End-of-Life Care-- An Introduction

Discussing end-of-life for a loved one can be a difficult topic of conversation for most families.

But understanding what to expect–and what you can do to help ensure your loved ones comfort in the final stage of their life–may help to ease the journey for both the family and the loved one.

Throughout this week, we’ll discuss the various stages of end-of-life care, what it means for you and your loved ones, and the proper decisions that need to be taken in order to help ease the process.

For today, we’ll start by giving a general outline of end-of-life care, and how to identify when end-of-life care may be necessary.

What is end-of-life care?

There are many dimensions to end-of-life care. The decisions that go into end-of-life care vary, often including the following:

  • Identifying the need for end-of-life care
  • Weighing options surrounding practical care and assistance for everyday activities
  • Ensuring mental and physical comfort
  • Facilitating proper communication between the family members and loved ones concerning end-of-life wishes

In short, end-of-life care shifts focus from curative measures/treatment, towards making the patient as comfortable as possible in their final stage of life.

An important thing to note is that end-of-life care measures aren’t about giving up. Rather, they are a way to ensure that proper care is being taken in the last phase of life in order to help alleviate any discomfort or suffering experienced by your loved one.

When to consider end-of-life care

There is no single point that determines when end-of-life care should begin. As such, when the process should begin depends on the individual and their state of health.

In some circumstances, as in the case of Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, the patients doctor may provide you with information on stages in the diagnosis that can help you gauge the need for end-of-life care.

Some more obvious signs would include the following:

In other circumstances, it may be much more difficult to know when the topic should be discussed. According to Helpguide.org, the following signs may indicate when it is necessary for the discussion on end-of-life care to begin:

  • The patient has made multiple trips to the emergency room, their condition has been stabilized, but the illness continues to progress significantly, affecting their quality of life
  • They’ve been admitted to the hospital several times within the last year with the same or worsening symptoms
  • They wish to remain at home, rather than spend time in the hospital
  • They have decided to stop receiving treatments for their disease

At Encompass, we strive to provide the best possible care for all stages of the aging process. Our comprehensive assessments and living strategies for seniors allow families to make informed decisions about the appropriate next steps–making a significant impact in their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

photo credit: flatworldsedge via photopin cc

“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”