Is It Time For Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a specifically designed health care plan for people living with a grave illness. The primary goal of palliative care is to improve the patient's and the patient's family's quality of life. Palliative care workers and staff members do this by addressing the unique physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of each of their patients.

However, while palliative care comes with many benefits, it can be hard for some people to determine when is the best time to begin palliative care. Unlike hospice care, there is not time limit or requirement to become a palliative patient. Any person with a serious illness over the age of twenty-one who meets the home health homebound criteria is able to benefit for palliative care.

Wondering what the signs are that indicate it is time to consider this beneficial healthcare service? Keep reading to learn all the important signs that it is time to receive palliative care.

You're Noticing A Decrease In Your Quality Of Life

If you're noticing you no longer enjoy the life you are living, it could be time for a change. Not receiving the right amount of medical care can cause illness symptoms to increase to the point where you no longer enjoy even your favorite activities.

Luckily, palliative care can give you the resources you need to take control of your remaining time and live a high quality life.

Your Pain Keeps Increasing

If the symptoms of your illness continue to worsen, it could be time to seek palliative care. After all, palliative care can address and alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Bladder problems
  • Labored breathing
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Delirium

Thankfully, someone can start palliative care at any stage of their illness. In fact, you can start palliative care as soon as you receive a diagnosis. The sooner you start palliative care the better. After all, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and pain can all begin very early on in your diagnosis. The sooner you being your palliative care, the sooner you can alleviate the negative, painful symptoms of your illness.

Your Caregiver Is Feeling Overwhelmed

Many caregiver selfishly devote their time and energy to care for an ailing loved one. However, sometimes caregivers become so focused on taking care of their patients that they forget to take care of themselves.

In fact, caregivers are often reluctant to say anything negative about their experience due to fear that others will view them in a poor light or simply because they don't want to burden others with their troubles. However, if caregivers are not taking proper care of themselves they can end up damaging their own health in the long run.

Without proper support and assistance, caregivers can quickly experience caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of being where the caregiver is feels completely physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. It can also lead to caregivers feeling depressed with a general sense of hopelessness.

Fortunately, palliative care helps takes a huge amount of stress off of caregiver's shoulders. If your primary caregiver seems to be more irritable, gloomy, or overwhelmed, it could be time to consider additional support. Not only will this make things easier for your caregiver, it will also give you many benefits to enjoy as well.

You Want Additional Advice About Medical Procedures

Palliative nurses and team members can be your go-to team when it comes to choosing the medical procedures best suited for you. One of the goals of palliative care is open and honest communication to ensure every need of the patient is met. This includes letting your palliative care team know what type of treatment you wish to have or what type of health goals you currently have.

Palliative care team members can help you understand the risks of medical produces you are considering as well as the procedure's chances of success. Throughout the duration of your palliative care experience, your palliative nurses will be there to help you. This ensures that you and your loved ones are never left in the dark when it comes to your health status.

You Need Additional Therapy and Support

Palliative care does more than provide primary medical care. This is because the average palliative care team includes more than just doctors and physicians. Your palliative care treatment can also include massage therapists, speech therapists, and more. Remember, palliative care does not necessarily mean end-of-life care. Some patients end up leaving palliative care and continue to live for many wonderful years.

Palliative Care Providers In Monterey

You've decided palliative care is the best option for your situation. But, how do you become a palliative patient? If you live within Monterey County you can get exceptional palliative care from VNA & Hospice. Simply call 831-375-9882 to arrange for palliative care services. Their experienced team members are available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


When Is It Time For Hospice Care?

When caring for a loved one, it can be hard to determine when is the right time for hospice care. Sometimes family members delay getting help that would benefit a loved one out of fear that turning to hospice care means giving up. However, hospice care is just the opposite.

Hospice care focuses on giving hospice patients the best quality life possible by meeting each patient's physical, emotional, spiritual, and other specific needs. In fact, many caregivers quickly come to realize that hospice care is an amazingly beneficial healthcare service for both patients and their loved ones.

When it comes to deciding when to get hospice care, the best answer is "As soon as possible," since hospice care offers many advantages for both patients and caregivers. There are several signs that can indicate it is time to begin hospice care. Keep reading to learn how to tell when it is time for hospice care.

What Is The Patient's Life Expectancy?

A person, regardless of age, is eligible to receive hospice care after a physician certifies that the person's current life expectancy is six months or less. If the hospice patient lives longer than six month, he or she can still be eligible for hospice care as long as their physician continues to document their eligibility.

Furthermore, since hospice care professionals specialize in end-of-life care, it's a good idea to seek their help during the first stages of a terminal illness. This will allow hospice nurses and staff members to ease a patient's pain and improve their quality of life as possible, for as long as possible.

If a patient has a terminal illness but is not in the final six month stage, it is possible for the patient to benefit from palliative care. Later, the patient can switch to hospice care once he or she meets the general requirements.

Are You Noticing A Decreased Quality Of Life?

Hospice workers strive to ensure each patient receives the highest quality of life as possible. This means that hospice nurses will make sure their patients aren't suffering from any pain or distress. It also means making sure patients are able to spend time with their loved ones in a comfortable environment of their choice. The earlier a patient is able to get hospice care, the sooner the patient can get the medication, supplies, and support they need to maintain their comfort, dignity, and peace of mind.

Is There An Increase In Hospital Visits?

Frequent trips to the hospital are often a warning sign that it's time to consider hospice care. While it's normal for aging relatives to see the doctor more often, it's not a good sign for someone to spend more time at the hospital than they do at home.

As mentioned earlier, hospice care specializes in improving a patient's quality of life. This includes making sure patients are getting the care and support they need in a place where they are most comfortable. For many people, this means getting health care assistance in the privacy of their own home than in a sterilized hospital bed.

Patients who receive hospice care at home are able to focus on enjoying their remaining time with their loved ones instead of having to constantly travel back and forth between home and a hospital bed. Furthermore, patients and caregivers alike will not feel overwhelmed by hospital bills. Fortunately, most hospice care providers except many forms of insurance, including Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Are You Noticing Signs Of Caregiver Burnout?

Caring for a dying loved one is a difficult and emotional process. Caregivers can easily succumb to caregiver burnout. Especially if a caregiver is not able to get the support and assistance they need.

Caregiver burnout is a constant state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. Furthermore, caregivers can start to exhibit signs of anxiety and depression. It is not uncommon for burned out caregivers to lose their positive outlook on life and succumb to a more gloomy, downtrodden viewpoint.

Since caregivers are constantly caring for a loved one, they can find it difficult to pry themselves away long enough to attend to their own needs. This can cause damaging effects to a caregiver's health.

Common symptoms of caregiver burnout include:

  • Lost of interest in favorite activities
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Change in appetite
  • Unusual weight loss or gain
  • Weakened immune system
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Dependency on sleep medications
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hopeless and/or helpless
  • Emotional, mental, and/or physical exhaustion

Thankfully, hospice care can give caregivers the much needed rest they deserve. Hospice nurses and staff members can alleviate duties the caregiver would normally be in charge of. This gives them time to take care of their own unique needs.

How Do You Begin Hospice Care?

Are you noticing any of the signs mentioned above? It may be time to get hospice care for yourself or your loved one. Do you live in Monterey County or in Hollister. If so, you are elgiable to recieve hospice care from VNA & Hospice. Their team members are available 24/7 to ensure all citizens get the quality hospice care they deserve. Simply contact VNA & Hospice at 831-375-9882 to take the first step.


How To Survive Flu Season

Do you know the most effective ways to prevent this year's horrible flu? Keep yourself and your family safe from the dangers of the flu this winter by following our helpful guide. Keep reading to learn useful tips to help you survive the flu season.

Strengthen Your Immune System

One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the flu this winter is to make sure you have a strong and healthy immune system. After all, your immune system is one of your most powerful defenses when it comes to fighting off the flu virus. Keep your immune system strong by following these easy steps:

1.) Avoid Stress

Recently, studies have proven that stress can diminish your ability to stay healthy, especially during flu season. Anything you can do to get rid of stress would be helpful for your immune system. De-stressing can be something as simple as enjoying a hot cup of tea or taking a short mediation break after a busy work day. It can also mean watching your favorite movie or enjoying a nice dinner with friends. There are many different ways to relax. What's important is that you find a method that works best for you and that you practice that method every day to get rid of any stress that may creep up in your life.

2.) Make Sure You're Getting Enough Rest

It turns out our parents were right by giving us a bedtime when we were young. When a person consistently gets at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night, they are more likely to have a stronger immune system. This is because when you sleep your body has the opportunity to repair cells and maintain your immune system.

To ensure you sleep peacefully each night, consider doing the following each night:

  • Limit your amount of screen time before bed. This includes cellphone, computer, and television usage.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon. For the average person, it takes four to six hours to metabolize caffeine. If there is any remaining caffeine in your system when you try to go to sleep it can block a sleep-promoting chemical in your body from working. This can keep you tossing and turning all night.
  • Keep the thermostat between 62 and 70 degrees. Studies show people tend to stay asleep longer in rooms within this temperature range.
  • Eat sleep-promoting foods like cheese, nuts, and grains.
  • Block out any bothersome noise with noise cancelling devices or with a white noise machine.

3.) Exercise And Eat Healthy

While it's great to take your vitamins every day, it's important to remember that the best way to get the nutrients you body needs is by eating healthy food. Eating an ample amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as maintaining a balanced diet is a great way to give your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to be strong and healthy.

You can make your immune system even stronger by making sure you get at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity a day. This can be in the form of walking, cycling, swimming, or jogging. No matter what your age is, there is a friendly exercise activity available for you to try.

4.) Get Your Flu Shot

One of the best ways you can protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot each year. In fact, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states that this is the best way to avoid catching the flu each year.

Make sure you ask your local health care provider about the available flu vaccines in your area. If you live in California's Central Coast, VNA & Hospice provides the flu vaccine at their Walk-In Clinics.

The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine in mid-autumn, right before the flu season officially begins. However, you can get the flu vaccine at any point. Remember, when it comes to your health, it's better late than never.

Protect Yourself From Germs

You can increase your chances of avoiding the flu this year by protecting yourself from germs. Increase your chances of staying healthy by practicing these simple habits:

1.) Always Wash Your Hands

It's crucial that you wash your hands properly after using the restroom, before eating, or after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose. Proper hand washing means you need to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds. That's about the same amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" in your head twice. Remember, these twenty seconds can make all the difference when it comes to keeping germs out of your body.

2.) Keep Your Work Area Clean

Make sure you wipe down your work area every so often, especially if you work in an office setting. Desks, keyboards, and phones can quickly become a germ hot spot if they are not properly sanitized.

No one wants to catch the flu. By following the steps listed above, you can strengthen your immune system and fight off germs. This will help increase your chances of avoiding the flu this winter.


6 Things Every Woman Needs To Know About Heart Disease

Ladies, did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women? If you have high cholesterol or blood pressure that is above average, you can face a greater risk of developing heart disease. However, the hear's health is complicated and there are many other factors that can negatively impact your heart's health.

To ensure your heart stays as healthy as possible, VNA & Hospice has compiled a list of useful information that can help you avoid heart disease. Keep reading to learn six things every woman needs to know about heart disease.

1.) Every Woman Can Be At Risk

When it comes to heart disease, every woman can be at risk, even thin women. There's no denying that being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for heart disease. However, there are many women who are thin but still carry risk for heart disease. These thin women who are still at risk usually have high blood pressure or an elevated cholesterol.

This cause of this can vary. It could be from genetics. If high blood pressure runs in your family, you too are more susceptible to heart disease. Another reason is from having high amounts of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the body fat stored deep inside your abdomen, near your pancreas, intestines, and liver. This particular type of fat can be dangerous to women because it secretes an inflammatory substance, cytokines, which is toxic for your heart.

2.) Good Sleep Is Essential

Sleep deprivation does more than make you feel tired and cranky in the morning. It can also damage your heart's health. Sufficient lack of sleep can raise levels of cortisol and cytokines which in turn can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. All of this can lead to the development of heart disease.

Women who get five hours of sleep or fewer each night usually have 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than women who get at least seven hours of sleep each night. However, this doesn't mean you can sleep in until noon every day. Studies also show that too much sleep can also be bad for women's hearts. In fact, women who sleep for nine hours or more each night had 72 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than women who slept seven hours.

However, it's important to note that what matters more than how much you sleep is how well you sleep. Make sure you are doing everything in your power to get a good night's sleep each time you go to bed. You can achieve this by eating sleep-promoting foods and limiting screen time and caffeine intake before bedtime.

3.) The Fitter You Are, The Better

The fitter you are, the better chance you have of preventing heart disease. This is especially true for women in their forties. Women who are in great shape in their forties are 37 percent less likely to have a stroke after the age of sixty-five.

Fortunately, it's never too late to start exercising. Research has shown that inactive women who increase their physical activity after the age of forty-five can reduce their risk of heart failure by 22 percent. Grab your spouse or a group of friends and enjoy the outdoors together. Not only will you make great memories, you'll also be doing your heart a favor.

4.) Depression Can Be Harmful For Your Heart

A 2016 study presented at the North American Menopause Society's annual meeting revealed that women with depression face a greater risk of developing heart disease. This is especially true for middle-aged women. Elements of depression, like loneliness and isolation can increase stress hormones which in turn can raise blood pressure and increase inflammation.

Women who suffer from depression are also less likely to exercise, eat well, or take their medications. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression such as sadness, anxiety, or irritability that lasts for more than two weeks, ask your doctor to screen you for depression during your next physical.

5.) Your Health During Pregnancy Can Be Revealing

Make sure you are paying attention to your health during your pregnancy. If you notice a development of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia during the course of your pregnancy, you're at a greater risk of developing heart disease. This remains true even if the symptoms disappear after you give birth. It's important that you keep your primary healthcare physician in the loop. This will allow her to give you frequent cardiovascular health screenings to make sure everything is working properly.

6.) Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore

Did you know that almost 38,000 American women under the age of fifty have heart attacks each year? Unfortunately heart trouble symptoms are not always easy to isolate from other common ailments, such as panic attacks or indigestion. However, it's vital you watch out for any of these symptoms. When it doubt, call 911. It's always best to play it safe, especially when it comes to your health.

  • Tingling sensation down one or both arms or legs
  • Jaw pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Tightness, pressure, heaviness, or squeezing sensation in chest or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • Dizziness or lightheartedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is no small matter. However, by following learning more about the causes and prevention of heart disease, and by seeing your primary healthcare provider on a regular basis, you can enjoy a happy and healthy heart for many years.