Grief and Counseling Recommendations

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Having a loved one in hospice care can certainly be an emotional time. It’s hard to accept that they’re nearing the end of their life, and seeing them struggle can bring up many painful thoughts. One of the tips that Wesley Hospice often offers is for family members get support to handle the stress they’re likely to feel.

Whether it’s grief counseling to help you work through your feelings, or you choose to take some time to reflect on the good memories, it’s important to let yourself grieve in your own way. Counseling can help you maintain a level of perspective and may help you identify some of the things you’re feeling; however, there is no one set pattern for grieving that’s going to fit every individual.

A support group is an excellent way to surround yourself with others who are experiencing a similar loss. It can be lonely trying to handle the death of a loved one, but with a good support group, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your feelings. And, you may even pick up some strategies that others have used to manage their grief. Again, no two people are going to grieve in the same way, but it can be helpful to hear how others are coping and to use some of their tips to help you through your grieving process.

Even before the death of your loved one, a support group can provide the emotional support you need at this very trying time. Talking with others, and taking a moment away from the challenges of caring for someone you love, can give you a new perspective. Take each day as it comes and look for tips on how to manage stress.

Family Tips for Preparing for Hospice Care

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An important part of hospice care is helping patients and families develop an understanding of hospice and how it can help them meet the challenges of this difficult time. It is extremely important to understand how each member of the hospice team will work together to develop a comprehensive end of life plan that meets the individual needs of the patient. Whether it’s visits from clergy, managing pain or providing some much needed emotional support, our trained hospice staff are dedicated to ensuring each patient gets the highest quality care possible.

End of life decisions can be difficult for most people; however, it’s important that these discussions take place. When you have a loved one who has been referred for hospice care, it’s important for the patient as well as the family to prepare for this time. For example, examining personal beliefs can help you make decisions regarding EOL care.

Other helpful tips that can make hospice easier for patients and their family members include learning about the services that are available and making sure you reach out for the help you need. Many times, hospice care takes place in the patient’s home. The primary caregiver is often overwhelmed with managing patient care as well as their own feelings of sadness and loss. We can help with patient care by providing caregiver relief and patient companionship.

When preparing for hospice care, be sure to keep in mind that there will be times when family care is also necessary. It’s important to make sure that you take care of yourself. Consider stress relievers such as yoga, or a support group. Additionally, it can be helpful to make use of routine home care by the experienced hospice team to help the family manage during the final weeks and days of a loved one’s life. Maintaining a routine as much as possible can help you feel more in control.

Helpful Family Stress Relievers

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When you have a loved one in hospice care, stress can become a normal part of life for the entire family. Our hospice service specializes in meeting the emotional, spiritual and medical needs of your loved one, but we also know that compassionate family care means helping the entire family through this difficult time.

Some effective tips for handling stress can help a family take care of themselves, while also meeting the needs of their loved one in their final days. Simple stress relievers, such as taking some much needed time to engage in some soothing activities, can significantly lower your stress level. For example, many people find that yoga can help them feel more relaxed and in control; even when faced with the stress of having a loved one in hospice care.

Other excellent family stress relievers include simply taking a break. When your loved one is sleeping or napping, enjoy a game of cards, watch a movie or do something other than dealing with the issues surrounding the care and comfort of your loved one. Share stories, talk about a fun family vacation or even grab a nap of your own.

One of the best tips we can share with the families we serve is to establish a healthy routine. This time is difficult enough, so make sure you’re eating well and getting exercise on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in caring for your loved one, but you will be much more relaxed when you’re also taking some time to care for yourself.

It’s common to become overwhelmed when helping a loved one through their final days, but taking care of your own physical and emotional needs is essential to your own wellbeing.

Dispelling Common Hospice Myths

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There are many myths about hospice care. Of course, most of these misconceptions come from the fact that many people have simply never had to deal with a loved one in hospice. It can be a subject that is not often discussed, so the mystery surrounding this care can be veiled in mystery for those on the outside.

One common myth regarding hospice care is that it is a place where the terminally ill go to die. When there is nothing more that doctors can do to help someone, they are sent to hospice care. This is certainly not true. In fact, hospice is not an actual place; but, rather, care for a patient nearing the end of their life. We strive to ensure every patient gets quality care with a compassionate hospice team. From managing pain to providing social workers, clergy and other professionals, every patient is given individualized care to help meet their needs.

Some people think that if you choose hospice care that you won’t be able to keep your own doctor. This is another myth. In fact, you can keep your doctor and your doctor will work closely with the hospice physicians to provide quality care.

Another very common myth is that hospice is only for those individuals who are in their final days of life. While this might be true in some cases, hospice care is available to any patient who has a life expectancy of six months or less.

Some other common myths regarding hospice care are that it is a service only provided to patients who are living in their own home or that it is strictly for the elderly. Neither of these are true. Any patient with a six month or less life expectancy can receive hospice care. Additionally, hospice can work with patients who are in nursing homes or even the hospital.

Caregiver Stress Relievers During Work

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Those who care for persons who are ill are very susceptible to stress-related illnesses. Whether you are a professional caregiver or a family caregiver, you need to take some “me” time. We’ve all heard the analogy of the flight attendant who warns passengers to put on their oxygen masks before helping others during an emergency. If you feel guilty about having some “me” time, consider the oxygen mask warning–if you want to do your best in taking care of others, take care of you first.

Stress Relievers for Caregivers

If you want to be your best at caregiving, you need to engage in some caregiver care. Whether you work as a caregiver in a facility or care for a family member at home, find ways that you can relieve stress during the times that you are providing care. Try building some activities into your daily schedule that will allow you to relax and break the cycle of stress.

A meal break can make all the difference when you are exhausted from giving care. When you take a break for a meal, use it to the fullest. Eating is one of life’s pleasures. Take time to savor your meal. If you work in a facility, make sure you have another employee cover your patients during your lunch break.  Even if you only have 30 minutes, a meal break is not just time to eat; it is time to rest your mind and body.

Take a brief walk. Taking a 10-minute walk outside provides an opportunity to get some fresh air and clear your mind. As a matter of fact, if you schedule a walk each day, you will look forward to it, and you will return to your caregiving duties with a fresh perspective.

Confide in a friend. Most of us know someone at work who will lend a listening ear without being judgmental. Sometimes you need to vent your frustrations to a friend who can offer you some positive encouragement. A burden shared is half the burden.

Quality Care at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare

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At Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare, we are committed to ensuring every patient gets compassionate end of life care. We treat each patient as a unique individual and strive to ensure that they receive not only the physical care they need, but also to ensure that the patient is comfortable and treated with respect.

Whether it’s making sure the patient is able to spend their last days surrounded by family or meeting the spiritual needs of the individual—compassionate, quality care is always at the center of what we do.

Our caring hospice staff will help develop a personal care plan to meet the needs of each patient. We respect the beliefs and traditions of our patients and will work with the patient and their family to develop a plan that will meet their spiritual needs as well as their physical and emotional needs.

At Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare, we’re here to provide quality, compassionate care for our patients as well as their family members. We offer 24/7 access to our experienced hospice team as well as pet visitations, caregiver relief, and patient companionship. Of course, medical needs are met by our experienced hospice team. Whether it’s medical equipment or home visits by one of our caring hospice nurses, meeting the needs of our patients is something we take very seriously.

We can also provide pain management solutions in addition to a trained social worker to help with any social service needs. In an effort to help the patient and the entire family, we also offer bereavement services for caregivers. We know this time can be especially stressful and overwhelming, so we’ve put together a comprehensive list of services to help. From meditation and yoga groups to massage therapy, you can count on Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare for quality service.

Columbus Ohio Hospice Caregivers

Caring for the Caregiver

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Many baby boomers are learning the true definition of the word caregiver.  As your parents, and in my case grandparents are requiring more than just a quick visit every other day or so.  My grandmother is 96 and lives on her own in the family home I grew up.  That sounds great and trust me it is, but all that is required that goes smoothly can be draining, especially when only a few of many family members help out.  You quickly find yourself stressed, and both mentally and physically drained.

Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it also involves stressors.  Caregivers stress can be particularly damaging, since it is typically a chronic long-term challenge.  If you do not get the physical and emotional support you need, the stress of caregiving leaves you vulnerable to a wide range of problems, including depression, anxiety, and burnout.  Moreover, when you reach that point, both you and the person you are caring for suffer.

Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is the first step to dealing with the problem.

Common signs and symptoms of caregiver stress:

  • Feeling tired and rundown
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • New or worsening health problems
  • Overreacting to minor nuisances
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling increasingly resentful
  • Cutting back on leisure activities

Common signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout:

  • You have much less energy than you once had
  • It seems like you catch every cold or flu that is going around
  • You neglect your own needs, either because you are too busy or you do not care anymore
  • Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction
  • You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available
  • You feel helpless and hopeless
  • You are increasingly impatient and irritable with the person you are caring for

Taking on all the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks or assistance is a recipe for burnout.  Never hesitate to ask family and friends for help.  Be sure to schedule regular check-ups for yourself to stay on top of lurking health issues.  Be willing to relinquish some control.

Columbus Ohio Hospice Services

Hospice Has No Age Requirement

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Too many people think that “hospice” services are only for people with cancer or only for older adults.  Hospice services deal with a wide array of conditions and situations dealing with end-of-life issues, all geared towards maintaining the best quality of life while providing the best quality of care.

Hospice care in Columbus, Ohio is available regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religious belief, diagnosis or disability.  Hospice at Methodist ElderCare in Columbus does require that those seeking hospice care services with them be at least 18 years or older.  They can refer you to hospice professionals if you need services for someone needing hospice care who is less than 18 years of age.

Let’s clear up some misunderstandings you may have about hospice:

  • Hospice is not just for the last few days or the last two weeks. Hospice is designed to care for the patient and family during the last months of life.  Hospice is not a “crisis” service.  Patients and families should ask their doctor whether curative treatment will work, and what burden it will place on the patient.  An early hospice admission helps the patient and family get full benefit of hospice services, including emotional support and family services.
  • You may continue to see your own doctors, whether for your terminal illness or other illnesses.
  • Hospice is not just for the elderly or just for Medicare patients. Hospice serves adults of all ages.
  • Hospice does not conflict with the beliefs of any major religion. All faiths recognize the value of spiritual support, pain relief, symptom management and counseling during the final phase of life.
  • You need not be homebound to receive hospice care. Many patients are out-and-about at times, and some make trips while under hospice care.
  • You may leave hospice care at any time. If you would like to return to curative treatment, discuss it with your hospice team. You will be eligible to re-enter hospice at any time without penalty.

To have all your questions and concerns answered about hospice care and who qualifies for services, call Kenya George at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare today at 614-705-0892 or email her at  Don’t allow unanswered questions to keep you or a loved one from services that are available through hospice that could help your quality of life.

Hospice Care in Columbus Ohio

Hospice is Not a Place. It is High Quality Care

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When you hear the word hospice, what is your first thought? Before my family needed the services hospice offers, I thought it was a service offered in a hospital setting. It was recommended for my mother, and we were given the option to keep her at home, which made her feel more comfortable being in her own surroundings.

Many people have the wrong idea about hospice care. Hospice helps people with a life-limiting illness focus on living as fully as possible for as long as possible.

The hospice philosophy focuses on providing comfort and compassionate care not only to the patient, but also their loved ones by meeting their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice is not a place; it is a service and a philosophy of care recognizing death as the final stage of life.

Here are some hospice myths and realities that may help if you or a loved one is trying to decide whether hospice is the best option for you.

Myth: Hospice means that the patient will soon die.

Reality: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize a patient’s medical condition and address other needs.

Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.

Reality: A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, chronic lung disease, or other conditions.

Myth: Patients can only receive hospice care for a limited amount of time.

Reality: The Medicare benefit, Medicaid and most private insurances, pay for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meet the necessary criteria. Patients may come off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed.

Myth: Hospice provides 24-hour care.

Reality: The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors) visits patients intermittently, and is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week for support and care.

Myth: All hospice programs are the same.

Reality: All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs may differ. In addition, hospice programs and operating styles may vary from state to state depending on state laws and regulations. Like other medical care providers, business models differ. Some programs are not-for-profit and some hospices are for-profit.

Myth: Hospice is just for the patient.

Reality: Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity, and emotional support. The quality of life for the patient, and also family members and others, who are caregivers, is the highest priority.

Research has shown people receiving hospice care can live longer than similar patients who do not opt for hospice. If this information about hospice surprises you, take the time to find out more by calling one of our hospice specialists at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare at 614-705-0840.

The Benefits of Laughter

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I don’t know about you, but one of the best feelings in the world is a deep-rooted belly laugh. A weight is lifted with even the slightest chuckle. Yet researchers aren’t sure if it’s the actual act of laughing that makes people feel better. A good sense of humor, a positive attitude, and the support of friends and family might also play a role.

Researchers have found that laughter actually boosts the immune system increasing the number of antibody-producing T cells. This makes us less likely to get coughs and colds. It also lowers the levels of at least four hormones that are associated with stress, so after a good giggle you should be far less tense and anxious.

The benefits of a good laugh are wide-ranging and can include protection from emotional issues like depression and improving the health of your heart. Here are a few of the facts experts know about the health benefits of laughter:

  • Relieves Pain – A good chortle has been found to reduce pain. Not only does it distract you from aches, but also it releases feel-good endorphins into your system that are more powerful than the same amount of morphine. These endorphins cause something akin to a natural “high,” leading to pleasant feelings of calm, as well as temporary pain-relief.
  • Reduces Depression – Laughter has long been known to help people who are suffering from SAD or full-blown depression. Laughing reduces tension and stress, and lowers anxiety and irritation, which are all major factors that contribute to the blues.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure – People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks, so sit back and enjoy a comedy, or grab the Sunday paper, flip to the comics and enjoy your laughter medicine.
  • Produces a General Sense of Well-Being – Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to be significantly less negative. So smile and laugh!

Though the definitive research into the potential health benefit hasn’t been done yet, doesn’t it just feel good to laugh? And in the end, what is adding a little laughter to your day and to those around you going to hurt? Get your joke book out, think of a funny movie to watch, or just think back on a memory that made you laugh in the past and get that belly laugh going.