Lisa Wiseman BScN, RN, GNC(C), the President of Eldercare Home Health wrote this informative piece about palliative care at home for seniors, for Hospital News.
The full text is below:
Imagine waking up in your own house, in the comfort of your own bed, at a time of your choosing. Imagine a morning where the smell of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast wafts in from the kitchen. Imagine a day where you can look forward to having friends dropping by to visit and the biggest decision of the afternoon is whether to read a favorite book, listen to classical music or doze for a while.
You can gaze our your window at the busy sidewalk, watching the children walking home from school or sit quietly in your garden admiring the work of Mother Nature.
Now more than even, palliative patients are making the decision to stay at home, and are thankful they have.
Being at home means not having to be isolated and having a feeling of participating in the household. Children, grandchildren and even pets can be present. Being at home helps people to be more at ease and can encourage interaction and more “natural” visits.
Some re-arranging of the household is often a good idea – turning a main floor room on the ground floor (in the case of a multi-storied hours) into a bed/sitting room for example – can make it easier and more comfortable for everyone.
It’s more natural to have visitors in a “public” are of a home than in a bedroom, and giving a spouse some privacy – having the bedroom to themselves , can mean they are less likely to be disturbed by hired caregivers at night, and have a chance to sleep – reducing their stress and enabling them to be more helpful and positive throughout the day.
There are many helpful resources available to palliative care patients at home.
- Palliative outreach teams – multidisciplinary reams specializing in working with palliative are patients in the community , who are available to provide care to the palliative patient. They have the knowledge and skills to help make clients as comfortable as possible at home.
- Rental equipment – every thing from grab bars to wheelchairs and hospital beds makes it possible to bring home clients requiring a broad range of support.
- Medications – for medical treatments or for comfort measures are now available in easy to administer formats such as patches, infusions, inhalations and may be administered at home by family members and Visiting Nurses.
- Community Care Access Centers (CCAC) – may provide additional hours of assistance with personal care for palliative care patients, easing the financial burden.
For many people, having the right care arrangements in place and access to supportive resources means home is often the best place to provide palliative care.
Lisa Wiseman is a Registered Nurse and President of Eldercare Home Health Inc. She can be reached through www.eldercarehomehealth.com (this website) or by calling 416 482-8292
Need information on palliative care? Get the essential information you need about palliative care – all in one place: Your practical guide to palliative care at the end of life
In summary: Eldercare Home Health has been providing Registered Nurse supervised and case managed palliative care at home for seniors in Toronto and the GTA, since 1995. If you’re looking for palliative care for an elderly family member or friend, call us.