Tag: Caregiver Journaling

Articles about the importance of caregiver journaling to promote improved comfort and patient centered care.

Understanding Terminal Illness: How to Recognize the Signs Using Your Senses

Holding The Hands Of A Dying Person
Facing the reality of a loved one's terminal illness can be a challenging and emotional journey. As a hospice registered nurse case manager, I understand the importance of providing compassionate and clear information to empower patients, caregivers, and families. In this article, we'll explore how you, as a family member, can use your own observations and senses to recognize the signs that your loved one may be in the terminal stage of their illness. Remember, while medical professionals have their tools, your observations and intuition significantly matter.
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Managing Infections in the Geriatric Population

elderly patient blowing her nose with medications nearby
Infections remain a significant contributor to mortality among older adults, even with advancements in antibiotic treatments. Managing infections in this population poses unique challenges, necessitating early detection and treatment due to the increased risk of morbidity and mortality. In this article, we will delve into common infections in geriatric patients, encompassing early, middle, and late-stage symptoms, preventive measures, and prevalent treatment approaches, particularly for patients facing a terminal illness prognosis of six months or less.
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Understanding End-Stage Stroke: A Guide for Families

Palliative And End Of Life Care For Stroke Patients
Receiving news that a loved one has reached the end-stage of a stroke can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging. As an experienced hospice nurse with years of experience, I understand how crucial it is for families to have accurate information about what to expect during this journey. In this article, we will explore the changes that may occur in a loved one with end-stage stroke and how you can best care for them throughout this process.
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Significant Signs a Terminally Ill Patient may be Close to Dying

Signs of imminent death
There are typical visible/audible signs that a person may have less than two weeks to live. There are times when we are so close to someone, we may miss the forest for the trees. Please allow me to go over some significant signs that a person with a terminal illness may have two weeks or less to live. If there is sudden onset, within the past 24-hours, any of the following signs and symptoms, please do an evaluation for end-of-life determination as soon as possible (family members seeing these signs should reach out to their hospice provider's 24x7 number):
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Understanding Memory and Cognitive Testing for Dementia

Ten Signs A Person May Have Dementia
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a challenging journey, filled with complex emotions and difficult decisions. As families and caregivers, it's crucial to understand the nature of dementia and the various tools available to help assess and manage the condition. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the seven most common memory tests used to evaluate if a person has dementia. These include the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive (ADAS-Cog), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE), Neuropsychological evaluation, and Short Test of Mental Status. Each of these tests offers unique insights into the cognitive abilities of an individual and can be instrumental in the early detection and management of dementia. By understanding these tests, you can better navigate the path of dementia care and ensure your loved one receives the best possible support.
Read MoreUnderstanding Memory and Cognitive Testing for Dementia

Documenting Observational Signs of Discomfort: A Guide for Hospice Nurses and Families

Person Writing In A Journal
As a hospice nurse, I understand the importance of documenting observational signs of discomfort in terminally ill patients. Sometimes, patients may not fully express or report their discomfort accurately, making it essential for caregivers and healthcare professionals to be attentive and document these signs. In this article, I will provide guidance to hospice nurses and families on documenting such signs and the benefits of journaling for both parties involved.
Read MoreDocumenting Observational Signs of Discomfort: A Guide for Hospice Nurses and Families

How to Use the Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD) to Determine Discomfort in Your Loved One with Dementia

Paidad Scale To Assess For Pain Observationally
If you have a loved one with dementia, it can be difficult to know if they are in pain or discomfort. The Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD) is a tool that can help you determine if your loved one is uncomfortable. The Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD) is different from other pain assessment tools for people with dementia in several ways:
Read MoreHow to Use the Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD) to Determine Discomfort in Your Loved One with Dementia

Understanding Heart Failure Stages and Assessment

Heart failure is a complex medical condition that can impact the quality of life of patients, especially those in hospice care. As a hospice nurse, it's crucial to assess the stage of heart failure accurately to provide appropriate care. In this article, we will explore the New York Heart Failure Classification System, its stages, and how to assess patients for their stage. Additionally, we will emphasize the importance of documentation in compliance with Medicare guidelines for terminally ill patients with heart failure.
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Understanding Functional Decline in the Natural Dying Process

In this article, we delve into the critical topic of functional decline in individuals nearing the end of life. Understanding these changes is invaluable for hospice nurses, caregivers, and family members as they provide compassionate care during this delicate phase. We will explore various examples of functional decline and emphasize the importance of documenting these changes to aid in care provision and decision-making.
Read MoreUnderstanding Functional Decline in the Natural Dying Process

Importance of Medication Reconciliation in Hospice Care

Medication Related Errors Are The 3rd Leading Cause Of Death In The Usa
Medication reconciliation plays a pivotal role in hospice care, ensuring that terminally ill patients receive the most appropriate and safe medication regimens. This process involves creating and maintaining an accurate list of a patient's medications to prevent adverse drug events and enhance their overall well-being. In this article, we will delve into the importance of medication reconciliation, including its recommended frequency and the reconciliation process.
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Understanding the Decline of Terminally Ill Loved Ones: Medications vs. Disease Processes

Illness Trajectories And Palliative Care
When a loved one is terminally ill, it can be a perplexing and emotional journey. Understanding the root cause of their declining health becomes paramount. It's a complex puzzle where family members often grapple with questions: Are the symptoms a result of medications prescribed, or are they intrinsic to the terminal disease? This article delves into the critical distinctions between medication side effects and the natural progression of terminal illnesses, offering insights to empower families and caregivers in making informed decisions about their loved one's care.
Read MoreUnderstanding the Decline of Terminally Ill Loved Ones: Medications vs. Disease Processes

Early Detection of Serotonin Syndrome in Dementia Patients: Three Case Studies

diagnosing serotonin syndrome
Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an excess of serotonin in the body. Detecting this condition early is crucial, but it can be particularly challenging when dealing with dementia patients due to communication barriers and the complexity of their symptoms. In this article, we will present three case studies that highlight the early detection and successful management of serotonin syndrome in patients with different types of dementia: Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy Body Dementia.
Read MoreEarly Detection of Serotonin Syndrome in Dementia Patients: Three Case Studies

Understanding Serotonin Syndrome: A Comprehensive Guide

clinical presentation of serotonin syndrome
Hospice nurses assess the status of the patient's journey towards end-of-life every nursing visit. There are situations where a reversible condition arises that can drastically impact the patient, the hospice assessment, and if it is not caught, potentially mistreated leading to increased discomfort and a faster death often involving increased suffering. One of the common clues someone is getting closer to dying is increased agitation and restlessness. Are you aware of Serotonin Syndrome? A drug-induced condition whose early signs and symptoms can mimic that of someone getting closer to death? A situation that, unlike the natural dying process, is treatable and reversible?
Read MoreUnderstanding Serotonin Syndrome: A Comprehensive Guide

Trigger Words for Hospice Nurses: Assessing End-of-Life in Two Weeks or Less

Signs of imminent death
Hospice visits by a nurse should always include a discussion with the caregiver and family members or facility staff about any changes since the last nursing visit. This interviewing process is extremely important because vital signs do not always provide clear indications when a patient is two weeks or less away from death. If we hear or read certain words or phrases in the notes, we should be on high alert for the possibility that the patient is either transitioning towards actively dying or is otherwise close to transitioning.
Read MoreTrigger Words for Hospice Nurses: Assessing End-of-Life in Two Weeks or Less

Caring for a Loved One with a History of Diverticulitis

diverticulitis
Caring for a loved one with a history of diverticulitis requires a combination of preventive measures, early detection of warning signs, and understanding the common signs and symptoms of this condition. Your role as a caregiver is crucial in providing support and assistance to ensure their well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore essential aspects of caring for someone with diverticulitis, including prevention, early warning signs, and treatment options.
Read MoreCaring for a Loved One with a History of Diverticulitis

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