Many people choose to face the stages for end of life by remaining at home. Accredited Home Care can help with keeping your loved one comfortable and dealing with issues like end of life nutrition.
Understanding End of Life Nutrition Choices & Needs
With the addition of Special Care Nursing Services to our company we have an increased ability to serve the community above & beyond the typical in home caregiving scenarios. This would include providing skilled nursing that may be needed for those in the process of end of life.
- Living Will – It is highly recommended that you create a Living Will. A Living Will is one way to help ensure that your wishes and desires are honored when faced with a terminal illness or injury.
- Advance Directives for Health Care – Similar to a Living Will this is a less complex form that serves a similar purpose. This free Advance Directives form can be downloaded & filled out without the need for a lawyer or even notary.
- Withholding Nutrition & Hydration – Many people fear choosing to withhold nutrition & hydration during their end of life process. However, the human body is designed to handle the end of life process by shutting itself down so it does not recognize or feel the effects of withholding nutrition & hydration.
Typically, the body goes into a deep sleep state or coma where it will not feel pain from withholding nutrition/hydration. This article from The Center of Bioethics & Human Dignity can help answer questions about the dilemma of whether or not to tube feed.
- Pain – Any pain associated with death is generally a symptom of health issues that may also be a part of the reason for their death. Medication to address pain is considered comfort care and does not prolong life.
How Home Care Can Help with End of Life Nutrition & Comfort
- Home Care vs. Hospice – Hospice care is a specialized training focused specifically on the end of life process. Home care can often provide the same basic needs for the client; which is typically comfort care. Frequently both types of care are used. Alternatively, home care can be chosen instead of hospice.
- Comfort Care – Home health care with skilled nursing can be a part of the end of life care. The nurse can dispense any medication that the doctor orders to combat pain. Personal hygiene can be maintained, for example, by providing sponge baths & basic hygiene.
- Accepting Artificial Nutrition & Hydration – If it is decided that artificial nutrition & hydration will be a part of end of life care you should be aware that this is considered life sustaining actions. A comatose person can be kept alive for months or even years with artificial nutrition & hydration. Our health care staff/nursing is able to help with tube feeding.
- Choosing Not to Accept Artificial Nutrition & Hydration – As mentioned above, our caregivers will provide hydration to the patient for as long as the patient can swallow on their own. After that they will most likely begin to come in and out of a coma like state. During this time their lips will be kept moist with a damp cloth or sponge. In addition to using water, we can often apply a balm on the lips to avoid cracking.
- Pressure Ulcers – It is important that the patient doesn’t sit or lie in one position in bed. Sitting without being moved & adjusted can cause bed sores or pressure ulcers. We will make sure that the patient is moved and position adjusted often to avoid any discomfort.
Making a Difference by Using Home Care for Assistance with End of Life Nutrition & Comfort
- The Importance of Touch – Equally important in end of life caregiving is remembering to keep the human touch as a part of caregiving. You always want your loved one to not only understand that you are there with them but feel as though you’re not afraid to touch them.
- The Ability to Remain at Home – Accredited Care understands how complicated and frightening facing the stages of the end of life can be for you. Likewise, we also understand the importance to be able to have dignity and the ability to remain in the comfort of your own home when possible.
- Guidance with Professional Knowledge – Both our caregiving and home health care divisions can be beneficial when you’re facing end of life decisions with a loved one. Having professional knowledge and guidance will allow you to focus on the final moments you have with your loved one while we “take care” of things.
Let us help you as you focus on being with your loved one at a time of need and focus. Home care can provide assistance with end of life nutrition and comfort care.
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