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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

hospice the shores

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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Late-Stage MS: Everything You Need to Know

National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

This month is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Therefore, the team at our hospice in South Jersey would like to raise awareness about late-stage MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and how hospice teams work to support MS residents during this stage.

What Is MS? 

Multiple sclerosis, more commonly known as MS, is a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes the immune system to attack the protective layer around nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, causing damage that affects the nerves ability to communicate with the rest of the body. Although there is no cure for MS, there are advanced treatments that help to manage symptoms and assist in recovery after attacks.

How Does Hospice Care Help? 

While the progression of the disease and the severity of its symptoms differ from person to person, most live between 25 and 35 years after their diagnosis. While doctors and specialists handle all treatment plans during the earlier stages of MS, hospice becomes a very effective and useful service during the end-stage.
Hospice care is recommended by a physician when a person is determined to have six months of life remaining, and it is at this point where care plans shift to prioritize a patient’s comfort and symptom management as well as their final wishes.
Hospice care for late-stage MS is about ensuring that the resident not only has the best possible care, but also the best possible quality of life during this stage of the disease, just as you desire for the early stages.

Managing End-Stage MS Symptoms 

Multiple sclerosis is a challenging diagnosis to deal with, not only for those residents affected, but also for their families and caregivers. As the condition progresses into the end stages, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing due to weakened respiratory muscles and fluid build-up;
  • Limited mobility that restricts a patient to a bed or chair where they can get assistance with grooming, hygiene, and daily tasks;
  • Neurological decline due to more pronounced changes in brain function and mental capability;
  • Difficulty eating due to weakened muscles as well as tremors, impacting their ability to hold utensils, which results in poor nutrition;
  • Difficulty communicating and verbalizing their needs;
  • Pain due to muscle spasms, pressure sores from immobility, and nerve pain; and
  • Muscle atrophy and skin ulcers.

These symptoms can be professionally and compassionately managed in a hospice, where teams of trained professionals care for residents around the clock. This not only ensures each one is as comfortable as possible, it also helps to prevent complications. Residents’ families and loved ones also benefit, as they are able to spend quality time together in a relaxing and welcoming setting. In addition, hospice communities offer spiritual support and counseling for residents and their families, which is invaluable during this time.

Discover the Value of Hospice – Visit Our Beautiful 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. It focuses 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/late-stage-ms-everything-you-need-to-know/

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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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