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Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or who you love, everyone deserves to feel safe receiving the care they need. For LGBTQ+ folks, hospice care can look different than it often does for cisgender, heterosexual people. As a healthcare care provider, we take the time to understand patients’ personal needs and guide them through their journey with patient-centered, inclusive practices.
A 2018 AARP study showed that 60% of LGBTQ+ people worry about a lack of sensitivity in their healthcare. Having multiple barriers to high-quality healthcare, such as poverty, racism, disability, and location, can also make it more challenging to find a provider who can meet their needs.
To practice equality in healthcare, everyone should receive care tailored to their needs and get information that will help them most according to those needs. Making hospice care more accessible to marginalized groups, like LGBTQ+ people, means we must understand their experiences beyond physical symptoms, too.
Inclusive care in a hospice setting involves treating each patient individually while validating the varied parts of their identity and taking the time to learn about the unique experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. It can be as simple as using the person’s correct name and pronouns and treating them with the same respect you would for any straight, cisgender patient.
Many LGBTQ+ patients have “found family” involved in their care instead of, or in addition to, blood relatives to support them. Additionally, if the patient wants spiritual guidance, a hospice care provider should be able to help find an LGTBQ+ friendly chaplain and other supportive resources that respect the person’s identity and wishes. Plus, showing sensitivity about the patient’s previous healthcare experiences can help them feel more comfortable receiving care from their current provider.
Healthcare focused on equality creates a broader understanding of diverse experiences that allow providers to offer specific care and help patients with thorough knowledge. It gives patients and their families more support and well-rounded information that applies specifically to them.
Many LGBTQ+ patients have their symptoms and concerns dismissed or devalued in typical medical settings. As a result, many are reluctant to share their needs or experiences for fear of discrimination. When we as providers understand this reality, we can help the LGBTQ+ community feel safer receiving hospice care. It ensures that patients have to do less work to be understood and receive the necessary care, especially while healing or going through the hospice journey.
By validating and including patients’ identities and being mindful of them in their care, providers give loved ones the space to be with the patient while they receive care. While communication between patients, providers, and others involved in care is important, having a provider who understands that the LGBTQ+ community has unique needs and struggles reduces the burden on patients.
We focus on healing, support, and balance between offering physical care and emotional healing. We want our patients to feel comfortable asking difficult questions, sharing their experiences, and knowing they have someone who will listen to and advocate for their needs. We know how overwhelming hospice can feel for many LGBTQ+ patients and their loved ones, and to us, inclusivity means providing care that reduces anxieties and makes end-of-life transitions as comfortable as possible.
Our care is all about love and healing, whether that be physical pain or emotional support. By presenting all options and giving patients control, we offer excellent palliative care that extends to emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.
Please contact us to learn more about how we provide equitable, compassionate hospice care.
May marks Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the lives and contributions of people ages 65 and older. Older Americans are living longer, more productive lives than ever before, and they constitute a growing segment of the U.S. population. According to the 2020 Census, more than 55 million people aged 65 and older live in America today, and those numbers will grow in the coming years. By 2030, every member of the Baby Boomer generation will be over 65. By 2040, 22% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65.
Aging and retirement bring new opportunities for community and family engagement, but they can also bring new health concerns. As our older Americans age, they should know the options they have in their healthcare journey.
The majority of older adults prefer to live at home, even if they have health conditions that require frequent care. Home health care services allow individuals with long-term or chronic conditions or people recovering from an illness or injury to be in a comfortable, stress-free environment while still getting the support they need. Home care can be a short-term or long-term service. Choosing home health may prevent unnecessary hospitalizations in the future and speed up recovery.
Home health care services can be adapted to the individual’s needs. Home health provides work with the individual’s doctor to make a care plan. Each plan will be tailored to the health and well-being of the person receiving care. Our services ensure that the home environment is conducive to supporting the healthcare needs of older adults. Our care providers focus on the following:
Many families find that end-of-life care for a loved one comes with complex medical and emotional needs. Hospice care is a health service to address the needs of individuals and families facing a life-limiting illness. Hospice services can be delivered in the home so individuals can live their last days with respect, peace, and dignity in familiar surroundings.
A hospice care team includes a hospice volunteer, registered nurse, social worker, home health aide, and chaplain. The care team and the family determine the care plan, and hospice staff will work with families to make any necessary changes.
Our services are focused on managing pain and increasing comfort for the individual. In addition, hospice care offers resources for emotional and spiritual health, as well as managing the person’s physical needs. The hospice care team will also be available for family members who need support during this challenging time.
If you or a loved one needs care at home, you have many choices of home health and hospice providers. Only you and your family can know which provider is the right option for your needs. Your hospital or physician can advise you on your options, but the choice is ultimately up to you.
To learn more about the services we provide, contact us at 515-218-2143 (Iowa), 651-344-1040 (Minnesota), or 402-819-1947 (Nebraska).
In the United States, one in five adults will experience a mental illness in any given year. This includes a large number of people who are living with a terminal illness—and their caregivers—who must cope with facing the end of life and making the necessary arrangements.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As one of the country’s leading hospice providers, our team is devoted to connecting you with the care you need if you are living with a mental illness.
Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 1949 by Mental Health America. The goal of this observance is to help Americans understand the importance of achieving good mental health and to empower people with mental health issues to seek treatment. Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportune time to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of various mental health disorders.
This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Month is “Look Around, Look Within.” It calls for Americans to focus on how one’s surroundings can impact their mental health. Specific topics that align with this year’s theme include:
If you can identify specific factors that may be impacting your mental health, it’s time to make changes to your surroundings that can get you on the path to feeling better. For example, if you have a serious, debilitating health condition affecting your ability to carry out normal everyday tasks, it may be time to seek assistance from a home health care provider.
Caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical health. Experiencing mental health symptoms like sadness, depression, anxiety, and stress every day for a long period can affect your career, relationships, social life, and general well-being. An untreated mental illness can also increase your risk for a wide range of physical health problems including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Unfortunately, stigma continues to surround mental illness and prevents many people with mental health problems from seeking the help they need to become healthier and improve their quality of life.
Mental health treatment can help you identify the factors in your life that are causing your symptoms and empower you to make changes that can reduce their impact on your mental well-being. If you are living with a terminal illness, seeking mental health treatment is especially important given how terminal illness places you at higher risk for anxiety and depression.
Having a terminal illness—such as cancer—is one of the top risk factors associated with mental illness. If you have a terminal illness or are caring for someone with a terminal illness, you may need help coping with certain treatments and with facing the end of life.
We offer hospice services that are personalized for every patient based on their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health needs—including mental health treatment. Counseling, bereavement, and support group therapy are some of the many mental health services offered by our hospice care providers. Our interdisciplinary teams are comprised of compassionate physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and others who are dedicated to helping you and your loved ones navigate a terminal illness while caring for your mental health.
If you are suffering from a mental health issue, don’t hesitate to speak up and come to us with your concerns. We will be more than happy to connect you with the help and treatment you need and guide you and your loved ones toward finding the right treatments that can improve your quality of life.
Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives and learn more about our hospice and mental health services.
This May, join us in celebration of America’s 4.4 million registered nurses who make a touching difference in the lives of patients and their families. Exceptional nurses often have a true passion for helping others, backed by compassion and empathy.
In honor of this month, we express our appreciation for home health nurses, hospice nurses, and nurses who work in the skilled nursing facilities that partner with us as hospice and home health providers.
Nurses make a profound impact in improving the quality of life of individuals in skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and home health care. We invite social workers, medical professionals, and anyone who has been touched by a nurse to celebrate Nurse Appreciation Month with us. This is your reminder to thank your nurses and show you appreciate their “special touch”.
Nurses working in skilled nursing facilities serve a vital role in helping individuals get back on their feet after an injury or illness. While in rehabilitative nursing care, patients are supported by nurses who are committed to helping them improve their quality of life and regain strength during recovery.
Often, it is because of the support from nurses in rehabilitative nursing care that individuals can safely return to their homes for ongoing support from home health nurses. This allows individuals to continue recovering from the comfort of their own homes.
Throughout the month of May, we also recognize and show we appreciate the exceptional home health nurses that support patients in their homes. Home health nurses play a vital role in supporting an individual’s road to recovery as they strive to regain independence and autonomy in the home. Home health staff support the holistic health of individuals beyond physical care by also providing social and emotional support.
Hospice nurses have a special role in the lives of patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and their families. Nurses providing end-of-life care through hospice services help reduce unnecessary pain and suffering, making individuals as comfortable as possible in their final months or days of life. In addition, hospice nurses generously share their skills and compassion to provide supportive care that improves an individual’s quality of life, developing strong bonds with patients and their families.
Often, hospice nurses go above and beyond the call of duty, showing exceptional compassion for those nearing the end of their life. Not only do hospice nurses support an individual’s wishes, but they also provide support resources for family and friends during difficult times. Most families never forget the lasting impact the nurses made during an incredibly challenging period in their life.
Nurses in skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and home health nurses demonstrate admirable qualities such as compassion, patience, and empathy. On behalf of our team and our partners, we honor the champions that have dedicated their careers to improving the lives of others. We couldn’t do it without you!
In acute healthcare settings, such as an inpatient stay at the hospital, the quality care delivered to patients is facilitated by readily available resources such as multidisciplinary healthcare teams all operating out of one facility. A multidisciplinary team can include your doctor, spiritual counselor, social worker, and bereavement counselor to name a few. Following discharge from an acute healthcare setting, more senior patients are often sent to post-acute healthcare settings. These are settings that reside outside of the hospital and can include skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), long-term care hospitals (LTCHs), inpatient rehabilitation centers and home care agencies. At these facilities, individuals traditionally experience longer stays and therefore continue to benefit from the multidisciplinary services mentioned above. In all of these settings, the availability of such resources, especially counseling, is critical to the long-term health and wellness of residents. April is recognized as National Counseling Month, and we can’t overstate the importance of counseling for individuals in any stage of care. Fortunately, a number of counseling services are readily available to individuals requiring long term care. Three of these services in particular include social work, bereavement, and chaplain services.
Social workers work within a healthcare team as vital advocates for patients and primarily serve individuals that are identified as “high-risk”. In that high-risk category fall senior citizens. Older individuals often reach a point where they can no longer care for themselves independently and rely on family or friends to provide care. This is sometimes the turning point at which you or a loved one may turn to long term care as the best option moving forward. In long term care, social workers can play a pivotal role in identifying where an individual may require the most help, whether that be emotional, financial, family, or other support. Social workers work closely with the rest of the healthcare team and take the lead as a case manager for individuals with psychosocial or financial issues. They also operate as a collaborator for high-risk clinical issues. Not all individuals in long term care will require extended counseling from a social worker, as it will depend on how high risk an individual is. Nonetheless, knowing the services available to you or your loved one can make a difference in receiving the support you need and resting assured that you are being well taken care of by your healthcare team.
Bereavement counseling is unique in that it is a service dedicated to your family after your loved one has passed away. The primary purpose of bereavement counseling is to help families navigate their grief following a loss. This particular service is incredibly valuable as it is virtually impossible to be fully prepared for what life after loss looks like, regardless of how long a loved one has been ill or how much a family has tried to prepare themselves. Bereavement counselors can be a helpful resource when dealing with the emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one, the disruption of daily routines, the stress of managing the logistics, and the possibly changed outlook on life and mortality. When your loved one passes, care should not stop there; and with the help of bereavement counselors, it doesn’t. Having a supportive team who is familiar with navigating loss can be tremendously impactful and can often eliminate undue stress.
Spirituality can be an especially helpful source of groundedness during challenging times, transitional periods, or throughout the grieving process. Through that lens, chaplains can be vitally important to both your loved one as they move into longer term care and you, as the supporter and caregiver.
Many emotions can accompany the transition from living at home or occasional acute care stays into long term care facilities. Some individuals experience anxiety, sadness, loss of identity, fear, and anger to name a few. All of these emotions can present their own challenges and can negatively impact one’s experience if left unaddressed. Chaplains offer more than just spiritual guidance and can often help individuals navigate some of these confusing, frightening, or unfamiliar emotions. Among the many things chaplains can do for patients, some of the most beneficial services include cultivating new hobbies, facilitating new relationships, providing referrals to appropriate experts, and talking through tough emotions. Chaplains can help individuals see beyond the negative and find acceptance and hope even in challenging times.
As the family of a loved one in long term care, the burden of this transition weighs just as heavy on you. Fortunately, many of the long-term care services are available to help you navigate these challenging times as well. Chaplains can often serve as a guide for the new challenges that arise with putting a loved one into long term care. Similarly, the emotions you face may feel unfamiliar. Be sure to give attention and time to your own emotions, just as you do for your loved one, and consider utilizing chaplain services if you are seeking support during this time. Chaplains not only help to facilitate the sustainment or discovery of spirituality but also contribute to the acknowledgement and interpretation of emotions for individuals and families experiencing change, grief, or loss.
If you or a loved one are preparing to transition to a post-acute healthcare setting of any kind, be sure to discuss with your team of providers what counseling services are available to you and your family. The amount of support and care these services can provide outside of the hospital is extensive and can greatly impact the quality of a more long-term healthcare stay.
Image 2: https://veteranlife.com/veteran-benefits/va-bereavement-counseling/
Image 3: https://www.yourtango.com/self/what-happens-after-spiritual-awakening
American Hospital Association: https://www.aha.org/advocacy/long-term-care-and-rehabilitation
Net Health: https://www.nethealth.com/the-importance-of-in-home-bereavement-support-services-for-hospice-care/
Relias Media: https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/148131-the-role-of-the-social-work-case-manager-across-the-continuum-of-care
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337140540_THE_IMPACT_OF_SOCIAL_WORKERS_ON_POST-ACUTE_CARE_DISCHARGE_OUTCOMES
April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), designed to “inspire, educate, and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.” Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can be overwhelming for individuals and their families.
When diagnosed with a terminal illness, knowing where to turn next can be difficult. Furthermore, many people have misconceptions about hospice and when it should be introduced. This article will break down these common misconceptions surrounding hospice.
Hospice care is for people with a prognosis of 6 months or less if their disease runs its natural course. This type of care focuses on making those with a terminal illness as comfortable and pain-free as possible. Hospice care includes social, medical, emotional, and spiritual support. The goal of hospice care is to provide terminally ill patients the opportunity to live the last stages of their life with comfort and dignity.
Unfortunately, many common misconceptions surrounding hospice may prevent individuals from taking advantage of hospice’s many benefits. One common misconception is that “hospice is a place.” However, hospice can be provided wherever a patient is located, which sometimes includes right in their home. Another common misconception is that “hospice is giving up,” but this could not be further from the truth. Many people end up living longer in hospice or sometimes graduate from hospice and no longer qualify.
While on hospice, patients can choose to keep their primary care physician (PCP). Hospice care staff will work with your PCP and other healthcare professionals to provide collaborative care. Some people also avoid hospice care because they feel it is “pointless” as their illness is terminal. While curative treatment may no longer be an option, that doesn’t mean other efforts serve no purpose. Living with a terminal illness can often cause individuals lots of pain. That’s why hospice care is a great option, as it serves to make individuals as comfortable and pain-free as possible. These supportive measures are key in the final stages of a person’s life.
Instead of waiting until the very end to receive hospice care, individuals with a terminal illness can fully benefit from hospice care sooner rather than later. Others may decide to stop hospice to try another experimental treatment. Hospice can be designed to work for each patient’s individual needs. With hospice, you or your loved one are in the “driver’s seat” of your own healthcare decisions.
Hospice care is a great healthcare option when curative treatment is no longer viable. Furthermore, hospice isn’t just for the last days or weeks of life. Hospice can support individuals for several months. Don’t let the common misconceptions surrounding hospice hold you or a loved one back from receiving supportive care.
Our care team supports patients in determining their own goals of care during the final stages of their illness. Our hospice care service focuses on comfort, support, quality of life, and education. Contact us today to discuss your questions and personal needs.
World Health Day is observed every year to bring awareness to the importance of practicing and achieving optimal health and wellness. In honor of World Health Day, our goal is to help you learn and understand more about specific healthcare services that can improve your quality of life if you are living with a chronic illness.
World Health Day occurs every year on April 7. It was created by the World Health Organization and founded on this day in 1948. The purpose of World Health Day is to promote and celebrate the importance of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
April 7, 2023, marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization. This year’s theme is Health For All. This day is the perfect time to reflect on the many public health successes that have shaped today’s healthcare industry and have greatly improved the quality of life for billions of people worldwide.
Suffering or recovering from a serious illness can be extremely stressful. Debilitating symptoms like chronic pain can greatly interfere with your quality of life, as can spending lots of time in sterile, hospital-like environments that take you away from your family and home. Home health and hospice care can make you feel happier, more comfortable, and less stressed—regardless of whether you are recovering from a short-term condition or coping with a terminal illness.
Home health focuses on helping you recover from an illness, injury, or surgical procedure. It can help you become more independent and teach you how to successfully live with and manage a chronic condition such as kidney disease, heart disease, or lung disease. This type of care is given to you in the privacy and comfort of your home.
Hospice care focuses on making you feel as comfortable as possible when living with a terminal illness, such as cancer. This collaborative approach involves physicians, social workers, spiritual advisors, hospice aides, and other healthcare professionals who strive to make your last days as fulfilling as possible. This type of care can be delivered anywhere you call home.
Home health is ideal for anyone in recovery from an illness, injury, or surgery who needs help getting back to their daily activities, but whose condition doesn’t necessarily require hospitalization. For example, home health may benefit you if you recently had open-heart surgery and must stay home for several weeks to recover and take it easy. Your doctor can determine whether home health services are ideal for you based on your unique condition and situation.
Hospice care is ideal for those with a terminal illness who want to reduce their pain and feel as comfortable as possible until the end of life. You may be eligible for hospice care if you have a terminal illness and need continuous oxygen, have difficulty swallowing, suffer from constant pain, or frequently experience shortness of breath. Your doctor can talk to you in greater detail about hospice care and determine whether you’re an ideal candidate for this service.
Knowing about various types of healthcare solutions, such as home health and hospice services, can help you make more educated decisions for yourself or your loved one.
We understand how overwhelming it can be to navigate and choose the best type of health care when you or your loved one is managing or living with a serious illness. Let us help you choose the right program to provide you or your loved one with the best possible quality of life.
Contact us today.
We, at Hospice of the Midwest, are excited to share that a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 in celebration of our recent relocation to the Marshalltown, Iowa area!
We recently relocated from our office in Grinnell to 2113 S. 1st Ave. right underneath the Five Star Realty building, and we could not be happier to be a part of this wonderful community.
For more information on our new location, click here.
The event will be held at 4:30 pm and will provide attendees an opportunity to meet and enjoy refreshments with our team.
Thank you to everyone in the Marshalltown community for making us feel so welcome!
Read about the ribbon cutting in the Times-Republican at https://www.timesrepublican.com/news/todays-news/2023/03/hospice-of-the-midwest-plans-ribbon-cutting-in-marshalltown/.