Neurological diseases introduce dramatic lifestyle changes, from the use of ventilators and feeding tubes to changes in one’s ability to complete simple tasks. As these diseases progress, it may become necessary to consider hospice care. Whether a loved one’s loss of function has been abrupt or gradual, hospice care can help them maintain a high quality of life when recovery is unlikely. Here’s how hospice care can provide much needed medical and emotional support for those with neurological problems during what can often be a difficult phase of life.
Causes of Neurological Concerns
Several health conditions can cause neurological problems that make it difficult to enjoy life and function normally. If your loved one has had a stroke, they may experience a severely reduced level of consciousness and a continual decline in physical health, including reduced mobility, difficulty speaking, and decreased mental abilities. They can also fall into a persistent vegetative state and even comas. People in comas often deteriorate physically despite adequate nutrition and hydration, though these may be difficult to provide due to a desire to avoid feeding tubes and mechanical ventilation.
Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis come with their own concerns, primarily severe difficulty with breathing, swallowing, and moving around on their own. As with other neurological conditions, they may rapidly progress to being in a wheelchair or bed-bound as a result of mobility issues. Their ability to speak intelligibly may quickly decline, and they may need major assistance when eating and completing personal care tasks, such as bathing, toileting, and getting dressed.
How Hospice Care Can Help Loved Ones
People experiencing neurological conditions must quickly adapt to a new lifestyle. Hospice care can help them retain some sense of independence, when possible, and enable them to feel more comfortable. Here are some important services a hospice care team provides.
Neurological problems have serious physical effects. Your loved one may experience muscle spasms, cramps, and stiff joints as they lose mobility. The hospice care team can provide pain management through medication and physical therapy. They can help to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Other symptoms, like difficulty breathing, swallowing, eating, and communicating, may occur. Your loved one can also develop depression or anxiety as a result of the many overwhelming changes happening. Through the support of doctors, nurses, home care aides, and therapists, your loved one’s symptoms can be reduced, allowing them to live life more comfortably.
With so many new concerns each day, it is important to reduce fear and unfamiliarity wherever possible. That’s why being able to stay in one’s own home can make a significant difference in mood and quality of care. Most hospice care services are available in homes, inpatient facilities, assisted living communities, and wherever else your loved one might be residing, helping them feel more at ease.
When your loved one receives hospice care, they receive the coordinated attention of an entire team. This team will communicate with your loved one’s neurologist and other physicians to create an effective, customized care plan and update it as necessary as your loved one’s condition changes. The team will also coordinate and supply all medications, medical supplies, and medical equipment needed while they receive care. As a result of this team effort, your loved one will receive everything they need in a timely manner.
Emotional and Spiritual Support
The end of one’s life is often an emotionally exhausting and frustrating time. To help soothe feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, and more, hospice care teams include mental health counselors and spiritual advisors, if requested. Emotional and spiritual support provides your loved one with a confidential way to express their feelings.
How Hospice Care Can Help Families
Families also receive benefits as their loved one enters hospice care. Caregivers can receive expert guidance and education from the hospice care team when it comes to caring for their loved one’s needs and making difficult decisions. They also receive the same access to spiritual and emotional resources as their loved one to help them process their own emotions. Finally, caregivers can use hospice services as a form of respite care. Hospice care patients can receive up to five consecutive days and nights of inpatient care while caregivers rest, deal with other responsibilities, or attend major events, allowing them to return refreshed and energized again.
Acquiring Hospice Care Services
Contact Harbor Light Hospice for more information about neurological problems and to acquire hospice care for a loved one who is experiencing neurological issues. Harbor Light assembles a team of qualified nurses, doctors, therapists, and counselors who are specially trained in end-of-life care for each patient. This team then creates a personalized care plan based on each person’s individual and family needs and provides care in the familiar surroundings of home.