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Help Patients With Serious Illness

Your patients and serious illness

When your patient is facing a serious illness, we’re here to address caregiving needs and provide support for the many needs that may arise when facing illness.

Delaware Hospice improves your patient’s quality of life, helps prevent crisis situations, avoid unnecessary re-admissions and works with you to manage your patient’s symptoms. To find out more, contact the Delaware Hospice location nearest you.

Heart Disease

Caring for someone with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) can be very difficult. The day-in and day-out demands of caregiving can be stressful and very time consuming. In the advanced stages of CHF, when diet, lifestyle and medication must be monitored constantly, caregivers often find they MUST have support.

Delaware Hospice has developed a specialized cardiac care program, Helping Hearts, to assist cardiac patients with the prevention and management of symptoms related to cardiac illness. We understand that cardiac patients experience health problems that require specialized care. Our Helping Hearts program will assist the patient and the caregiver in preventing and managing the symptoms of heart disease at home.

12_12_04_DH_helping-hearts_logo-final-300x229Delaware Hospice understands that end-stage heart disease patients require specialized hospice care.

Delaware Hospice has developed Helping Hearts to assist cardiac patients with prevention and management of cardiac symptoms related to illness.

Our specialized teams of caregivers are uniquely trained in the management of end-stage cardiac disease.

 

In collaboration with the patient’s physician, our nurses and medical director will coordinate medication management to relieve shortness of breath, sleeplessness, anxiety, pain, and depression that commonly develop with heart disease.

Focusing on the full needs of the cardiac patient

Helping Hearts, a specialized hospice program designed by Delaware Hospice’s Medical Director, focuses on the full needs of the cardiac patient.

Some of the benefits our program offers to the patient include:

  • Symptom prevention as opposed to crisis management.
  • Prevention of hospital stays and ER visits.
  • At home support and monitoring by Nurse Practitioners and Registered Nurses specifically trained to manage symptoms commonly experienced by cardiac patients such as dyspnea, chest pain, and edema.
  • Individualized symptom prevention consultations in the patient’s home by a Nurse Practitioner and Nutritionist.
  • Patient and caregiver access to a Registered Nurse 24/7 for symptom management.
  • Full support of Delaware Hospice’s interdisciplinary team including our medical director, social workers, chaplains, nurses, C.N.A’s, and volunteers.
  • Treatment algorithms and education materials specifically designed for symptom prevention and management of end-stage cardiac disease.
  • Education about coping with stress, sleep disorders, fatigue, and other symptoms experienced by end-stage cardiac patients.

Helping Hearts serves as another unique program which supports Delaware Hospice’s mission of providing the highest quality hospice and health care services while serving as a trusted community partner in end-of-life education and support.

Helping Hearts will improve quality of life, prevent crisis situations, and manage symptoms.

For more information contact Katie Berna, Associate Director of Education, at 800-838-9800 or kberna@delawarehospice.org.

Lung Disease

People with advanced COPD frequently cope with challenging symptoms such as severe breathlessness, coughing, low tolerance for activity, and weight loss. They typically go through frequent ER visits and hospital admissions. The quality of life diminishes considerably due to these factors, and takes a serious toll on their caregivers as well.

Hospice, with its holistic, multidisciplinary tradition of care, can make a dramatic difference in the lives of COPD patients and their families.

  • Physical examinations at home, education, support, and counseling are provided by nurses, social workers, counselors, and chaplains.
  • A certified nursing assistant provides personal care needed.
  • On-call nurses are available 24 hours a day in the case of a medical crisis.
  • Volunteers may visit to give a break to the caregiver.
  • In-patient hospice units offer a higher level of specialized hospice care when necessary to control symptoms or respite care.

Thus, the quality of life for COPD patients and their families improves as their hospice care team, in cooperation with their physician, develops a care plan to meet that patient and family’s specific needs and share the burden of care.

Unfortunately, COPD patients tend to not be referred to hospice, primarily because COPD remains a particularly difficult condition for which to predict the life expectancy, as required for the hospice benefit. Some patients live with serious symptoms for years; others do not.

Several factors can be considered as a guideline for when to call Delaware Hospice if you, a patient, or a family member or friend suffer from COPD.  These include:

  • One or more hospitalizations for COPD in the past year.
  • Weight loss or decreased functional status.
  • Co-morbid conditions that might shorten life span.

Too often at Delaware Hospice, we hear family members state, “If only we had called Delaware Hospice sooner.” Don’t hesitate to call us to learn more about how hospice care can help if you or a loved one is struggling with COPD.

Cancer

Cancer comes in many forms, but as it spreads, weight loss and general weakness follow. As patients become less responsive to treatment, their care must shift to pain management and to addressing spiritual and psychological needs. Hospice may be appropriate when patients are experiencing: metastatic or locally advanced cancer progressing despite systemic treatment with or without weight loss or functional decline.

Kidney & Liver Disease

Kidney disease often require frequent re-hospitalizations due to the unstable nature of the disease. When patients begin to experience frequent hospitalizations, growing stress, weight loss along with chronic fluid build up, hospice can ease some of the burden of care. The impact of these various symptoms and conditions on suffering and quality of life are profound, and patients can benefit greatly from hospice and palliative care.

We manage pain issues, diabetes, or complications such as ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and hepatorenal syndrome or hepatopulmonary syndrome. We also provide nurses to address recurrent problems like fatigue or encephalopathy and its proper management with lactulose; dieticians to assess the frequent nutritional deficiencies and the adherence to low-salt diet.

Hospice may be appropriate when patients are experiencing:

  • Dyspnea with increasing respiratory rate
  • cough (intractable)
  • nausea/vomiting poorly responsive to treatment
  • diarrhea (intractable)
  • pain requiring increasing doses of major analgesics more than briefly

The impact on quality of life for those facing liver disease can be devastating. Liver disease often requires frequent re-hospitalizations due to the unstable nature of the disease. Dealing with the declining health of your loved one can be overwhelming. Delaware Hospice can help.

Your loved one can benefit greatly from the support and care we can provide. Our team is expertly trained in liver disease and can help improve the quality of life for your loved one.

Our hospice nurses and medical director will help address many of the issues associated with your loved one’s illness such as pain, shortness of breath, poor nutrition, and confusion. Our social worker can help reduce stress by helping both the patient and family deal with the emotional roller coaster associated with lost abilities, independence, and changing family roles. You’ll also have the hands on support for the daily tasks of caregiving as our highly trained hospice aides provide the daily care that allows the patient to maintain cleanliness and dignity. You’ll also have the support of our hospice volunteers who provide services ranging from companionship, emotional support and caregiver respite.

Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a very challenging journey. Often you will see the quality of your loved one’s life begin to diminish, this can take a serious toll on you, as their caregiver, as well. You are likely to feel overwhelmed at times, but the more information and support you gain, the more confidence you will have.

Since individuals with advanced dementia cannot report their symptoms, these symptoms often are untreated, leaving them vulnerable to pain, difficulty, breathing, and various other conditions. And their families often struggle alone in their attempts to care for their loved ones with advanced dementia.

Delaware Hospice can help.

With our holistic, multidisciplinary tradition of care, we can make a dramatic difference in the lives of dementia patients and their families. With our strong emphasis on safety, comfort, and support for the patient and you as their caregiver, you can begin to regain hope for your loved one’s quality of life and your own peace of mind.

  • Physical examinations at home, education, support and counseling are provided by our nurses, social workers, counselors, and chaplains.
  • A certified nursing assistant provides personal care needed.
  • On-call nurses are available 24 hours a day in the case of a medical crisis.
  • Volunteers may visit to give a break to the caregiver.
  • Our in-patient hospice house offers a higher level of specialized hospice care when necessary to control symptoms or respite care.

Thus, the quality of life for dementia patients and their families can improve as the Delaware Hospice care team, in cooperation with your loved one’s physician, develops a care plan to meet the patient and family’s specific needs and share the burden of care.