How Can a Home Health Aide Help a Patient on Hospice?

Many terminally ill patients prefer not to move to a nursing home. In this case it helps knowing how can a home health aide help a patient on hospice. Instead, they want to spend their final months or weeks at their own homes. Setting up a home hospice can be tough for families because the patient might have an advanced illness and require extensive care. Home health agencies like Parent Care can help by providing care at the patient’s home in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, or Queens.

What Tasks Are Considered Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on helping patients remain self-sufficient while they deal with a terminal illness. Instead of attempting to cure the person’s condition, the symptoms are relieved. The patient is made comfortable so that they can enjoy time with their families.

When you reach out to us at Parent Care, we start by making a plan of care. This might include home health care services but also care coordination. We can help you to access government programs and an interdisciplinary team of palliative specialists so your family member’s unique needs are met. Then, we connect you with a suitable hospice aide.

Making a Plan of Care

The first step is collaborating with our care coordinators to come up with a plan of care. During the initial consultation, we discuss your family member’s medical history, their needs, and their current situation. Then, we come up with a list of services they might need.

In addition to daily visits from a certified home health aide, the hospice patient might need psychosocial support, spiritual counseling, and therapy. We collaborate with palliative care companies to offer you comprehensive service. The quality of care is higher than in nursing homes because patients and their families receive more individualized attention.

Personal Care Services

Once we understand what kind of support the patient needs, we match them with suitable home health aides. Typically, palliative patients receive one to two visits per day. In the morning, the aide helps the hospice patient with their personal hygiene. The aide might assist them with washing, showering, using the restroom, and grooming. Evening home care services include helping the patient to undress and settling them in bed.

Unlike a nurse or a doctor, a hospice aide can’t administer medical care. However, they can help patients to take their medication on time. Sometimes, they can also perform basic wound care to relieve symptoms and increase the person’s quality of life.

Emotional Support

Running a home hospice is hard for patients and their families. That’s why we only send our most sympathetic and sensitive aides to palliative patients. Compassionate care involves speaking and listening to the patient and communicating with their families. Because we pay our aides a competitive salary, they have the time and energy to offer emotional as well as physical support.

Light Housekeeping

Home health aides provide individualized, hands-on care. If the patient is struggling with Activities of Daily Living like preparing simple meals and keeping their home tidy, the aide can help. They perform light housekeeping duties like tidying and making tea or coffee.

Companion Care

Some hospice aides and volunteers offer companion care, a service designed to alleviate loneliness. As the name suggests, the companion keeps hospice patients company when their families are unable to do so.

These compassionate care visits can be tailored to the person’s needs. They can involve chatting, reading a book, playing games, light housekeeping, or even visits to the supermarket. The hospice aide sometimes accompanies patients to their appointments or helps them to get around their local area.

What Other Services Do Hospice Patients and their Families Need from a Palliative Care Organization?

A home hospice can be just as safe and effective as inpatient care, but you have to make use of all the services available to you. Aside from your aide, you might need a social worker, chaplain, therapist, hospice doctor, and counselor. Because we offer care coordination as well as home health services, we can help you to arrange various appointments in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the patient.

Medical Equipment

During your initial consultation, we’ll determine whether the patient needs any additional medical equipment. They might require a drip stand, an oxygen supply, or feeding equipment. These items are sometimes provided by a doctor or hospital. During the daily hospice care visit, the hospice aide keeps an eye on the equipment to make sure it is still in good condition.

The aide also monitors the patient’s condition and checks that their home is still suitable. If they believe that the patient is at risk of slipping or falling, they will let our administrative team know. We then reach out to you and recommend solutions like anti-slip mats, a chair in the shower, or handrails.

A Social Worker

Hospice care is extremely challenging for everyone involved. Patients and their families have to deal with difficult and often conflicting emotions. A hospice social worker provides age-appropriate education to the children and grandchildren of the patient. They help people to deal with their chronic condition and support family caregivers as they navigate their relative’s imminent end of life.

A hospice social worker might also run support groups that connect grieving people to others with similar experiences. During the regular meetings, members can discuss issues related to home hospice care, work through family tensions, and discuss the benefits of home health care versus using a long-term care facility.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is an integral part of respite care. It involves completing everyday tasks that help the patient with their emotional and physical health. An occupational therapist might encourage people with a terminal illness to perform certain activities related to their personal care.

They might also work with the patient to improve their fine or gross motor skills and maintain their mobility. Occupational activities don’t just help the hospice patient to retain their basic functions: they also engage the patients’ minds and work to maintain their mental health.

Physical Therapy

Many patients who receive hospice care are struggling with several ailments at once. A physical therapist can help them to relieve muscle tension and perform light exercises safely.

The movement professional might recommend certain stretches that relieve pain caused by symptoms and treatments. They can also teach patients breathing control and show them how to sit and stand correctly.

Bereavement Counseling

Families often struggle to deal with the emotional side of home hospice care because they have to come to terms with the fact that the patient will never get better. For this reason, a comprehensive hospice team often includes a bereavement counselor, who offers mental health services before and after the death.

What Is the Role of Family Caregivers?

Sometimes, family members feel guilty because they are delegating home health care to a hospice team instead of performing the duties themselves. However, it’s important to remember that certain tasks can be completed more easily by professional aides. Usually, it’s best if the hospice aide performs duties related to the patient’s physical health while the family caregivers take over the tasks related to their emotional well-being.

Our hospice services reduce the burden placed on you and allow you to spend quality time with the hospice patient. You don’t have to worry about routine tasks and can instead focus on enjoying the remaining time with the patient.

Who Is Eligible for Hospice Care?

Hospice care is suitable for people who have been diagnosed with a serious illness that cannot be cured. Typically, they have less than six months to live, and they are no longer able to take care of themselves. At Parent Care, we work with patients who qualify for New York Medicaid. The care provided is paid for by the federal government and the state, so patients don’t have to worry about money.

If your family member needs temporary care, give us a call. We can evaluate whether hospice services are right for your situation and put together a comprehensive hospice care team.

Hospice aide services are important for terminally ill patients who want to remain in their private homes. A certified home health aide can provide essential services like assistance with the Activities of Daily Living and companionship. Send us a message at Parent Care or call us at 718-486-7100 to find out more about our hospice program. We’ll be happy to help you come up with a plan of care for your terminally ill loved one.

Get Home Care!