July is Bereaved Parents Month

The natural order of life is for children to outlive their parents. If that natural order is disrupted it creates a life shattering scenario that no one is ever prepared to face. Losing a child is perhaps the most devastating emotional trauma that anyone can experience. Palliative care specialists and hospice are a great source of support for parents caring for a seriously ill child, especially when their child’s diagnosis becomes terminal.

There have not been many studies dedicated to grieving the loss of a child. The research that has been done indicates that the psychological damage parents suffer does not heal over time.  They tend to experience intense sorrow and a display many of the characteristics of complicated grief. Simply defined, complicated grief is an unceasing despair that does not fade over time and interferes with a person’s ability to return to a normal life. Complicated grief requires professional counseling to overcome.

Common signs of complicated grief may include:

  • Intense lasting sorrow

  • Continued disbelief that their loved one is gone

  • Relentless preoccupation with their loved one's death

  • Extreme bitterness or anger

  • Obsession with reminders of their loved one

  • Sustained inability to enjoy happy memories of their loved one

  • Persistent longing for the deceased

  • Severe detachment

  • Excessive avoidance of reminders of their loved one

  • Compelling desire to join their loved one

  • Exaggerated distrust of others

  • Overwhelming hopelessness that life no longer has meaning

  • Escalating dread that interferes with the activities of daily living

  • Increased isolation from others and social activities

  • Displaced blame or an unrealistic idea that they could have prevented the death

Parents will try anything to save their child’s life, but when treatments are no longer effective, hospice care can ease the child’s discomfort and, in some cases, extend life. Hospice gives a terminally ill child the best possible quality of life while supporting distraught family members.

Take time this month to visit children’s hospitals in your service area to provide support for families facing the unthinkable.

Visit Tagwebstore.com for your hospice marketing media.

 

Related Resource: https://grief.com/books-on-the-loss-of-a-child/ 

Home Care and the Lung Cancer Patient

Home care is available for cancer patients in all stages of their disease, be it home health or hospice care. The majority of those patients are battling lung cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that over 140,000 people will die from lung cancer this year, making it by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women.

The prognosis for lung cancer can vary widely depending on the cancer type and the stage it is in when diagnosed. Lung cancer may be incurable, but it is almost always treatable. Home health care works with cancer patients who are home bound to provide supportive care and help with the activities of daily living.

Home health also provides help with:

  • Explaining the disease process

  • Counseling for patients and their families

  • Managing patient care

  • Observing treatment progress and advising when adjustments are needed

  • Educating about safety in daily activities and emergencies

  • Monitoring medications

  • Evaluating nutritional needs

Lung cancer patients typically have a team of doctors and specialists working together to eradicate their cancer. This collaboration usually consists of: thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, palliative care physicians, and medical and radiation oncologists.

Much in that same way, hospice uses a team approach to treat patients. Hospice teams are made up of physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, counselors, therapists, volunteers, and chaplains. A cancer patient is generally eligible for hospice care when treatments are no longer effective, and their disease is determined likely to follow its normal path of progression.

Hospice care focuses on quality of life for the patient as well as their family. They minimize patient discomfort through symptom and pain management, while providing respite care, emotional support, and bereavement counseling for family members.

Reach out to the oncologists and cancer treatment centers in your service area with information on how partnering with home health and hospice can improve the quality of care for their cancer patients.

Help your referring partners address the many misinterpretations about hospice and the services they provide for terminally ill patients and their families by visiting the tagwebstore.com : The Real Truth About Hospice Flyer.

Introducing Hospice … kind words for overwhelmed families.

The grieving process often starts the moment someone hears the word hospice. No one is ever prepared to face the news that their loved one will not recover from their illness.  As a result, family members are often in a state of shock, bewilderment, or denial when they first meet with a hospice representative. Kind words, tissues, and enrollment are the beginnings of hospice care.

Simplifying hospice introduction and enrollment should be the goal of every hospice administrator, and any tool that can make the process easier on the patient, family, and the hospice representative is a must have.  

We offer beautifully designed hospice admission books ready for your branding that will convey your message of caring and give families a tangible guide to hospice care. These admission booklets provide you a professional, reassuring presentation as you gather the information required to enroll a patient. They include the necessary information such as service agreements, patient rights, privacy statements, home safety guidelines, and agency information; but they also provide caregiving information with answers to common questions. These books will be a resource for families to refer to throughout the hospice journey which continue long after their loved one’s passing.

Each member of your team will be confident and proud to display this book bearing your agency name to referral partners, peers, patients, families, and potential new associates. Contact us at 866-232-6477 for more information on how we can help you help others.

  

 “Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature's way of letting in only as much as we can handle.”  -- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Chronic Arthritis Pain

Chronic pain is a condition that many older adults suffer with daily. Persistent pain can be caused by a multitude of illnesses and conditions, with one of the largest contributors being arthritis. According to the CDC, there are currently 54.4 million Americans living with some form of arthritis. 

Arthritis is actually a term used for any number of inflammatory joint diseases. The most prevalent of these is osteoarthritis, which is often the result of joint cartilage being worn away.  Left untreated, chronic arthritis pain can lead people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle, increasing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and other serious health conditions.

Home health and hospice routinely treat patients with arthritis and other chronic pain contributing conditions. They use various pain management techniques to provide as much relief as possible for each patient based on their specific needs. Under the supervision of physicians, physical therapists work with patients to increase muscle strength and flexibility, and to reduce pain.

Chronic pain can also cause psychological issues like depression and anxiety. Home care social workers provide counseling to patients and their families on how to better cope with their condition. The frequency of home care visits can be an added benefit for lonely elderly patients whose isolation can also contribute to depression. Negative emotions can worsen pain, and people who dwell on their pain can actually experience greater disability from it.

Common Types of Arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis: joint insulation deterioration.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: autoimmune disease-causing immune system to attack the body.

  • Fibromyalgia: amplified sensations affecting the way the brain processes pain.

  • Gout: localized condition caused by high levels of uric acid, usually affecting the large joint of the big toe.

Highlight your agency’s services that provide relief from chronic pain:

  • Provide rheumatologists in your service area with patient education material on arthritis and managing chronic pain. Highlight your services during the visit.

  • Sponsor a lunch-and-learn for the staffs of your local clinics and hospitals to promote discharging to home health for improved patient outcomes and pain management.

  • Offer to provide a weekly mini class at your local senior centers. Promote your pain management services and other topics relevant to senior care like fall prevention, occupational therapy, nutrition, and brain sharpening exercises.

Visit TAGwebstore.com for all your home health and hospice print media.

April is National Occupational Therapy Month

April is national Occupational Therapy month and the perfect time to promote the occupational therapy services your home health agency provides.

Many patients recovering from surgery or struggling with chronic illnesses have difficulty carrying out the activities of daily living (ADLs). Home health care provides occupational and physical therapists who help patients better manage their daily routines. Occupational therapists evaluate a patient’s home environment along with their physical capabilities to identify activities that might be difficult for them to accomplish. The therapists then create a program instructing patients in performing these daily tasks safely, which is especially useful for seniors who need to minimize fall risk.

Occupational therapists aren’t just concerned with functionality, they also provide emotional support. Therapists encourage patients to be kind to themselves and to accept that managing ADLs differently is okay. They teach energy conservation techniques to minimize joint stress, pain, and fatigue. Practicing energy conservation reduces the frustration of running out of steam by balancing rest and activity.

Energy Conservation tips:

  • Plan ahead by scheduling difficult tasks for when you have the most energy.

  • Take frequent short rest periods and lie down whenever possible.

  • The amount of rest you need and the amount of activity you can do will be different from day to day.

  • Avoid activities that cannot be stopped immediately if they become too much.

  • Sit to work whenever possible and rest before you feel tired.

  • Plan a balance of rest and activity, spreading the more draining tasks throughout the week.

  • Delegate responsibilities to others.

Here are ideas on how your agency can celebrate Occupational Therapist month:

  • Throw an OT party and invite former patients to share their success stories and take lots of photos to share on social media.

  • Highlight individual therapists in your social media posts. Have them share fun facts about themselves and give a short ditty about why they chose to become an occupational therapist.

  • Host a lunch & learn for your referral sources to point out all of the services you offer your patients and to seek feedback to improve your business.

  • Organize an OT get-together after work to facilitate team building and discuss the patients that have touched your heart.

Check out our online web store for materials to help promote your wellness message…