Is In-Home Palliative Care The Right Choice?
All too often, the care elders receive in hospitals, nursing homes, or other facilities doesn’t align with their wishes. However, this unfortunate circumstance can be avoided by adequately planning for in-home palliative care.
For this reason, seniors should understand their options for end-of-life care and express their desires with caregivers ahead of time. For example, an elder wishing to pass in their home should talk to their caregiver, family, and physician about managing their pain and symptoms through in-home palliative care. This way, the elder receives their preferred treatment from the comfort of home.
When determining end-of-life care, caregivers should consider the elder’s:
- Wish to seek life-extending or remedial treatments
- Life expectancy
- Desired care environment
Palliative care at home can make all the difference involved in an elder’s end-of-life care. Learn more about this option, it’s benefits, and resources for elders and family members.
What Is In-Home Palliative Care?
In-home palliative care supports elders with life-threatening or chronic diseases. By contributing an extra level of comfort as they undergo curative treatments, palliative care can improve elders’ and families’ quality of life.
Generally, palliative care is given in combination with curative treatment. A specialized team of doctors, nurses, and specialists administer a tailored care plan. Sometimes this multidisciplinary team includes social workers and chaplains. Together, they work with the elder’s existing physicians, supporting the patient and their family on a physical, emotional, spiritual, and social level.
Palliative care is an aspect of hospice, a type of care that also delivers compassion-focused treatment to terminally ill patients. However, elders can receive palliative treatment independently from hospice care.
Common in-home palliative care services include:
- Pain management
- Medical assessments, which cover a range of symptoms such as anxiety, pain, and nausea
- Writing prescriptions to relieve symptoms and administering medications
- Further medical treatments such as wound dressings
- Physical therapy or other forms of rehabilitation
- Assistance with housework, meal preparation, pet care, bathing, dressing, errands, and other activities of daily living (ADLs)
As well as the physical side of treatment, palliative care also focuses on the emotional and spiritual aspects of care. Providers offer a chance for social interaction and companionship while elders continue living at home.
Moreover, palliative care providers can guide patients and families through the complex healthcare process, so they come to a complete understanding of the elder’s needs.
Eventually, the palliative care team will determine if treatment is still effective. If the patient’s condition has not improved or they could pass away in the next six months, the elder will move to hospice care. Otherwise, the care team will continue administering support with a greater focus on comfort care.
When seeking in-home palliative care for yourself or a loved one, contacting the health insurer is the surest way to determine your coverage options.
Who Should Receive Palliative Care?
Palliative care is a valuable service for those facing a serious or life-threatening illness such as:
Palliative care is most effective when administered as soon as they receive a diagnosis. Not only does it ensure a better quality of life, but it also empowers elders by educating them about their options for medical care.
What Are The Benefits Of In-Home Palliative Care?
A deep understanding of the human aspect of illness defines palliative care, as highlighted in a 2011 survey of palliative care patients. Researchers found that, overall, patients felt it addressed several critical needs, including:
- “being recognized as a person”
- “having a choice and being in control”
- “being connected to family and the world outside”
- “being spiritually connected”
- “physical comfort”
Additionally, in-home palliative care gives elders a chance to live their remaining days or months in the comfort and security of their homes.
Another key point is that this service puts elders in the company and care of a trustworthy, familiar administrator. As a result, elders and their families get significant peace of mind.
Receiving this service in the home, rather than a hospital or nursing facility, creates less turmoil for everyone involved. Additionally, it can give the elder’s loved ones better peace of mind.
A live-in caregiver specializing in palliative treatment provides 24/7 care based on the elder’s specific needs. This way, if the patient’s condition unexpectedly changes, the carer is there to give immediate support.
Alternatively, a carer can make regular home visits instead of living with the elder. Depending on the patient’s needs, a trained caregiver can visit during the day or night. Visitations can range from half an hour to overnight, and as infrequently as once a week to multiple times throughout the day.
Palliative Care Resources
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Center to Advance Palliative Care
Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care
Visiting Nurse Associations of America
Discussing end-of-life care with your loved one can be difficult. However, families should give elders a chance to express their wishes, especially regarding treatment and care.
If you need a respite break or your loved one requires specialized care, Meetcaregivers can help. Our trained caregivers can assist your loved one with a range of services and care, depending on their needs.
While your loved one keeps their independence, you get peace of mind.
Call 1-888-541-1136 or contact us online.
For more resources for caregivers and seniors, visit the Blog.
- “Home Palliative Care.” Crossroads Hospice Expect More from Us. We Do., https://tinyurl.com/y3a2nsmg.
- “Palliative Care At Home – What It Is & Costs: Helping Hands.” Helping Hands Home Care, https://tinyurl.com/y66o8v7m.
- “The Difference Between Home Care, Palliative and Hospice Care.” Pathways Home Health and Hospice, 31 Oct. 2017, https://tinyurl.com/y3gta446.
- “What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://tinyurl.com/y2zgufwn.
- “When Is Palliative Care Appropriate?” WebMD, WebMD, 16 Aug. 2019, https://tinyurl.com/mfo4cvo.