How To Prepare Your Loved One For Hospice Care

Unfortunately, a significant part of the human experience is the end of life. Such circumstances are often difficult to think about much less plan for. However, severe illness or incapacitation often forces stricken individuals or their loved ones to render such challenging decisions.

Fortunately, a service known as hospice might make these issues easier to cope with.

Hospice Care Overview

People possessing life-limiting illnesses might be suitable candidates for hospice care.

Eligibility

To receive hospice, patients must undergo a thorough medical evaluation and be approved for such care by a licensed physician. In most instances, recipients will have been formally diagnosed with an illness that is expected to be fatal within six months or less.

Care can be administered inside a medical facility. However, many of those who can choose to receive such services at home.

The Initial Planning Process

Should a patient be deemed eligible, a representative from a hospice-based organization will meet with the intended recipient and their close relations. During this meeting, the hospice official will likely:

  • Disclose the services their agency provides
  • Discuss insurance coverage options
  • Perform an independent assessment of the prospective patient's medical condition
  • Provide the necessary paperwork

In some cases, these processes will be completed over several meetings. Admission into a hospice program is official when the necessary documentation is filled out and endorsed.

After Admission

Once the patient is admitted, their individual needs are identified. From there, a more comprehensive care plan is established and might include pertinent information including:

  • How often the individual in question will receive visits from medical professionals like doctors and nurses
  • The specific medications the patient will require
  • The specific supplies they will need
  • The comforts they desire

Initial plans can change depending upon the recipient's needs.

Preparing A Loved One For Hospice

Preparing a family member or other close association for hospice can prove daunting. However, dividing said endeavor into certain steps might render the process more manageable.

Ready The Physical Environment

The first major undertaking loved ones must take is to prepare the physical environment. This means designating a relatively substantial and open area of the home capable of accommodating the egress of numerous persons and safely housing the patient's required medical equipment.

Once space has been defined, the patient's equipment must be situated in said environment. Specific devices will vary depending upon the individual, their condition, and said malady's severity. Common materials could include:

  • A hospital bed
  • A wheelchair
  • Electronic breathing apparatuses
  • Bedside commodes
  • A shower chair

In many cases, Medicare will cover the costs of these items.

When the patient's formal environment has been established, the focus should turn to creating creature comforts.

Specific efforts might include setting up curtains or other barriers designed to increase the patient's privacy, installing mini-refrigerators enabling easy access to food and beverages, providing headphones and remote controls geared towards easier management of televisions and other electronic devices, and the purchasing of comfortable and easily accessible furniture.

Safety Proofing The Area

Once the patient's accommodations have been established and set up, caregivers should then place emphasis on ensuring said location is safe for the patient and their loved ones. Safety-boosting measures could include:

  • Installing adequate lighting
  • Removing rugs
  • Ensuring the floor is never slippery
  • Tucking electrical cords away
  • Placing handles along the wall to enable the recipient easier, freer, and safer movements
  • Place anti-slip mats in baths or showers

Additionally, there should ne enough space separating equipment and all other objects. This enables free-flowing movement and reduces the chances of clutter development.

Attempt To Create A Sense Of Normalcy

Granted, the end of someone's life is a solemn occasion. However, the entire focus of a recipient's hospice experience should not be centered on waiting to die. Patients can and should be emboldened to enjoy these times as often as they can.

From a caretaker's perspective, this means encouraging their relation to engage in as normal a routine humanly possible. Those receiving care should engage in their favorite activities and meet with friends and other relatives when warranted.

Caregiver Responsibility

Caring for a hospice patient can be an overwhelming duty. Loved ones might be able to stay ahead of this remarkable challenge through actions like:

Formulating A Plan

Caregivers are called upon to wear numerous hats and handle countless serious responsibilities. Fortunately, authoring a written plan identifying specific tasks and suggestions regarding how to carry said actions out. Specific actions might include:

  • Keeping track of the patient's medical information
  • Scheduling visits from family and friends
  • Managing the recipient's medication dosage schedule

Several copes of these documents should be produced and stored for safekeeping.

Request Help When Needed

There is no shame is asking for help. Caring for an ailing loved one is a physically-demanding and emotionally-training experience. Caretakers will encounter times when they are too tired or drained to perform needed tasks. When such circumstances arise, they are encouraged to reach out to volunteer organizations for help.

Tend To Their Needs

Optimal caretakers are those who preserve their physical and mental well-being. Said individuals will be of no benefit to their loved ones if they do not engage in health-boosting actions like consuming a nutritious diet, obtaining adequate rest, exercising, monitoring their own medical issues, and finding a few spare moments for relaxing activities.

Reaching Out To Us

If you or a loved one resides in Northern California, have recently been diagnosed with a life-limiting malady, and believe hospice might prove beneficial, please contact Central Coast VNA & Hospice. We enjoy a successful track record of providing superior home health care in Monterey County and surrounding regions.


Home Health Care for Congestive Heart Failure Patients

Congestive heart failure (CHF) can take a toll on the physical and mental health of patients and their families. CHF can be frustrating, stressful, and disruptive to everyday living. Home health care, which includes palliative care, can help patients and their caregivers team up with their healthcare providers to manage the disease and improve life quality.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition in which the heart can’t properly pump blood throughout the body. CFH can happen in the left ventricle, the right ventricle, or on both sides. Although some CHF conditions are irreversible, treatment and lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms and help manage the disease.

Conditions leading to CHF include high blood pressure and narrowing of the arteries (coronary artery disease), both of which weaken the heart. Alcohol abuse, heart rhythm abnormalities, thyroid disorders, viral infections affecting cardiac muscle also are contributing factors.

Symptoms and Complications of CHF

CHF can be both sudden (acute) and ongoing (chronic). People who live with CHF feel uncomfortable and tired due to the persistent symptoms, one of which is being short of breath from exertion or lying down. The shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing come from fluid building up in the lungs and other body parts, causing pain and swelling (edema).

Other symptoms include fatigue, leg inflammation, irregular or rapid heartbeat, abdominal swelling, fluid retention, nausea, and lack of appetite. Another sign is chest pain in the event of a heart attack.

Life with CHF can seem erratic. One day a patient might feel good and go on with everyday activities. On other days, they might experience shortness of breath and fatigue, which can interfere with regular exercise and daily routines. Other debilitating effects include the increased need to urinate at night, difficulty concentrating, and fast weight gain from fluid retention.

The prognosis and outlook for CHF patients depend on their age, current health and medical history, and the severity of the disease. One or more complications might arise from CHF, including heart valve and heart rhythm problems, kidney damage or failure, liver damage, and death.

Proper treatment and care can help many CHF patients improve their condition, but CHF is still severe and life-threatening. Patients with more serious conditions might need heart transplantation or surgery to insert a ventricular assist device.

Palliative Care for CHF

Chronic conditions like advanced-stage CHF require palliative care, often called supportive care. Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving symptoms and stress to improve the patient’s quality of life, no matter the patient’s age.

Palliative care involves a team of trained doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, and other providers to work with patients and their families. The group supports the patient and other family members in organizing care, managing pain and other symptoms, navigating the healthcare system, reducing stress, and improving life quality. More specifically, the palliative team makes sure patients understand their care and are up to date on their treatment plans.

Palliative Care for CHF at Home

Some patients receive palliative care in skilled nursing units. Others choose to accept it at home, where they can learn to manage and cope with the condition daily. For example, a home care provider can teach patients how to stand, sit, or lie down to reduce fluid retention in the lungs. They also can guide patients on how to decrease stress when they feel short of breath.

In addition to symptom management, home health care can include assistance with setting personal goals to help patients live with CHF. This approach can also show patients and family members how they can work together to meet their needs while living with this chronic condition.

Patients should remember to take their prescribed medicines, stay physically active, reduce their salt intake, and monitor symptoms and any changes such as weight gain. Patients and family caregivers should remain in touch with their doctors and bring up any questions or concerns with medications and treatment.

Home Care for CHF in the Age of COVID-19

Anyone with a chronic condition like CHF should follow all COVID-19 guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing. Coronavirus spreads through person-to-person contact and respiratory droplets. Because CHF is a risk factor, contracting the virus could lead to more serious complications.

How to Get Palliative Care for CHF

Are you or a family member living with CHF? In that case, it’s essential that you learn about all the care and treatment options available to you. If you live in Central Coast, Hollister, or Monterey County, consider CCVNA as an option for CHF home health care. CCVNA has a cardiac care program that provides comprehensive home nursing care. Consider asking your doctor for a referral to CCVNA’s palliative care Monterey County to treat and manage CHF.


What Is Palliative Care and How Can I Know if It’s the Right Choice for a Loved One?

Palliative care can be a difficult topic for anyone involved with chronic or potentially terminal illness. People suffering from those conditions often feel like accepting palliative care is tantamount to giving up. Likewise, the person's family will often feel like they've let him down. This is one of the few downsides to the love family members have for each other. Feeling the need to take care of others often results in people shouldering more than they need to. In fact, most of these viewpoints come from a misunderstanding of what's involved with palliative care.

Asking About Palliative Care Suggests the Answer

How does one know if palliative treatment is the right choice for a loved one? The easy answer is that it usually is the right choice if the question has even come up. People seldom ask about palliative treatment when everything is going smoothly. Instead it usually comes up in one of two ways. A person with a serious condition might start to feel as if their condition is causing a negative impact to others. Or a family member taking care of them might start to wonder if they're up to the task. Both parties in this situation want the best for each other. And when the question comes up it's usually in the context of strain appearing in one or both people. It's important to stress that this kind of help is exactly what palliative treatment is all about. It should never be seen as giving up. Instead, the treatment is all about finding quality of life in the midst of difficult medical conditions.

Palliative Treatment Centers on Quality of Life

In reality palliative treatment is heavily focused on quality of life. People often talk about fighting various diseases or conditions. However, it's just the nature of life that people will eventually face a condition which can't be cured. But this by no means should be taken to mean it's the end of the fight for life. One can't always fight for duration of life. But there's always options to increase the quality of life one has remaining to them. And this is exactly what palliative treatment involves. Prior to palliative treatment one is focusing on trying to fight the battle for their health in two different fields. The patient is trying to beat a particular medical condition and retain quality of life. At a certain point it's evident that the condition is going to be a permanent concern. The fight should therefore move into focusing on quality of life.

Medical Care as a Continual Process Which Adapts to Changing Needs

Palliative treatment should therefore be seen as a continuation of the prior efforts. This is also where one sees a shift in how to approach overall care. It's natural to rely on doctors when treating an illness. However, the patient's family members often make the mistake of assuming that they need to take over when treatment shifts to quality of life issues. The problems with this approach should be apparent when one really looks into it. Medical issues should always be handled by professionals when possible. Even when it's possible for people to take on some of that responsibility there's a question of need. Whose needs are being taken care of if a family tries to provide quality of life care?

Family members usually aren't prepared to provide palliative treatment on their own. At the same time they often feel as if they should be able to do so. It can create guilt for both the patient and family members alike. However, the sentiment and need is fully undeserved. Someone should no more be expected to provide palliative treatment on their own than they should be expected to provide services comparable to a medical doctor. Medical resources exist for a good reason. Expert palliative treatment exists to improve the life of both the patient and his or her family. But what exactly is involved with palliative treatment? This can be best understood by considering a hypothetical example of someone located in Monterey County.

Focusing on Medical and Emotional Needs

Consider the example of a daughter hoping to find help for her mother. To begin, she'd want to concentrate on senior care Monterey County style. The emphasis on local care might seem surprising at first. However, senior care Hollister or Monterey County style brings important distinctions. It means that people are able to enjoy a climate and setting which fits in with their needs. Palliative treatment puts a heavy emphasis on comfort. Quality of life is often vastly improved when people find a local social and environmental climate which promotes relaxation.

Next, it's important to keep one point in mind above any other. Palliative treatment focuses on the needs of a patient rather than on the patient's prognosis. This might seem like a small distinction at first. However, one needs to really consider how most medical conditions are treated.

If someone has cancer than almost everything revolves around it. If a doctor asks how the patient feels it's not about whether they're having a pleasant day. The question is always about how a patient's life might provide clues about the cancer. Even loved ones will usually need to focus on the condition. It's not out of any callousness. It's simply that people need to understand the condition in order to understand what a person is capable of at any given time.

Talking over the medical condition helps people understand how to approach the individual at any given time. And this is just the approach which people outside the medical profession are forced into. It's usually their first time dealing with late stage cancer. And the same general philosophy applies to any severely restrictive medical condition. Doctors need to focus on treating the condition. And family members aren't familiar enough with medical treatment to adapt to intuitively adapt to it.

Palliative treatment instead focuses on the patients rather than the conditions they might suffer from. This usually comes as a huge relief to everyone involved. Family members no longer have to feel like they're essentially acting as a medical support team. They can instead be the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, or anything else for their loved ones. For many people palliative care is about resuming an actual life with their loved one.

Finding Relief in the Midst of an Often Difficult Struggle

The person entering into palliative treatment is often relieved as well. It's easy to misunderstand what people are interested in at the end of their journey. People with decade upon decade left to them often find it hard to see the world any differently. However, people closer to the end start to consider what the world will be in the future. And in particular they often find themselves worrying about their loved ones. The idea of the illness wracking their body causing pain to loved ones can become a serious issue. Basically, it's easy to find oneself worrying about causing worry in others.

The person's loved ones often feel the same way before palliative treatment is brought into the discussion. It's easy for a family to worry about causing their ailing loved one additional stress. However, people struggling to meet the needs of such a loved one are usually far less successful in hiding their own pain than one might imagine. The toll it takes on both parties can be significant. And in the end it often risks the last years of someone's life.

Palliative treatment is essentially a choice to never give up on life. It means that people accept the help of the experts in order to maximize quality of life in the midst of difficult medical concerns. And in the end it means that a family can celebrate their ailing loved ones life with them rather than stressing over how to provide proper care. The highest quality is there for the loved one because it's provided by experts. This doesn't just refer to experts in medical care either. These are experts who understand that finding joy in the midst of illness is both possible and a priority.


Quadrivalent High-Dose Flu Vaccine: A Flu Vaccine Formulated Specifically for Seniors

As the fall and winter months approach, flu season is also just around the corner. People who can get flu vaccines should do so to reduce their likelihood of getting the flu this year. People who are over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of suffering from serious illnesses when they contract the flu. Because of this risk, older adults should get a senior flu vaccine at a flu clinic in Monterey County or a flu clinic in Hollister that offers the quadrivalent high-dose flu vaccine. This vaccine has been specially formulated for seniors to give them additional protection against the flu.

What is a high dose flu vaccine?

A high-dose flu vaccine is a quadrivalent vaccine that contains deactivated influenza particles. It contains four ingredients and is approved to be used for people who are ages 65 or older. This vaccine is different from the regular quadrivalent flu vaccines that are given to people who are between the ages of two and 65. While both contain four ingredients, the high dose flu vaccine contains a greater amount of antigens than the standard quadrivalent flu vaccines. Antigens are proteins that help to prime your immune system so that your body will be better able to protect you from the flu virus. This helps to provide older adults with an improved immune response so that they will be better protected from the influenza virus.

Who can get the high-dose flu vaccine?

The senior flu vaccine is only licensed in the U.S. for people who are ages 65 and older. If you have a history of having severe allergic reactions to vaccines or certain vaccine ingredients, this vaccine is not recommended for you. You can review the vaccine's ingredients on the manufacturer's package inserts or ask about them when you go to a flu clinic in Hollister or a flu clinic in Monterey County.

Benefits of the high-dose quadrivalent vaccine vs. a standard flu vaccine

Researchers have compared standard trivalent flu vaccines with high-dose trivalent flu vaccines in people ages 65 and older. They found that older adults who received the high dose flu vaccine had stronger immune responses as compared to those who received the standard flu vaccine.

In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers found that a high-dose vaccine showed 24% greater effectiveness for preventing the flu in older adults than a standard flu vaccine. Other researchers have found that older adults who were given the high-dose vaccines had a lower rate of hospital admissions. This was especially true among older adults who lived in long-term care facilities. This study was conducted with more than 38,000 residents of long-term care facilities in 38 states in the 2013 to 2014 flu season. During the 2020 to 2021 flu season, the trivalent high-dose full vaccine has been replaced by the high-dose quadrivalent flu vaccine in anticipation of the strains of influenza that are likely to be prevalent this year.

How does the quadrivalent high-dose vaccine differ from an adjuvanted flu vaccine?

Researchers who studied the effectiveness of the senior flu vaccine versus standard adjuvanted flu vaccines for people ages 65 and older who were on Medicare found that the high-dose vaccines offered greater protection against hospitalizations caused by the flu than egg-based vaccines during the 2017 to 2018 and the 2018 to 2019 flu seasons. While people have several flu vaccines to choose from, everyone older than six months needs to receive a vaccination against the flu each year. Talk to your health care professional to learn which type of vaccine might be the best choice for you.

Safety of the quadrivalent high-dose flu vaccine

In clinical studies, people who received trivalent high-dose vaccines were likelier to experience certain side effects than those who received standard-dose flu vaccines. Some of the common types of side effects that people experienced include the following:

  • Mild pain
  • Redness around the injection site
  • Muscular aches
  • General feeling of malaise
  • Headaches

A majority of people who took the trivalent high-dose vaccine either suffered no side effects or experienced very minimal side effects. A study that compared the high-dose quadrivalent vaccine to the trivalent version found that people who received the quadrivalent high-dose vaccine were slightly likelier to experience side effects. However, most people who experienced side effects reported mild symptoms that resolved in a few days.

Why older adults need a flu vaccine that is designed for seniors

As people age, their immune systems gradually become weaker. This means that your immune response may not be as strong when you are older than age 65 than it was when you were younger. People who are ages 65 or older have the greatest risk of dying from the flu and have a reduced immune response to standard flu vaccines as compared to younger people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers have found that people who are 65 or older account for 50% to 70% of hospitalizations from the flu and for 70% to 85% of deaths associated with the flu every flu season.

After receiving flu vaccines, seniors demonstrate lowered immune response to the vaccines as compared to younger people. A lowered immune response might mean that a standard vaccine will be less effective for an older adult than it would be for someone younger. Because of the higher risk that people over the age of 65 have for suffering serious illnesses when they contract the flu and their lowered immune responses to standard flu vaccines, newer high-dose vaccines may be a good idea for older adults.

Where to get a high-dose flu vaccine

Seniors who are ages 65 or older can talk to their health care professionals about getting the high-dose quadrivalent flu vaccine. One option for seniors in Monterey County, the Central Coast, or Hollister is one of the flu clinics offered by CCVNA. No matter where you go, the most important thing to keep in mind is that getting a flu vaccine this year can help to reduce your risk of getting the flu and can help to make the illness milder if you do contract the flu this year.


what is home health care

What Does A Home Care Nurse Do?

Home health care offers supportive, loving services in a relaxed and familiar environment where you feel comfortable. It may let you stay in your home for longer before you decide to move to a nursing home. Your family wants to know that you have someone who looks after you, and your comfort gives them peace of mind. If you live in Monterey County or Hollister, CA, your local VNA & Hospice can provide the care that you need.

Getting Nursing Care

A home health care nurse can come to your home to give you hospital-level care. Some RNs prefer to provide top-notch home medical care to people like you. A home health care RN can take your vital signs, clean your wounds, draw blood, give you medication, and help you get around. You can count on your nurse to provide reliable and trustworthy care to satisfy your comfort and medical needs.

  • Your nurse can perform skilled services that include changing your dressings, managing your medications, and giving you an IV.
  • As an efficient organizer, your nurse coordinates the care that you may need from various health care providers.
  • A central source of knowledge about your medical condition, the nurse evaluates your health status and communicates it to doctors.
  • You can learn from your nurse how to understand newly diagnosed conditions such as heart issues or diabetes.

Benefiting from Physical Therapy

A home care physical therapist (PT) can improve your quality of life through motion and activity. The aging process can weaken your muscles and cause balance issues that lead to falls. With guidance from a PT, you may find that you can have less dependence on opioids. You can learn a lot about your body and how to use it efficiently. An alternative to an outpatient facility after surgery, in-home physical therapy may suit you perfectly. You can rely on a skilled professional therapist to provide the treatments that you need.

  • A physical therapist can assess your risk of falling and design a home exercise plan to help reduce it.
  • Recommendations from a PT may include assistive devices or medical equipment.
  • Working with a trained PT can improve your strength, balance, and mobility.
  • As your health improves through exercise, you may feel safer and more independent.

Letting an Occupational Therapist Help You

A trained professional in occupational therapy can visit your home to find ways to help you lead an active and independent life. By observing your activities during a day, an OT can assess your physical condition and suggest ways to make your life more pleasant. Some things that an OT can do for you include helping you get dressed or move safely around your house. You may enjoy some assistance in preparing or eating a meal. You can count on an OT to design some helpful ways to make your life easier and more enjoyable.

  • An initial evaluation of your home environment can help an OT determine how it affects your activities and safety.
  • You can receive recommendations for solutions and techniques that increase your independence.
  • An OC may identify new ways for you to perform the routine activities of daily living.
  • Some suggestions for a home exercise plan can help improve your overall safety through exercises that increase muscle strength and balance.

Improving Speech with Therapy

Communication lets you interact with everyone around you, and a speech therapist can help you cope with events that may affect it. Communication enables you to describe what you need or tell someone about a pain that bothers you. The natural aging process can make your vocal cords feel weak and unable to produce sounds the way you want. Some health events can affect your mouth and throat, limiting the way you talk, eat and swallow. A speech therapist can help you learn to speak again with vocal exercises that improve communication.

  • An evaluation by a trained therapist can identify any speech limitations or disorders that you may have.
  • Speech therapy can maximize functional independence in communication and swallowing.
  • Your risk of aspiration and choking may diminish with treatment from a speech therapist.
  • The benefits of speech therapy that can improve communication include helping you think more clearly and remember things more effectively.

Understanding Medical Social Worker Duties in Homes for the Elderly

Your family can gain peace of mind if you need to move to a facility that offers specialized services. Medical social workers can assist you through physical and emotional support. You can get the help there that you need, and your family wants to know that you feel safe and comfortable there. A social worker can help you adjust to your new living arrangement and give you the supportive counseling that eases your mind. As an advocate for your needs and rights, a social worker can represent your concerns in an effective way and perform essential services that matter to you.

  • Social workers help you achieve a sense of well-being and advocate on your behalf.
  • Your family can rely on a social worker to provide links to community resources.

Letting a Home Health Aide Help You

Personal care can sometimes present difficulties when you have trouble moving around or taking care of hygiene. A home health aide knows how to help you bathe, brush your teeth, use the toilet and get dressed or undressed. You can count on a friendly and knowledgeable helper when you need some assistance.

  • Your aide can help you move from one chair to another.
  • You can receive personal care that keeps you clean and comfortable.
  • An aide can take your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature on doctor’s orders.

Home health care lets you continue to live the way that you want to, and you can stay in touch with friends who may stop by to visit. As a resident of Monterey County or Hollister, CA, you have access to the local VNA & Hospice for the care that you need.


How to approach mom or dad about hospice care

How To Approach Mom or Dad About Hospice Care

Caring for an elderly parent is always difficult, and this task becomes even more of a struggle when they are dealing with an incurable illness.

Caring for an elderly parent is always difficult, and this task becomes even more of a struggle when they are dealing with an incurable illness. If there is not any sort of cure for the health problem that your parent is facing, they will eventually need hospice care to help ease them through this period of their life. Though it may be a difficult conversation, there will come a time when you need to speak to your mom or dad about hospice care. Many seniors do not want to face the knowledge that their health is failing, but it is important to help your parents make these decisions. Here is what you can do to make the hospice discussion easier for everyone in your family.

Make a Plan Before Having the Talk

Discussing hospice care is a very delicate subject, so it is unwise to spontaneously bring it up. Before speaking to the ill parent, make sure you discuss it with any siblings, your parent’s spouse, and other involved relatives. Look for hospice options in your area so that you can be well informed before beginning the conversation. If you can, try to casually mention the idea a few times before seriously discussing it, so that your parent does not feel like like the idea of hospice is coming out of nowhere.

Wait for the Right Time to Bring It Up

It probably is not best to discuss hospice when your parent is going through a particularly rough moment. Instead, try to choose an opportunity when everyone is calm, conscious, and relaxed. Try to keep the conversation reasonable and cheerful instead of resorting to overly emotional theatrics. A supportive and peaceful environment can help everyone to have this difficult discussion.

Stay Reassuring

No one wants to face their own mortality, and many parents in this situation get frustrated because they feel like their child is giving up on them. During the conversation, keep trying to emphasize the love and support that you want to give to your parent. Explain that the care provided by hospice will help you to focus on spending quality time with your parents instead of dealing with medical issues.

Listen to Their Concerns

Your parent may not be immediately receptive to the idea, so be prepared for some resistance. Instead of trying to argue or convince them to agree with you, stay calm and supportive. Just listen to them and reassure them that you are trying to understand what they are going through. Even though they may be ill, most seniors still desire to feel respected and listened to by their children.

Set Up an Appointment With a Nurse

After you first bring up the idea of hospice, it can be helpful to talk to a qualified medical care professional. They can answer any questions your parent has about hospice and explain more about how it works. Hospice care nurses are trained to deal with delicate subjects, so they may be even better than you at explaining the benefits of hospice.

Give Them TIme

Most seniors will not immediately hire a hospice care nurse after you suggest they start looking into hospice. Give them time to get used to the idea, and emphasize your continued support regardless of what they decide. Hospice is an important decision, so you should not try to pressure your mom or dad. Once they have a little space and time to think about it, they will probably realize that it is the best option.


VNA & Hospice is dedicated to providing the highest quality healthcare to residents of the Central Coast and Monterey County. Registered nurses and skilled staff members provide many services, including senior home care, hospice health care, palliative care, orthopedic rehabilitation, and more.


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.


5 Essential Benefits of Hiring an Outside Agency

When you're seeking care for elderly loved ones, you have several different options to explore. One of those possibilities is to work with an outside home health care agency. Considering the benefits of doing so can help you to understand why looking more into this option is a useful step.

Services Tailored to Your Family's Needs

A home health agency can help your loved ones to receive the services that they need. Individuals who enroll in a home health care program are quite diverse as are their needs. Therefore, a representative can sit down with you and your family to determine what services are the most appropriate for your loved one. Also, these services can be set up on a schedule that makes sense.

In other words, your loved one might require care around the clock.  Your relative might need supervision for a few hours per day while the rest of the family is out. Furthermore, you might be attending work, school, grocery shopping and other tasks. Another benefit here is that home health care agencies might offer services that you didn't even know existed. By speaking with a representative, you can learn about a host of possibilities that can significantly better the life of your loved one.

Medical Services

When enrolling in a program with a home health care agency, some individuals need monitoring. For example, they may have conditions that render them a hazard to themselves. As a result, they are in need of supervision during the day or night. Other individuals are in need of a companion or a person who can help to take them out during the day. Still, other cases require medical services. A home health care agency should have a staff of individuals who are trained in providing medical care. This care could be for a certain condition, or the staff members could help to provide at-home treatment for the clients.

At the current time, your loved ones might not have medical needs that elicit outside assistance. However, you should take into account the fact that situations can change. Selecting a home health care agency means that you are preparing for the future. In the event that your loved one does end up needing medical care in the future, you don't have to switch providers. Instead, you can simply add on services from a provider that they are already familiar with, which can bring a sense of comfort.

Varied Payment Plans

As you are researching options to provide care for your loved ones, you are likely focused on obtaining the highest quality of assistance possible. However, it is difficult to quell the sounds of financial concerns ringing through your mind. Financial worries should not stifle you from receiving high-quality care for your relatives.  Home health care providers can help calm some of these fears. Many home health care providers have a variety of payment option that they accept.

For example, you may very well not have the cash to pay for all of the services out-of-pocket. Even if your relatives have been saving for all of their lives, they might not be able to afford the sums either. Therefore, you can speak with the home health care provider about options for going through insurance. In the event that you discover that your relative's insurance is not going to cover the entire amount of the treatment, you should speak further with a representative from the home health care agency. You may discover that payment plans are available so that you can pay off the services on a monthly basis. Doing so can be far less overwhelming than dealing with one huge bill.

Engaging Treatment

As you are researching different options for treatment, you might become worried about the mental and emotional health of your loved ones. In other words, you may have concerns that bringing in a home health care agency could make them feel as though they are incapable of taking care of themselves. This environment is not one that a professional team of providers wants to create, so you can have a sense of confidence that you and the staff members are on the same page.

Also, you can speak about your concerns with the representative. You may discover that many of the clients like spending time with their home health care aides or nurses because they provide a level of companionship. After losing a spouse or when living with family members who have work and school, many elderly individuals become lonely. The home health care provider can make these individuals feel happy and comfortable in their own homes again. They might go for outings, or they may sit inside and play puzzles or games when the weather is chilly.

Professional Reputation

You might feel overwhelmed by the options when you are trying to find home health care providers. In fact, you might have met with some in the past and did not feel comfortable with what they were offering. Fortunately, professional outside agencies are available. Consider the benefits of working with an agency that decades of experience in the field. By doing so, you are getting the chance to hire professionals who know about a host of different scenarios and who are also up-to-date on the latest methods and technologies.

As you are checking out and researching the different possibilities, make sure to look into the reputation of the facility. You may want to speak with your relatives' doctors for recommendations and ask relatives and friends what facilities they have used. When you are reading reviews online, just do so with a cautious eye. Sometimes, people are paid to write fake reviews, so you do not want to fall prey to them. Knowing that professional entities are available can help to encourage you to pursue this route.

When you need to hire assistance for your loved ones, you might feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. What's good to know is that reputable home health care agencies with the right services are available for you.

VNA & Hospice has been delivering Home Healthcare services for people living throughout Monterey and San Benito Counties as well as the southern portions of both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.


What Is Hospice?

When you or someone close to you suffers from an illness or condition that does not come with any type of cure, you may want to consider a type of care known as hospice care. If you are not familiar with hospice, this is a type of care aimed at assisting individuals who are estimated by their doctor to have six months or less to live. You might be considering obtaining hospice care for a loved one or someone close to you.  It's important that you're aware of what this care entails and the types of services provided with it. Additionally, this may include home health care.

What Is Hospice?

Hospice is a type of care that is provided to people who only have a short amount of time to live. The goal of hospice is to make sure that these individuals receive proper care and are as comfortable as possible in the time that they have left.  Patients receive individualized care.  These care plans can address a wide range of issues that include physical, spiritual, and emotional pain.

Provided assistance is available whenever necessary to the family caregivers of the patient in question. Hospice refers to this as bereavement support.  In the event the patient has passed away, availability remains offerable. Most hospices believe that the overall quality of life provided for a person is as important as their length of life.

Types of Services Offered With Hospice Care

Most reputable hospices follow guidelines set forth by Medicare on how to take care of an individual and manage their illness. The myriad of services provided through hospice care include:

  • Physical therapy as well as occupational therapy
  • Short-term care in a home or inpatient setting
  • Short-term care offering a respite to family caregivers having emotional difficulties brought about during care
  • Counseling for the patient as well as their loved ones
  • Counseling on how to maintain a healthy and effective diet
  • The provision of medications for the relief or management of symptoms caused by the terminal illness
  • The administration of a wide range of medical equipment that includes bandages, walkers, and wheelchairs

There are also some hospice services available for you to select but aren't covered by Medicare. Something that you should be aware of.  Generally, Medicare doesn't cover treatments that can cure your illness or are completely unrelated to that specific terminal illness. Administered care in an emergency room or nursing home is also not covered.

Eligibility For Hospice Care

When attempting to determine whether or not you or someone you know is eligible for hospice care, there are a variety of factors to take into account. In order for you to fully qualify for the services provided through hospice, a standard physician, as well as a hospice physician, will need to certify that you meet the necessary criteria for obtaining these services. The primary criteria require patients requesting hospice care to have a life expectancy that is set at six months or less. In the event that the condition or disease progresses as it's been diagnosed.

In some cases, an individual may live past the original six months. If this occurs, hospice generally extends its coverage. Specifically, if their condition causes the decline in their overall health. If their health improves, and it appears as though the original life expectancy is substantially longer than believed, it's possible for the patient being discharged from hospice. Hospice care remains available in the event of being discharged from hospice but your condition eventually declines again.

Hospice Solely for Cancer Patients?

Many people believe that hospice specifically accepts individuals diagnosed with cancer.   This is not always the case. There is a range of additional diseases and conditions that hospice patients may have.  This may range from dementia and lung disease to heart disease. Anyone diagnosed with an illness or disease that is life-limiting will likely be eligible for this care.

Is Hospice Provided At Home?

When you are thinking of obtaining hospice care, you may be wondering where provided care occurs. In the majority of situations, it's possible to receive this type of care from the comforts of your own home. The hospice team will be able to assist with a wide range of everyday tasks. This also includes household chores that you may be unable to complete yourself. If you or the individual close to you suffers from a substantial amount of pain, the control and management of this pain can be a priority for the hospice team.

Most individuals want to remain at home in their final days.  This is why most hospice services tailor to this expectancy. The hospice team in charge of your care can consist of additional professionals. This may include massage therapists and dietitians, which allows you to obtain the level of care that you deserve. Many of these individuals will also be able to provide you with friendship and companionship. All of which is especially important for people who live alone.

VNA & Hospice has been delivering Home Healthcare services for people living throughout Monterey and San Benito Counties as well as the southern portions of both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.


5 Important Tips to Help You Select Home Health Care in Monterey

When you were young, your parents cared for you, and the time has now come to care for them. The decision to procure home health care is not always the easiest one.  It can indicate to you that your parents are aging. Also, your parents themselves may initially resist this care. Therefore, having all of the tips that you can to make the selection process run smoothly benefits you all.

Choose a Knowledgeable Provider

While it may seem obvious that you select a provider that is knowledgeable in the industry, more important is that you know how to gauge this criterion. When choosing home health care, take a good look at the entity's website. A strong provider is likely going to post resources on its website so that you can read about topics related to home health care.
As you're having discussions with representatives from the agency, note how quickly and efficiently they answer questions. Representatives who have to constantly look up the answer to your inquiries should cause some level of skepticism. You can also gain a sense of how proficient the agency is by reading reviews from families who have used or who are currently using the services. Do exercise caution with online reviews as they could be fraudulent. Instead, find out if the agency has actual references available, or speak with your relatives to see what providers they used.

Look for Different Levels of Assistance

As you're researching providers in home health care, look into the levels of care that are offered. In other words, not all home health care is the same. For some situations, you might need a nurse to live with your ill relative. In other situations, you may need an aide to come to the house for a period of time each day while you are at work. You want to make sure that the facility offers the kind of care that your family needs.
It's also important to choose a facility that offers multiple types of care because your family's needs can change. For example, if your loved one has a degenerative illness, you may need more care and coverage as the ailment progresses. Keeping your relative within the same care system can help to offer a level of comfort during a difficult time.

Select a Program with Medical Care

You may think that your elderly relative needs only a companion right now. Of course, having a companion is extremely powerful, especially for people who are feeling lonely or abandoned. You might consider selecting a program where an aide comes to the home to spend time with your loved one. Regardless of what your relative's current needs are, you must prepare for the future too. In other words, you should select an agency that hires individuals who are trained in medical fields.
Your loved one may have suffered from a medical event or needs someone to administer medications on a regular basis.  You would want to have professionals who are trained in these areas there to handle the situation. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you work with a home health care facility that offers medical assistance. When you are speaking with representatives, you will likely need to discuss your relative's specific medical needs.

Review the Experience

Using the latest methods and having current knowledge in the field are both quite important attributes of a suitable home health care provider. However, you also want to ensure that the entity has a strong reputation in the community over a long stretch of time. While you might be able to gauge the short-term success of a new agency, you do not know what the long-term effects are. When you hire an agency that has decades of experience, you can better see the products of the services.
Also, when elderly individuals are aging and are ill, unpredictable situations can arise. At the least, these situations can seem unpredictable to you. Hiring a company with experience in the field means that the staff members are likely trained to handle an array of scenarios. Instead of constantly having to worry about whether or not the nurse or aide will know what to do if a serious situation arises, you can have a strong sense of confidence that the situation will be handled in a smart manner.

Involve Your Relative

Once you've started to go through all of the options for home health care, you can become quite caught up in the process. In fact, you may forget that you need to select an option that makes sense for your relative. Of course, you are probably cognizant of the individual's physical and medical needs, but you must remember that this individual is a person. Simply being told that home health care will start soon is likely a frightening experience for many individuals. They may feel as though you are taking over their lives.
Work to involve your loved one in the process as much as possible. For example, you can browse brochures and websites of different facilities together. Also, you can talk about what makes sense in terms of services for your loved one. When you speak with representatives, let your relative be present and ask questions. Feeling alienated from the process can have serious consequences.  Your loved one might resist the home health care services even more than you originally thought. Ask your relative for opinions on the situation. This person needs to feel comfortable with the home health care situation too.

As you enter onto this sometimes difficult journey, you might feel overwhelmed. You are trying to choose the best care for your relatives, and you want to keep them happy as well. While you should speak with your loved one's doctor about specific medical needs, you do have some criteria to start with. These criteria can help you to narrow down the many options that are available for home health care.

VNA & Hospice has been delivering Home Healthcare services for people living throughout Monterey and San Benito Counties as well as the southern portions of both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties.