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Living with a chronic condition, like Diabetes or COPD, is more than a medical challenge; it’s a journey that intertwines with every aspect of your life. Amid the routine of medications, doctor’s appointments, and self-care, it’s easy to lose sight of what brings you joy in life. This is where mindfulness, a simple yet profound practice, steps in—offering you a path to navigate your condition with grace and resilience.

Understanding Mindfulness

At its core, mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment. It involves acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment. For someone managing a chronic condition, this practice becomes a gentle reminder that you are more than your illness–you are a whole person with unique experiences and emotions. In turn mediation, is the formal practice of mindfulness; and, a practice is the embodiment of a concept of approach. In this case, mindfulness.

Embarking on the Mindfulness Journey

Start by dedicating a few minutes each day to mindfulness. Find a quiet space, sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your chest. Remember, mindfulness is not the absence of thoughts. As Sam Harris writes, “The problem is not thoughts themselves, but the state of thinking without knowing that we are thinking.”

woman meditating with dog

As your mind wanders to thoughts about your condition, notice them without criticism and gently guide your attention back to your breathing. This simple act can become a powerful tool in managing the stress and anxiety that often accompany chronic conditions.

Deepening Awareness with Body Scan Meditation

There are many types of mindfulness practices (e.g., headless way, metta, breathing techniques, TM, etc.), and it is important to explore each to build well rounded practice. A body scan meditation can heighten your awareness of how your condition affects you physically. Lie down and mentally traverse your body from toes to head. Notice any discomfort, tension, or pain, acknowledging these sensations with kindness. This practice not only deepens your understanding of your body’s needs, but also fosters a compassionate relationship with yourself.

The Art of Mindful Eating

Chronic conditions often necessitate dietary changes, which can feel restrictive or overwhelming. Mindful eating turns this necessity into a practice of awareness and enjoyment. As you eat, concentrate fully on the experience—the textures, flavors, and sensations. Chew slowly, savor each bite, and notice how your body feels. This approach can lead to better dietary choices and a more harmonious relationship with food.

Cultivating Gratitude

Maintain a gratitude journal, recording moments of joy, no matter how small. This practice shifts focus from the burdens of your condition to the many facets of life that bring happiness and fulfillment. It’s a powerful way to maintain a positive outlook, even on challenging days. Remember, a smile a day keeps the doctor away.

The Transformative Power of Regular Practice

With time, mindfulness can significantly reduce stress, elevate mood, and enhance your overall well-being. It empowers you to face your condition with a balanced mind and a peaceful heart.

Your journey with a chronic condition is uniquely yours, filled with its own challenges and triumphs. Mindfulness offers you a tool, not only to navigate this journey, but also to embrace each day with a renewed sense of purpose and peace. It reminds you that in the midst of life’s storms, there’s always a space of calm within you.

rocks that say mind, body, soul

Deepening Connections: The Art of Mindful Communication in Hospice Care

Caring for a loved one in hospice care is a deeply emotional and transformative journey. In this sensitive phase, communication takes on a profound significance, transcending conventional conversations to become a vital tool in providing comfort and understanding. This blog post explores the nuances of active listening and its remarkable impact in hospice care.

The Essence of Active Listening in Hospice Care

Active listening in the context of hospice care is about fully immersing yourself in your loved one’s emotional and psychological world. It involves much more than processing spoken words; it’s about tuning into the emotions, fears, and unspoken needs underlying those words. This level of listening demands a high degree of empathy, patience, and full presence. It’s essential for creating an environment where your loved one feels genuinely heard and understood.

Effective active listening involves several key techniques:

  1. Full Presence: Dedicate your complete attention to your loved one. Avoid distractions, maintain eye contact, and engage fully in the moment.
  2. Acknowledging Non-Verbal Cues: Body language and facial expressions often communicate more than words. Observing these cues can provide deeper insights into your loved one’s emotional state.
  3. Empathetic Responses: Show that you are not only hearing but also feeling with your loved one. This can involve summarizing their thoughts and expressing understanding before sharing your own perspective.
  4. Encouraging Expression: Sometimes, simple gestures like a nod or a gentle prompt can encourage further sharing. Show that you are a willing and patient listener.

The key to active listening is openness. This means being willing to engage in conversations that may seem difficult on the surface, but you know will deepen the bond between you and your loved one. For instance, start small: What’s something you’ve always want to know about your loved one, but never asked?

man listening in cup with string

Creating a Comforting Environment for Communication

The environment plays a crucial role in facilitating open communication. A peaceful and comfortable setting can significantly ease the process of sharing personal thoughts and feelings. Soft lighting, a quiet room, and a relaxed atmosphere can make a considerable difference. It’s also vital to approach difficult conversations with sensitivity and care. Being prepared for these challenging discussions ensures that your loved one feels safe and supported in expressing themselves.

Moreover, understanding the power of silence in communication is essential. Silence, when used thoughtfully, can be a powerful aspect of active listening. Being present, even in moments of quiet, can offer immense comfort and solidarity.

Reflecting on the Impact of Mindful Communication

Engaging in mindful communication in hospice care is not only beneficial for the individual receiving care but is also profoundly enriching for the caregiver. It enhances your capacity for empathy, strengthens your patience, and deepens your understanding of the complex emotions involved in the end-of-life journey.

Regular reflection on your listening experiences is crucial. Consider how your approach affects your interactions and remain open to adapting your methods to better suit your loved one’s needs. This adaptive approach not only improves your effectiveness as a caregiver, but also contributes significantly to your personal growth.

If it helps, consider starting a daily reflection journal. At the end of each day, write down the thoughts, emotions, and sensations you experienced throughout the day. The key to journaling is to write for yourself—no one else, other than yourself, is going to read the material. So, write whatever comes to mind and feel free to revisit your writings later on to see how your mentality has evolved.

Conclusion

In the profound journey of hospice caregiving, mastering the art of active listening is a testament to compassion and connection. It allows caregivers to provide support that goes beyond physical care, touching the hearts and souls of those they look after. By embracing the principles of mindful communication, you ensure that your loved one’s final chapter is filled with understanding, respect, and a deep sense of being valued and heard.

Handwashing: The Best Way to Prevent the Spread of Germs

National Handwashing Week is celebrated in the United States during the first full week of December. It is a time to raise awareness of the importance of handwashing and to teach people how to wash their hands effectively.

Handwashing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Germs can be found on all sorts of surfaces, including doorknobs, light switches, and countertops. When we touch these surfaces and then touch our eyes, nose, or mouth, we can transfer germs to our bodies and get sick.

When to Wash

Handwashing with soap and water removes germs from our hands and prevents them from spreading. It is especially important to wash our hands at certain times, such as:

washing hands

Effective Handwashing

To wash our hands effectively, we should follow these five steps:

  1. Wet our hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather our hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of our hands, between our fingers, and under our nails.
  3. Scrub our hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  4. Rinse our hands thoroughly under clean, running water.
  5. Dry our hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

Teaching Children the Importance of Handwashing

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect ourselves and others from getting sick. By following the five steps above, we can all help to keep our communities healthy.

kids washing hands

In honor of National Handwashing Week 2023, here are some tips for teaching your children about the importance of handwashing:

By teaching your children about the importance of handwashing, you can help them to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Need more tips or assistance with your loved one?  We are here to help.  Contact us today to learn more about our services!

World AIDS Day: How Hospice Can Help

Each year on December 1, people worldwide recognize World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to remembering and raising awareness about the HIV and AIDS epidemic. We take part in this day to remember the lives lost since 1988 and raise awareness for help and support for those living with this condition.

History of World AIDS Day

The first World AIDS Day took place in 1988, which makes 2023 the 35th anniversary year of this remembrance day. Each year has a specific theme, and this year’s theme is “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit.” Over the past 35 years, scientists and healthcare professionals have made significant advancements in the understanding and available treatments for this condition. Furthermore, this awareness day is also dedicated to helping to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

world AIDS day

World AIDS Day was first started in 1988 to help raise research funds and fight prejudice surrounding this condition. Since then, people all over the world have stood together to take part in this important day.

Hospice Benefits for Patients with Advanced AIDS

We offer supportive hospice care for individuals with advanced AIDS. Our hospice care services help patients with terminal illnesses live the rest of their lives in as much comfort as possible. Our hospice care services can meet a variety of needs for patients with advanced AIDS, which can help provide symptom and pain management.

hands making a heart with red ribbon

During the last stages of AIDS, a person may experience night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Hospice care can provide personalized comfort and care during these final stages. In addition to physical support, hospice care can also provide spiritual and emotional support during this difficult time. We also provide additional support for family members and caregivers, as well as bereavement support.

Ask Us About Our Hospice Care Support

If you or a loved one is living with AIDS, our team is here to help. Ask us about how our supportive and personalizable hospice care services can help provide support and enhance your quality of life. For all of our services, we take a team-oriented approach to provide the best care possible for you and your loved one. Contact us today to learn more.

National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month: What People Should Know

National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of this deadly disease. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of just 10%. However, early detection and treatment can improve survival rates significantly.

Here are some things you should know about pancreatic cancer:

pancreatic cancer awareness

How Home Health Can Help People with Pancreatic Cancer

Home health care can provide valuable support to people with pancreatic cancer and their caregivers. Home health aides can help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.

Home health nurses can provide skilled nursing care, such as wound care, pain management, and medication administration. They can also teach patients and caregivers about the disease and how to manage it at home.

Other home health services that may be helpful for people with pancreatic cancer include:

cancer patient

How Hospice Can Help People with Pancreatic Cancer

Hospice is a type of care that focuses on providing comfort and support to people with terminal illnesses. Hospice can be provided at home, in a nursing home, or wherever the patient calls home.

Hospice care for people with pancreatic cancer may include:

Hospice care can help people with pancreatic cancer live their remaining time as comfortably and fully as possible. Hospice care can also provide support to caregivers during this difficult time.

If you are a patient with pancreatic cancer or a caregiver for someone with pancreatic cancer, please know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you, including compassionate hospice care in the place you call home. To learn more about how we can help, please contact us today!

Making the Transition to Hospice with Alzheimer’s and Other Forms of Dementia

comforting loved one with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are progressive diseases that eventually lead to end of life for those suffering. When your loved one reaches more challenging stages of dementia, hospice care is extremely valuable.  Hospice is a specialized type of care that focuses on comfort and quality of life for patients who are terminally ill—with a prognosis of six months or less if their disease runs its normal course.

How to Transition to Hospice Care with Ease and Peace of Mind

Transitioning to hospice care can be a difficult decision, but it can also be a relief for both patients and caregivers. Hospice care can provide your loved one with the support and care they need during their final months of life.  You do not need to wait until the very end to initiate hospice—which is a common misconception. 

To transition to hospice care with ease and peace of mind, here are a few tips:

Talk to your loved one’s Primary Care Physician (PCP). 

If your loved one does not have a Primary Care Physician, we can help you obtain an order for hospice care.  The PCP will write an order to initiate hospice.  This is step one.

Get to know the hospice team.

Once you meet with us, you will be assigned a team of caregivers who will work with you to create a care plan for your loved one. The hospice team will include nurses, social workers, aides, and other professionals who are skilled in caring for people with dementia.

Let us take care of the rest!

We will bring in all necessary supplies and durable medical equipment (DME) that your loved one will need to be safe and comfortable in the place they call home.

More Ways We Can Help…

Our Hospice agency can provide a variety of services to help you and your loved one transition to hospice care. These services may include:

If you are considering hospice care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, please contact us today. We make the process simple, letting you focus on what matters most!

National Family Caregivers Month: Celebrating the Heroes without Capes

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to celebrate the millions of Americans who provide unpaid care to their loved ones. Caregivers play a vital role in our society, helping people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and age-related impairments live their best lives.

Caregivers provide a wide range of services, from helping with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing to providing emotional support and companionship. They may also manage their loved one’s medications, transportation, and finances.

Caregiving can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Caregivers often report feeling a sense of purpose and satisfaction in helping their loved ones. However, caregiving can also be stressful and demanding, both physically and emotionally.

holding hands

Recognizing & Supporting Caregivers

That’s why it’s important to recognize and support caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month and throughout the year. There are many ways to do this, such as:

How Caregivers Help Those They Love

Here are some of the ways that caregivers help those they love:

Improve physical and mental health.

Caregivers can help their loved ones stay healthy by managing their medications, providing transportation to medical appointments, and helping them follow their doctor’s recommendations. Caregivers can also help their loved ones cope with stress and anxiety, and maintain a positive outlook on life.

Promote independence.

Caregivers can help their loved ones maintain their independence by assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking. Caregivers can also help their loved ones stay connected with their community and participate in activities that they enjoy.

hugging loved one

Provide companionship and emotional support.

Caregivers offer their loved ones companionship and emotional support, which can be essential for their well-being. Caregivers can listen to their loved one’s concerns, offer advice and encouragement, and help them to feel loved and valued.

Thank you, Caregivers!

Caregivers are essential to our society, and they deserve our appreciation and support. During National Family Caregivers Month, let’s celebrate the caregivers in our lives and show them how much we care.

If you are a caregiver and would like to know more about the services we provide, please let us know.  We would be happy to serve you and your loved one!

Caring for and Loving Someone with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Alzheimer’s disease affects everyone differently, but it eventually leads to severe cognitive impairment and death.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, but it is also a rewarding experience.

Here are some tips for caring for and loving someone with Alzheimer’s:

Educate yourself about the disease.

The more you know about Alzheimer’s disease, the better equipped you will be to care for your loved one. There are many resources available online and in your community that can provide you with information and support.

Create a safe and supportive environment.

People with Alzheimer’s disease are at risk of falls, wandering, and other accidents. It is important to create a safe and supportive environment for your loved one. This may involve removing tripping hazards, installing locks on doors, and using GPS tracking devices (such as medical alert bracelets or inserting Air Tag-like devices in shoes).

therapy for alzheimer's patient

Establish a routine.

People with Alzheimer’s disease often thrive on routine. Establish a regular schedule for meals, activities, and bedtime. This can help to reduce stress and anxiety. (Tip: use colorful plates to help make food easily identifiable).

Be patient and understanding.

Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to behave in ways that are frustrating and confusing. It is important to be patient and understanding. Remember that your loved one is not trying to be difficult. (Try not to raise your voice—rather, use a calming tone as much as possible).

Take care of yourself.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be physically and emotionally demanding. It is important to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Make time for activities that you enjoy. 

Here are some specific ways to show love and support to someone with Alzheimer’s:

Spend time with your loved one.

Even if your loved one cannot engage in conversations or activities like they used to, they still enjoy spending time with you. Make time to simply sit with your loved one, hold their hand, or listen to music together. (Music therapy has proven to be effective in calming/lessening anxiety + helps with activities such as reminiscing).

Reassure your loved one that you love them.

Tell your loved one that you love them and appreciate them. Let them know that you are there for them and will always support them.

loving alzheimer's patient

Help your loved one maintain their sense of identity.

Encourage your loved one to continue doing activities that they enjoy. Help them to stay connected with their loved ones and community.

Celebrate your loved one’s accomplishments.

No matter how small, celebrate your loved one’s accomplishments. This will help to boost their self-esteem and confidence.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, but it is also a rewarding experience. By following the tips above, you can provide your loved one with the care and support they need.

Life is a Journey.  We are With You Every Step of The Way!

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your loved in the place they call home.

Liver Cancer Awareness

Liver cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Early detection can be challenging because symptoms frequently do not present until the cancer is in the later stages. Adding to the early detection challenge is the lack of standardized screenings for average-risk individuals. Therefore, when symptoms appear or a tumor is found, cancer has frequently progressed to advanced stages.

As liver cancer progresses, the focus shifts from treatment to improving a patient’s quality and comfort of life. Therapies provided by home health care are critical in the early stages. However, in advanced diseases, hospice care support becomes indispensable. Combined, these supportive systems offer a lifeline for patients with liver cancer.

Understanding Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of adult liver cancer. It usually occurs more frequently in males and those with chronic liver conditions like cirrhosis or viral hepatitis. Chronic alcohol misuse and prolonged cigarette smoking also rank high among the risk factors. If you have any of these risk factors, you fall into the high-risk category and should consult your healthcare team regarding potential screening options.

While there is no guaranteed method to prevent liver cancer, it’s best to curb high-risk behaviors. This includes refraining from cigarette smoking, avoiding unprotected sex, and not sharing used needles, as these measures are essential for overall health, well-being, and cancer prevention. Understanding the risk factors, recognizing potential symptoms, and implementing preventative measures can all assist with early detection and possible prevention.

liver

Therapies Offered by Home Health Care for Liver Cancer Patients

Home health care offers a variety of customized services for patients with liver cancer and other types of cancer. Whether patients are undergoing treatment, recovering, or requiring additional assistance, home health care provides the support needed. Most patients find solace in familiar surroundings. In the comfort of home, patients can focus on healing while surrounded by skilled care.

When considering home health, it is important to understand the multidisciplinary support behind it. This includes the dedicated involvement of RNs, medical assistants, personal aids, social workers, therapists, and even companions. They all have a shared goal to improve the patient’s condition, avoid complications and limit hospital readmissions.

Home health agencies provide a wide range of services to meet the needs of those who require in-home care. Among these services are medication and pain management. Assistance with medication is especially important for people with liver cancer who frequently experience discomfort. Licensed home healthcare professionals are skilled in administering medications, recommending exercises, and introducing other pain-management techniques.

In addition to medication support, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is essential in supporting daily activities. They can assist with personal care, hygiene, and even light household duties, including meal preparation.

Another key component of home health care is education. Home health care professionals aim to inform patients and families about the disease process and care protocols. This fosters an environment where everyone stays informed and proactive in the patient’s care.

Lastly, physical therapy services can be provided. These services aim at optimizing mobility and improving the patient’s overall health and well-being.

liver cancer ribbon

Hospice Care for End-Stage Liver Cancer Patients

Many people choose hospice care as they approach the advanced stages of liver cancer, especially when treatments aimed to cure the disease are no longer viable. Contrary to popular belief, hospice care isn’t reserved solely for the immediate end-of-life phase. Medicare provides coverage for hospice care for patients who are expected to live six months or less. Many caregivers say they regret not seeking hospice care sooner after discovering the immense comfort and support it provides the patient and family. Hospice care, whether offered at home or in an institution, encompasses a holistic approach to patient care. One primary goal of hospice care is symptom management.

Patients with liver cancer often experience pain, nausea, and other discomforts. To address this, hospice teams comprising doctors, nurses, and other professionals ensure these symptoms are kept at bay through medication and holistic approaches. Physical, emotional, and psychological well-being are also prioritized alongside symptom management. The gravity of a terminal diagnosis can be overwhelming. Hospice ensures that patients and their families receive ample counseling and emotional support, navigating them through the situation’s complexities. Many hospice programs offer spiritual guidance and support for those who find solace in spirituality, ensuring that patients find peace in their final days.

Liver cancer is multifaceted, presenting physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges. While medical advancements offer avenues for early detection and treatments, the combined efforts of home health and hospice care provide patients and families unparalleled support. These services are available every step of the journey, from the moments of early diagnosis to the quiet reflections of life’s final chapter.

Patients and families aren’t alone in the face of liver cancer; they are supported by dedicated professionals ready to assist, guide, and comfort. Through comprehensive care and genuine compassion, we can ensure that those affected by this disease find solace and strength, surrounded by love and expertise.

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