Caregiving often creeps up on an individual. You may start by dropping by a parents house and helping with grocery shopping, maybe even taking them to a doctor's appointment. At some point you realize that you have made a commitment to take care of someone else other than yourself.
Caregivers can be spouses, partners, adult children, parents, other relatives or even friends and neighbors. Whatever the relationship with the person you are caring for, it is important to add the title of caregiver to the list of things that you are. If you do not identify yourself as a caregiver, it will be difficult to search for resources that can help you throughout this new role.
At many times a caregiver is playing other roles as well. You may be employed full or part-time. You may also be married and caring for your children, volunteering or have other family commitments that you cannot let slip behind. Adding caregiver to the list of roles you play can often times be frustrating and exhausting. It is important to remember while you may be a caregiver, you must also continue to take care of yourself. Some things to remember are:
Above all, remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of someone else.
If a person is in a situation that has them asking “when is hospice called?” the answer is likely now.
Studies continue to show that many terminally ill patients are not referred to hospice until the final week of life. This delay means that both patients and caregivers struggle to control symptoms and pain on their own. Meanwhile, help is just a phone call away.
Rockbridge Area Hospice offers many services and programs aimed at helping patients and families make the best choice when faced with a life limiting illness. Our effort is to provide calm in the midst of chaos. Our Connections program is available to all residents of Rockbridge County and surrounding communities when traditional hospice is not quite the answer. To learn more about this bridge program and how it can help your family, click here.
Now is the best time to learn more about hospice and ask questions about what to expect. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern.
Rockbridge Area Hospice will answer your questions and help you find the right care. Our staff and volunteers have the training and expertise to guide you through the entire information-gathering process, we will discuss all your care options and help you determine the right care for you and your family. When you call Rockbridge Area Hospice, you will be encouraged to ask the questions you may have been afraid to ask.
The following are some questions you may want to ask your physician:
Turning to Rockbridge Area Hospice is not about giving up, it’s about getting help. The most life-affirming thing you can do is seek assistance and comfort for yourself or someone else. Most of our patients and families say that they wish they had called us sooner—that Rockbridge Area Hospice honored patients’ dignity and enhanced their quality of life.
Why is National Healthcare Decisions Day happening?
NHDD exists to “to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.”
Why is NHDD targeted at the public and providers?
All adults should discuss and document their healthcare wishes in the event of a crisis. Accidents and acute illness can happen to anyone at any time, but far too few adults have done anything to plan ahead.
It is well known that providers can do a better job of raising the topic of advance care planning and incorporating patient’s wishes into their delivery of care.
NHDD offers a chance to address both these populations at the same time.
Why is NHDD on April 16?
It was inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s quip that “nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.”
Is NHDD only about end-of-life decisions?
No. NHDD encourages all adults to discuss and document their wishes for any event in which they cannot speak for themselves.
How many Americans have engaged in advance are planning?
Various studies suggest that only about a quarter of all adults have engaged in advance care planning.
Is it difficult to engage in advance care planning?
No. There are all sorts of free tools that are available to start and structure the conversations, and free advance directive forms for every state and several particular interests are available to document the discussion. Rockbridge Area Hospice provides FIVE WISHES. For more information call 540.463.1848
The hardest part is often just raising the topic, which is how NHDD can help. It creates a reason to “have the talk” and provides the tools to do it.
Do I need a lawyer to create an advance directive (living will, health care power of attorney, etc)?
No. Free forms and information are available for every state at www.nhdd.org. Also, every hospital in the US is required to provide patients about advance directives, so you can always ask at your local hospital.
Are you doing this to encourage people not to seek aggressive care?
Absolutely not. We want to encourage people to discuss and document their wishes so that they get the right care for them. For some patients this may mean aggressive care and for others it means nothing more than managing pain.
How can people help?
First, lead by example. Do your own advance care planning. Then, let others know about it. For your loved ones, you want to be sure they know your wishes.