Entering hospice care can be quite the role reversal for families who may have previously taken a back seat in their loved one’s care to let the professionals lead. Once a patient has been discharged from the hospital to enter hospice, families will now be responsible for certain tasks that were previously handled by medical staff. In our previous article in this series, we walked through the various details that families will need to take care of once their loved one is rea
Caring for a loved one can be a full-time job where even the best multitaskers may quickly find themselves overwhelmed. With many different aspects of care to consider, it may become increasingly necessary to divide the role of caregiver. Having the support of others who share a common connection to a sick or aging individual, ensures that no one person is weighed down with the responsibility of care. Additionally, it gives the sick or aging person a chance for more personal,
Cheryl Crawley was not an only child, but it felt that way. As the youngest of four, her nearest sibling was ten years older, so memories of her sister and two brothers together in the same place are precious but few. Maybe that’s why as a certified nurse assistant at the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis, Cheryl always makes sure to ask her patients about their past and favorite memories. That’s probably why she works hard to create new, happy memories as well.
Jasmine King grew up near the Missouri Botanical Gardens in downtown St. Louis, and her family's roots have always been intertwined in the neighborhood. Her mother and four siblings lived comfortably together. And, her great grandmother lived upstairs in an apartment in the same building. Her grandfather lived just around the corner. Even when Jasmine left childhood behind, she didn’t stray far from home. Her husband, Vernon, is her high school sweetheart and grew up in St.
Caregiving has always been a part of life for Alene Martin. As the second of five children, she spent a lot of her adolescence helping her busy mother, who worked two jobs to support the family, care for her younger siblings. “We really didn’t know we were poor. My mom worked so hard, and I wanted to help her. I didn’t find out until I was much older that there were times she would cry because we didn’t have enough food for everyone.” When Alene was nine years old, her Aunt M
For over 30 years, VNA nurses and aides have supported caregivers of patients we serve. Through our support, we’ve listened to thousands of stories and reflections, and many have communicated things they wish they’d known before taking on a caregiving responsibility – things that could have improved their experience. Here are the five most common insights mentioned: 1. “The conversation” is best ahead of health decline. Don’t wait until a loved one is in an advanced stage of
When is it the right time to seek out hospice care for a loved one suffering from Parkinson’s? In true Parkinson's disease, a person becomes slow and stiff, has notable tremors at rest, and eventually has memory impairment. In the early and mid-stages, medications and some special devices can help control these symptoms. But, eventually people affected by Parkinson's begin to fall more and more frequently and eventually stop working altogether despite treatments. When patient
It is said that God only gives us the life he knows we can handle, but during the end-of-life stage, limits become challenged and it is difficult to gauge what circumstances people can endure. We all know that end-of-life is a part of the human journey, but when that time comes, many can become disoriented and disheartened; many only focus on the life events yet to be versus the ones that have happened, and those thoughts can make people scared, isolated and lost. The intern
Throughout the #shareandprepare series, we’ve stressed the importance of writing down end-of-life care wishes. These written instructions, called Advance Directives, are legal documents that communicate wishes in the event that a patient is unable to speak for themselves.
“The Advance Care directive is the combination of the durable power of attorney and the living will,” say Deb Schuster, an elderly law attorney practicing in both Illinois and Missouri. “The reason why we
Once our patients have discussed their end of life care wishes with their loved ones, it is important for them to decide how and when to have the conversation with their healthcare team. Physicians are powerful advocates during the end-of-life process, so it is important they know a patient’s priorities and values. “Everyone should be thinking about what they want towards the end-of-life at any age in their adulthood,” says Dr. Mary Fox, Medical Director for Advanced Illness
The holidays can be one of the most difficult times of the year to manage grief with the festive season often making the loss of a family member more painful. VNA’s chaplain Kathleen Stock has been working at VNA for over 17 years, and she explains that a family member's death changes the expectations of the holidays. “Holidays are filled with expectations of how things should be,” said Stock. “When there’s a death of a loved one those expectations are changed, because that p