Benefit Concert: Assisting Hospice Patients - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

Benefit Concert: Assisting Hospice Patients

Featuring Scott Foster, Performer for Carnival Cruise and Cast Member of Discovery Channel’s top reality series, “Bearing Sea Gold.”   Also Featuring the Treasure Valley’s own, Michael Gray!

May 4th, 2012

8:00pm – 10:00pm

Origins Faith Community, 490 E Lane, Ontario

All monies raised will go to the Heart ‘n Home Foundation to provide hospice care to those with terminal diseases who do not have insurance or cannot afford to pay for care in this tragic time of life.

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Hospice is About Living Life Fully

I am a relatively new employee at Heart ‘n Home. I may also be one of the oldest. If you had asked me a year ago if I would be working for a hospice organization I would have questioned your sanity and said if anything, I was planning for retirement – not a new career. Then, after 10 years of dialysis, my mother said that enough was enough and she ended those treatments and chose instead to become a patient on hospice. Hospice set up a bed in her home on August 7th and Mom died peacefully in her sleep early on the 14th.  She was not on hospice very long, but it was enough for our family to gather around her, care for her, sing her favorite songs, pray with her, love her and let her love us back. I had actually worked with hospice off and on my whole career as a pastor, but this was the first time it was personal. With the help of hospice, Mom was able to live out her life fully to the end and to die well.

Her passing marked the beginning of a crazy and amazing year. I was still not looking for an opportunity to become a spiritual care worker for any hospice organization, but when my wife was given the opportunity to begin a new counseling challenge at the medical clinic in La Pine, Oregon, I thought I would see if there was any jobs available for someone with my spiritual background. I did not have much hope that I would find something in La Pine, so you can understand how amazed I was when I saw an opening there with an organization called “Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC.” I applied for the job and two weeks later I was hired.  Three weeks after my start date, I was in a completely unfamiliar town, being overwhelmed with learning a new job  and the Heart ‘n Home way. I began my spiritual care work the week before Christmas, my wife and I moved the week after Christmas, and we have been adjusting to life in the wild and crazy “city” of La Pine ever since. All together, it has been a pretty steep learning curve.

Just a few days before my mom died, my daughter gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl. My daughter lives on the East Coast and my mom in the West, but she was able to see their pictures before she died, which was a joy for all of us. This year I was able to spend a week with them on the anniversary of their births. They wore me out, but it was a wonderful weariness. Maybe I am seeing things because I want to, but I am convinced that already I can see something of my mother in each of them. He has her smile and she has her love of music.

Those two young lives mean many things to me. Love. Hope. Gratitude. Pride. Remembrance. A fierce determination to protect them, even with my life.  They also remind me that hospice is about living life fully, from birth to end of life and back to birth again.

Ron Z.
La Pine Spiritual Care Provider
Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care

 

 

Pain Control: Fear of Addiction

Addiction is not an issue with hospice patients for two reasons: First, medications that may be addictive under certain situations are used in hospice to alleviate the pain associated with the end of life rather than to cope with the environment and social stresses of life.  Medications are being taken for physical symptom relief rather than out of social or emotional need.  Second, if a disease process would disappear and hospice care would no longer be needed, the pain and symptoms associated with end-of-life issues and the disease process would no longer exist and medication would not be necessary.  There is no longer a psychological or social need for the medication, and if a physical addiction has somehow occurred, it can be easily treated.

Hospice patients generally experience two kinds of pain: chronic and acuteChronic pain is pain that occurs continuously, while acute pain occurs suddenly often in the form of “breakthrough” pain.  Acute pain often stems from physical manifestations of symptoms, whereas chronic pain may be the result of emotional, social, and spiritual discomfort as well as physical symptoms.  Chronic pain may result from the simple fear of pain itself.  When the memory of previous pain or preoccupation with potential pain is present, pain can increase.  Without pain, the memory and fear of pain diminish and symptoms can be more easily controlled.

Pain can be further divided into these five types: visceral, bone, nerve, colic, and pleuriticVisceral pain is pain of the soft tissue and is often described as a continual ache.  Bone pain is often increased with movement.  Nerve pain produces a shooting, burning, or stabbing sensation.  Colic pain come and goes.  Pleuritic pain is affected by breathing.  Each type of pain can be an indication of a potential symptom control measure.

Coming next: Key Principles of Pain Management

Congestive Heart Failure: Hospice Can Help Alleviate and Control Symptoms

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Heart failure stops the heart from pumping blood as it should, it doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped beating. The heart keeps working, but the body’s need for blood and oxygen isn’t being met.  If you or a loved one are suffering from cardiac disease, Heart ‘n Home can help.  Heart ‘n Home’s Cardiac Program meets the specialized needs of end-of-life cardiac patients.  We can help with:

  • Increasing patient/caregiver ability to manage illness at home.
  • Increasing the confidence of patient/caregiver to manage symptoms.
  • Specific Cardiac Plan of Care that monitors and manages symptoms and reduced episodes of crisis.
  • Reducing emergency room and hospital visits.

Signs of Heart Failure

  • Shortness of breath, especially when lying down.
  • Feeling tired and run-down.
  • Swelling in feet, ankles, legs, and abdomen.
  • Angina (pain or discomfort in the chest).
  • Weight gain from fluid buildup.
  • Confusion or unable to think clearly.

Causes of Heart Failure

  • Clogged arteries don’t let enough blood flow to the heart.
  • Past heart attack has done damage to the heart muscle.
  • Heart defects present since birth.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart valve disease.
  • Diseases of the heart muscle.
  • Infection of the heart and/or heart valves.

Next article:  High Blood Pressure and Those Who Are At Higher Risk.

(Adapted from the American Heart Association)

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