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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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4 Tips for Living Your Best Life as a Hospice Resident

Helping hands.

Coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis is a difficult challenge for patients and their families. While it may be a challenging time it’s important to do things that make you happy. Here are four tips for living to the full while in hospice care, from the team at our hospice community in South Jersey:

  1. Bring Home with You. Rather than leaving the comforts and familiarity of home behind, bring it with you. Your favorite jerseys, softest comforter, the bedside lamp you love, and your favorite houseplant are all welcome. Some hospice facilities have guidelines of how much you can bring in with you, but it’s a generous process that’s all about making you feel at home.
  2. Stress and Depression. It’s understandable that stress, anxiety and depression are common amongst terminally ill residents, but it’s important to know that there is plenty of support available.
    Whether you’re worried about the future, have spiritual concerns or are feeling overwhelmed, there are therapists and spiritual advisors on call to give comfort, advice and support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you notice signs that you don’t feel like yourself —– it’s natural, and you deserve a helping hand.
  3. Connect with People. Another good idea is to connect with people having a similar experience, and support groups offer a great resource for friendship, understanding, and support. Make time for your family and friends too, as they know and love you best. These strong social ties are key to keep enjoying life to the fullest.
  4. Holistic Care. Holistic hospice care, also called coordinated care, is another essential resource. This entails hospice residents’ treatment by a team of nurses, therapists, counselors and more who keep clear lines of communication with you and with each other.
    This means a better quality of care and pain management and helps with bringing in more unique team members to address specific issues and concerns aligned with your care plan.

Find Out More About End-of-Life Care Services from Our Hospice Community 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 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/4-tips-for-living-your-best-life-as-a-hospice-resident/

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Hospice Insights: What is Coordinated Care?

Angels are often disguised as daughters

If you’ve been researching hospice care, you’ve probably come across the term “coordinated care.” This isn’t a buzzword or marketing term — it’s a critical component of delivering effective care to hospice patients.

Here’s some insight into what coordinated care means and why it’s so important, from our hospice in South Jersey.

What is Coordinated Care and Why is it so Important to Hospice Patient Care? 

Hospice cases are not simple ones. When people come to us, they have gone or are presently going through a transition from curative to palliative care. They may be moving to our community from homecare, assisted living, or intensive care. Their needs are complex and our role is to deliver holistic care focusing not only on medication and nursing care, but also on wellness, quality of life, comfort, and spiritual care.

This requires bringing together a wide range of specialists from doctors and nurses to therapists and companions. Each person on that team needs to understand the patient’s needs in detail, build a comprehensive treatment plan that is unique to their healthcare and wellness needs, and work with the patient and their loved ones openly to provide support and clear communication. This is known as coordinated care.

What Happens in the Coordinated Care Process?

First, the team as a whole will spend time getting to know the patient, their family and caregivers, getting to know care preferences, and any religious or cultural wishes and preferences. The team will note the patient’s care needs, routines, and capabilities to help ease the transition and develop a care plan.

The team will make a diagnosis to ensure documentation of all health conditions and symptoms and develop a comprehensive care program that provides effective symptom management and comfort for the patient.

Additional therapists may assist with hospice care: holistic specialists, social workers, counsellors, spiritual care, and community support specialists as well as medical therapists. A bereavement specialist will also be part of the team.

By sharing patient information among every member of the team in real time and with specialist insight, patient care is kept at the highest quality and no issue is overlooked. It is the most effective way to ensure comprehensive, compassionate palliative care and support to patients and their loved ones.

Want to Find Out More About End-of-Life Care Services? 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 a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in 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/hospice-insights-what-is-coordinated-care/

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