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A Guide to Terminal Restlessness Among Hospice Patients

Person supporting sick family member

As much as dying is a fact of life most people prefer to avoid thinking about this topic. While understandable, it does mean that many of us are unprepared when facing the dying process, which makes the passing of a loved one even more difficult.

One common part of this process is known as terminal restlessness. In order to comfort their loved one through this experience, it’s important for the family and friends to understand what this is and how it is managed. Here is a basic guide from the team at our hospice residence in South Jersey.

What is Terminal Restlessness and How Can It Be Managed? 

This term, used to describe a mental state that many terminal patients move through during their final stages of life, is estimated to affect up to 85% of patients. The symptoms include agitation, restlessness, delirium, confusion and impaired consciousness. Many patients also experience myoclonic jerks (involuntary muscle movement) and twitches. Understandably, this is distressing for loved ones.

While the exact cause of these symptoms isn’t linked to one particular condition, caregivers will monitor any changes in mental state to ensure that any underlying conditions are treated. Common causes for terminal restlessness include hypercalcaemia (a metabolic disorder common to cancer patients), fever, organ failure, sepsis, drug interactions, increased pressure on the brain, or opioid toxicity.

Researchers also point to a likely psychological element at work here, in which patients are more aware that they are approaching the end of their lives. Whatever the reason, caregivers play a vital role monitoring mental state, offering spiritual and emotional comfort, ensuring treatment of any underlying conditions whenever possible, and offering sedation if needed. Specialists often recommend that loved ones try playing calming music, talking in a gentle and reassuring manner, and holding your terminal loved one’s hand to help reduce agitation.

Comfort, Compassion and Care at Our Hospice Residence in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer care in a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges.

It focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for individuals and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice neighborhood in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and schedule your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/a-guide-to-terminal-restlessness-among-hospice-patients/

 

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Don’t Wait Too Long for Hospice Care

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Hospice services are a valuable resource for people of all ages, but especially the elderly and their loved ones, providing comfort, care and support through the final stages of life. Despite the value of this service, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that very few elderly people who qualified for this level of care made use of it.

Here are some additional insights into the study and the value of palliative care programs, from the team at our assisted living hospice dedicated neighborhood in South Jersey:

Who is Making Use of Hospice and Palliative Care Services? 

The study looked at 562 individuals over 70 years of age, with an average age of 87-years-old. Of all the participants, only 43% were admitted to hospice care in their last year of life, and half the participants only received 13 days or less of care.

Ideally, candidates who would benefit from this care have six months or less to live, so clearly these services are underutilized.

Why is it Better to Go into Hospice Earlier? 

The most common reason for avoiding hospice care may very well be that this is a very difficult, emotional and distressing time for patients and their families. It represents a final part of a loved one’s life, and we’d all prefer focusing on their life rather than their passing.

The study also found that while certain terminal illnesses have a fairly predictable progression, others make it far more difficult to determine when treatment is no longer an option. Afflictions like frailty and dementia also make it more difficult to pinpoint when hospice care is the best choice. This makes it essential to keep in regular contact with physicians and ask questions about treatment plans and hospice programs so that families can make informed decisions that prioritize a loved one’s comfort and care when the time comes.

The reality is that hospice care is a valuable resource. It focusses on expert pain management, physical comfort and spiritual support, as well as social and physical activities tailored to your loved one’s needs.

They also provide support and care to families and loved ones, allowing them to step back as caregivers and spend quality time with their loved ones while compassionate staff makes sure their other needs are met. Hospice care also actively works to reduce hospitalizations for patients, ensuring their care and nursing needs are met in a more welcoming and comfortable community.

Find Out What Quality Care Means 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 care in a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges.

It focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for individuals and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice neighborhood in Cape May County, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today and schedule your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/dont-wait-too-long-for-hospice-care/

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The Role of Hospice Care for Loved One’s with Dementia

My grandma is wonderful, i love her!

Alzheimer’s and dementia conditions can bring physical and emotional battles for patients and their loved ones, and in its end stages, requires specialist care. Look for hospice services that have experience with individuals with dementia, as they provide this care with expertise and compassion, focusing on relieving pain, controlling symptoms and maintaining a good quality of life.

This not only keeps these individuals comfortable and safe, it also measurably reduces the anxiety and worry families experience, relieving them of the care burden so that they can spend time with their loved one. Here are some more insights from the team at our hospice and palliative care community in South Jersey.

What is the Right Time to Choose Hospice Care? 

Hospice is a service designed specifically for end-of-life care when a person has been medically determined to have six months or less of life remaining. Due to the unpredictable speed of decline dementia can bring, it can be more difficult to determine when hospice is the right option.

While only a doctor can make the final determination, caregivers, friends and family should keep an eye out for the following common signs in declining patients:

  • They don’t speak more than a few words at a time.
  • They are no longer mobile and cannot move from their bed.
  • They are dependent on others for eating, dressing, grooming, and hygiene.
  • They commonly express high anxiety.

If you are concerned about your loved one, you can request a hospice evaluation from your loved one’s doctor or neurologist to help determine the right course of action. It’s important to remember that you are your loved one’s advocate, and it’s up to you to act to ensure that they are getting the care they need and deserve.

While the idea of hospice care can be frightening or stressful to consider, the benefits of having a team of trained caregivers cannot be overestimated. In fact, terminal care patients benefit significantly from moving into hospice care — suffering fewer hospitalizations and gaining the advantage of effective pain management programs. Families also find greater satisfaction in hospice care, as they are surrounded by a supportive and caring team who are there to help ease this journey.

Find Out How a Leading Hospice and Palliative Care Community in South Jersey Can Care for Your Loved One 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer care in a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. It focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for individuals and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in South Jersey, 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/role-hospice-care-loved-ones-dementia/

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A Guide to Medicare Hospice Coverage and Programs

Hospice is a service offered to preserve a patient’s quality of life in the end stage of life or during a terminal illness. It also addresses the patient’s spiritual, emotional, medical and physical needs. This important service provides care and comfort to both patients and their loved ones, and under certain requirements, can be covered by Medicare. Here is a quick guide to these requirements from our assisted living hospice neighborhood in South Jersey.

Medicare Eligibility Requirements for Hospice Services 

In order to be covered by Medicare for hospice services, your loved one must:

  • Meet eligibility requirements for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance);
  • Be certified by a doctor and hospice medical director as terminally ill with six months or less to live;
  • Have a signed document from a legal guardian stating that hospice care is being chosen instead of other treatments covered by Medicare; and
  • Choose a Medicare-approved hospice care provider.

Hospice Services Covered by Medicare 

If eligible, the following 10 hospice services WILL BE covered by Medicare:

  1. Nursing care and doctor services
  2. Hospice aid services
  3. Physical and occupational therapies
  4. Social worker services
  5. Medical equipment (for example, a wheelchair) and medical supplies
  6. Pain relief and symptom control medications
  7. Nutritional counselling
  8. Grief and family counselling
  9. Short-term respite care
  10. Short-term inpatient care

The following services are NOT covered by Medicare:

  • Treatments designed to cure the terminal illness;
  • Prescription medication to cure the terminal illness (only symptom management is covered);
  • Room and board for hospice care, unless covered by short-term inpatient care or respite care requirements;
  • Any care that is not arranged by the hospice medical team. If you want a service from a different hospice provider, you need to officially change your selected Medicare-approved hospice provider; and
  • Emergency care, including ambulance transportation, inpatient facility care or emergency room care unless it is arranged by your hospice medical team or it is the result of healthcare needs unrelated to the terminal illness.

Speak to our Team at Bridges, an Assisted Living Neighborhood Dedicated to Hospice and Palliative Care at The Shores in Cape May County, NJ for Advice 

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. This program focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support.

To find out more or if you need advice on hospice care options and Medicare, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/hospice-care-nj/ or contact us today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/guide-medicare-hospice-coverage-programs/ 

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Hospice Care Increases Comfort and Reduces Hospitalizations

When a loved one has reached the end stages of terminal cancer, hospitalization often becomes an increasingly frequent experience. This has a significant impact on care costs as well as on the patient’s quality of life. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that palliative care options like hospice, can significantly reduce the rate of hospitalizations and aggressive procedures for these patients.

What is hospice and palliative care? 

When a patient is no longer able to benefit from medical treatments due to a terminal illness or disease, the care focus changes to keeping the patient comfortable and as healthy as possible for the remainder of their life. For example, cancer patients will no longer undergo chemotherapy, radiation or surgeries designed to cure or remove the cancer. Instead, they will receive medications and therapies that keep pain and discomfort at bay.

Why is reducing hospitalizations a good thing? 

Aiming to reduce hospitalizations for end-of-life patients may sound counter-intuitive, after all, hospitals provide cures and treatments to extend and enhance our lives. However, this is not the case for terminal patients at the end of their lives. They are often hospitalized for health issues that could have been prevented through better end-of-life care. Treating these preventable issues costs families, insurance companies and government insurance programs a huge amount of money.

What did the study find? 

The study, conducted with the input of 18,000 pairs of Medicare patients with terminal cancers, found:

  • Non-hospice patients had more hospitalizations than hospice patients (65% vs. 42%);
  • Non-hospice patients were placed in intensive care more often than hospice patients (36% vs. 15%);
  • More invasive procedures were done on non-hospice patients than hospice patients (51% vs. 27%); and
  • Most hospitalizations of non-hospice patients were due to health concerns unrelated to their cancers.

These findings also show that overall, a non-hospice patient incurred a total cost of $71,517 during their last year of life, while a hospice patient’s costs totaled $62,819 — a relative saving of nearly $9,000.

These findings highlight an important issue that goes far beyond the cost of end-of-life medical care. It’s not simply a matter of money. The quality of care hospice delivers actively works to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and health complications, and ensures comfort at this important stage of life.

Comfortable, wellness-focused end-of-life care at our hospice dedicated assisted living area in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit assisted living organization in New Jersey, we offer a compassionate, professional hospice-dedicated are of our community at the Jersey Shore called Bridges. It focuses 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 South Jersey, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/ or contact us today and organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/hospice-care-increases-comfort-reduces-hospitalizations/

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Coping With Grief during the Holidays

The holiday season is here, and for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, this can be an especially difficult time of year. Everywhere, messages about spending time with the ones we love are abundant, and bring into focus the loved ones who will not be celebrating with us, which can lead to intense feelings of sorrow.

Here are some coping strategies from the team at our hospice neighborhood in South Jersey to help make this season more manageable:

  • Remember that grief and healing go hand-in-hand. Grief is an integral part of the healing process, and choosing to experience the pain rather than shutting it away is a healthier path to healing. Over time, this will help make the holiday season easier.
  • Acknowledge your loss. Remembering the one you’ve lost and expressing your feelings can help make them a part of the festive season and lead to traditions in which they are kept close to your and other people’s hearts. Set aside some time or a task and make it all about that someone special and choose something that reminds you of them. For example, lighting a candle in church or at your family dinner table, opening a bottle of their favorite drink, serving a favorite dish, or playing their favorite music.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Don’t push yourself to have a perfect holiday season, attend every event, and embrace every occasion with a smile on your face. Instead, give yourself a break if you find an event too painful, or need some time by yourself. Pick and choose what events you feel comfortable with, and keep your options open. You might prefer a quiet evening in with family looking at photo albums and watching movies, rather than a big social event with lots of people. Don’t feel obligated that you have to attend an event if it’s too difficult or painful for you.
  • Speak openly with family and friends. Everyone experiences grief differently, and communicating your concerns and feelings to your loved ones is especially important during the holidays. Your support network can help ease the burden of the holiday season, from helping you to create new traditions in remembrance of your loved one, to understanding why you need time and space from certain events.

Professional care and support from Bridges, our hospice and palliative care neighborhood in Cape May County, NJ 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit assisted living organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional care in the Jersey Shore area in a neighborhood called Bridges, dedicated to hospice and palliative care. 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 neighborhood in South Jersey, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org or contact us today and arrange your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/coping-grief-holidays/

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What Families and Loved Ones Want from Hospice Care

Death, or the approach of death, is understandably difficult to deal with. Terminal patients, as well as their families and loved ones, often find it hard to address, feeling overwhelmed, confused and a loss of control.

This is when hospice comes in and lends a guiding hand in understanding what is coming, preparing for death and supporting loved ones in their grief. It is this support and these resources that families, patients, and loved ones need. Our hospice in South Jersey focuses on these needs to set the standards for excellent end-of-life care.

How Our Hospice Team Meets Your Needs

  • A comforting environment:

Very few people want to spend their last few months in a sterile, busy and unwelcoming hospital environment. Hospice offers the terminally ill a space to call their own, filled with the comforts of home and familiar items.

  • Spend time together:

Hospice providers understand this is an important time for family and loved ones. So, they are welcome to spend time at the hospice. With private accommodation for patients, you don’t have to worry about intruding on others. Our family dining space allows you to dine with your loved one throughout their stay. We also have gardens and outdoor spaces for family and loved ones to enjoy.

  •  Customized care:

No two hospice patients are the same, so care plans are created to meet each person’s specific requirements; modifications occur as their needs change. Whether your loved one is suffering from dementia, cancer or any other terminal illness, our fully trained and experienced care and medical staff can deliver the necessary assistance and treatments.

  • Grief support:

Compassion is the primary focus in hospice care, for patients as well as their loved ones. In addition to grief counselors, we also offer spiritual support throughout this difficult time.

  • Reduced stress:

While always an emotional and stressful time, our team will do as much as possible to share the load. Expert hospice care helps reduce the stress of caring for a loved one yourself. Knowing their medical and wellness needs are being taken care of means that family caregivers and loved ones can focus on what really matters — spending quality time together.

Find Out More About End-of-Life Care at Our Hospice in Cape May County

The Shores, part of the well-known United Methodist Communities nonprofit organization in New Jersey, offers compassionate, professional hospice care in Cape May County called Bridges. This program focuses 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 hospice care in the Jersey Shore area, please visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org or contact us today to organize your visit.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/families-loved-ones-want-hospice-care/

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