patients.

It is also an important training resource for hospice teams who are constantly focused on improving patient care. By having access to this data, doctors, nurses and caregivers can better perceive patterns in patient health deterioration and therefore act faster when these patterns occur.

This has considerable benefit for patient families too, as the hospice team can provide better care coordination and communicate more effectively with family members about their loved one’s condition.

Community-Based Hospice Care 

United Methodist Communities offers community-based hospice care at some of our full service campuses and this trend is becoming more common across the industry due to the considerable benefits of this model. By integrating hospice care with assisted living communities, it’s easier to recognize when residents need to make this transition – and it’s an easier and less traumatic process for the patient because it involves no major move and ensures a seamless transition to a new care team, which is desirable for families, too. Importantly, it has been shown to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and incurring the high costs involved with them, and keeps patient comfort, dignity and security a priority.

Compassionate End-Of-Life Care Services from Our Hospice in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer a compassionate, professional hospice care neighborhood at the Jersey Shore called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/what-are-the-latest-advancements-in-hospice-care/

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5 Great Reasons to Volunteer at Your Local Hospice!

Hospice Care NJ

If you’re looking to give back to your community or take an active role in helping people, then volunteering at a local hospice can be a rewarding experience for you. Here’s why:

  1.   You’ll make a real difference. Volunteers make a meaningful difference in a hospice — they’re someone new to talk to, a positive and smiling face, and a great connection to the world outside. Just by spending time with hospice patients and their families, you’re giving a true gift and blessing during what is often a difficult time.
  2.   There’s a role for everyone. Whether you’re a social butterfly who loves meeting new people, someone who plays a great game of chess or you’re known for your incredible cakes and cookies, there’s something to suit every hospice volunteer. You can even help with administrative work, as every helping hand is appreciated!
  3.   It’s good for you too. Volunteering isn’t just good for the patients you help — studies show that volunteers also benefit. It’s linked to greater levels of happiness and wellbeing, knowing that you have contributed to something truly meaningful.
  4.   You’ll only do work that you’re comfortable with. For many volunteers, it’s common to feel worried that you’ll be asked to deal with tasks that you’re uncomfortable with or that connect with traumatic memories. However, you don’t have to worry! When you volunteer, you’ll work with staff to help you find the tasks that you enjoy — you’ll never be asked to do anything you’re uncomfortable with or that you don’t feel properly prepared to do.
  5.   It looks great on your CV. Few things look as impressive on your CV as volunteering — it shows that you’re a giving, compassionate, a team player and that you like to go the extra mile. Volunteering at a hospice is a great opportunity for anyone, but it’s especially impactful if you are planning a career in the healthcare industry as a nurse, doctor, senior care specialist, or administrator. You’ll make great professional connections, too!

Want to Become Part of Our Vibrant Volunteer Community? Contact Our Hospice in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care at the Jersey Shore called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/5-great-reasons-to-volunteer-at-your-local-hospice/

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It’s Time to Create Your Advance Medical Directive

hospice care Jersey Shore

People often ask when is the right time to organize their estate plan and to paraphrase a common quote, “the best time to do it is yesterday, the second-best time to do it is right now.” An advance medical directive is one key part of your estate plan that protects you in the event that you need advanced medical care.

Here are some insights from our hospice in South Jersey:

What is an Advance Medical Directive? 

This is a pretty straightforward legal document that states the kind of care you’d like to receive in the event that you are incapacitated or are otherwise unable to communicate your wishes yourself. Many people have very strong feelings about advance or extreme life-saving medical measures. This document allows a person of your choosing to make sure your wishes are followed.

Benefits for You and Your Loved Ones 

By making your wishes clear, you and your loved ones have peace of mind on a very important issue. In a time of crisis, it’s good to have a medical care guide that loved ones can rely on, preventing the stress and anguish that often come from wondering what type of care you would want.

Without it, hospitals are obligated to take all measures possible to keep you alive — something which many people feel, under certain circumstances, reduces quality of life. You can decide exactly what those circumstances are for you and thereby prevent unnecessary pain, unhelpful medical procedures, and unwanted, costly hospitalization.

Creating Your Advance Medical Directive 

Although it is a simple document, it is a very important one. Here are three things to consider when creating your own:

  1. If you are unsure as to the legality of your document, have it created by an elder law attorney.
  2. Clearly name and detail the person who will act in your interest and include a back-up person to do so in the event your first choice is unable. This is especially important for seniors who name their spouse.
  3. In addition to specifying medical treatment and the circumstances to which the directive will apply, also remember to specify any end-of-life care wishes, including whether you want to stay at home, in a hospital, or in a hospice. You can also specify your spiritual care needs.

Our Hospice in South Jersey is Dedicated to the Care, Support and Comfort of Your Loved One 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore are called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/its-time-to-create-your-advance-medical-directive/

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How to Say Goodbye to Your Senior Loved One

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Life is full of challenges, and one of the most difficult things to do is to say goodbye to a loved one. Here is some advice from the team at our hospice in South Jersey to help support you and your loved one during this emotional time.

  • Feel grateful for the opportunity: Many people don’t get the opportunity to properly say goodbye to a loved one, so it’s important to remember this and make the most of this opportunity to share time together, even though it’s difficult. No one wants to say goodbye and it’s hard to know what to say, but it’s an opportunity to say the important things to each other to give you both peace.
  • Be honest and open: Often, terminal patients feel the additional strain of having to be strong for their family and friends. Instead, be honest and open with your loved one and acknowledge the truth of what they are going through. Don’t feel pressured to bring up the subject directly but be open to listening if they want to talk about it – and don’t tell them they’ll get better soon.
  • Laugh together: Saying goodbye is a chance not only to tell someone you love them and will miss them, it’s also a good chance to relive your best memories together. Don’t feel like you have to stay somber and sad – if you heard a funny story that morning you know your loved one would laugh at, tell them all about it. Remind them of all the good times you had together, and it will lift your hearts and spirits.
  • Reassure your loved one:Your loved one may express concerns about everyone they are leaving behind, whether it’s about a family argument that they would like to see resolved, or difficulties other loved ones are going through. Even if you have doubts, now is the right time to reassure them. You don’t have to lie, but it’s important to tell your loved one that everyone will be okay, that you’ll do what you can to help, and that you’ll all support each other.
  • Talk to your hospice team:It’s normal to feel unprepared for a loved one’s final days and hours, but our hospice team is there to answer your questions and support you as well as your loved one. We can help you prepare for this time emotionally and spiritually as well as practically, helping you to plan a peaceful and comforting farewell for your loved one.

Compassionate End-Of-Life Care Services and Support from Our Hospice in South Jersey

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore are called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/how-to-say-goodbye-to-your-senior-loved-one/

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