End of Life Care in Portland, ME
Learn why it's important to have the end of life care conversation early and often.
When a senior loved one chooses to remain at home during their final months, weeks, or even days, there are many considerations that must be taken into account. Comfort Keepers end of life care can help.
Initially, a seniors comfort and quality of life must be addressed. Hospice, or end of life care, is designed to ensure seniors have their pain and other symptoms monitored and addressed in a timely and compassionate way. Granted, these things do not just happen by themselves, which is why planning for this type of care is so important.
Preparing for End of Life Care
The type and extent of end of life care that is available are largely dependent on a senior's ability to communicate their needs and desires. In situations where communication is deteriorating, it is important to have a conversation about future care, including hospice. These conversations should lead to documentation such as advanced directives, medical powers of attorney, and living wills. Without the proper paperwork, your senior loved one's care may not be all that you or they hand in mind.
End of life care paperwork should be readily available. Once your senior loved one's condition starts to deteriorate and the decision is made to move from curative options to comfort care, you do not want to start looking for documents. In order to keep palliative care options fluid and a transition to end of life care seamless, paperwork should be presented to your loved one's primary care doctors, kept in a folder to show emergency room staff or first responders, and with a family member who can quickly fax them, if necessary.
End of life conversations should not be a one-time occurrence. Once the challenge and difficulty of having the initial conversation have been overcome, the decisions should be talked about and reconsidered at various points along your loved one's journey. It is always easier to think about what might be, but when your senior loved one is actually in their final months, weeks, or days, they may have a different perspective or want some changes to their end of life plan. Open, frequent, and consistent communication will best serve all involved. Note: Keep a master list of what documents have been prepared and who has a copy. If there are any changes made to any documents, be sure that the old copies are destroyed and replaced with the newer versions.
In short, end of life care is an essential component to a high quality of life and dying with dignity. While this time is never easy, proper planning can make a significant difference for all involved. For more information on the ways Comfort Keepers can help you and your senior loved one during this challenging time, contact a senior care coordinator today.