When a family is confronted with a loved one being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness it’s so important to have the support of a strong proactive social service team. This is a time when the patient and family should be living well with an awareness of their life-limiting illness. Homestead Hospice understands the needs of the patient and family to feel mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually whole. It’s when the patient's and family's wishes should be heard, needs are identified, and all possible resources are explored. The professional team of Homestead social workers will focus on individualized support needs; ranging from coordination of community resources to providing companionship and emotional support.
Often, we see individuals and families experience difficulties processing emotions when a terminal diagnosis has been given. People are overwhelmed with feelings of "could have, would have, and should have." The key to Homestead’s social service counseling is to begin discussions that are important to uniting individuals and families. Understanding each other is essential when life is measured in months, not years.
- Assist with identifying and strengthening positive coping methods
- Self-care of caregiver
- Educate on self-care for caregiver and/or family members
- Identify self-care opportunities for the caregiver and assist with fulfilling those need
- Empathetic listening and self-expression
- Spend time with the patient and family members listening, validating and enhancing their emotional expressions
- Provide emotional support for the patient and the family to find closure
- End-of-life goals
- Empower the patient to discuss topics related to their passing and changes in their physical abilities
- Discuss end-of-life planning with the family in a dignified manner
- Identify goals for patient fulfillment by helping them to find meaning and purpose in their life
- Life review (reliving past memories)
- Facilitate the expression of emotional and life experiences to help individuals understand the various emotions they will experience
- Preserve a patient's history so their memories can live on through life reviews
- Family meetings
- Facilitate family meetings to discuss a loved one's care and diagnosis
- Support caregiver meetings with education about the medical diagnosis and where care needs can be expressed
- Enable participants to interact with each other to ask questions and share feelings about their loved one's diagnosis
Planning for end-of-life care is needed to ensure that your loved one's wishes regarding medical care is properly carried out and understood by the entire family. Advance directives takes the burden of decision making away from family and doctor and provides dignity and autonomy for your loved one.
- A living will also called a directive to physicians and a type of advance directive, is a document that lets a person state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions.
- A durable power of attorney for finances or financial power of attorney is a way to allow someone else manage finances in the event an individual becomes incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions them self. The power is granted in a document, it grants someone legal authority to act on the individual’s behalf for financial issues.
- A durable power of attorney for health care or medical power of attorney will allow an individual person to make these decisions them self. This applies to all health care decisions and for all types of medical conditions.
- Do not resuscitate (DNR) order is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient's breathing stops or if the patient's heart stops beating.
- Estate planning is one of the most important steps any person can take to make sure that their final property and health care wishes are honored, and that loved ones are provided for in their absence.
Support at Home
The social services team has the in-depth knowledge and expertise to assess eligibility and to identify if a loved one needs additional assistance to live stress-free and comfortable in the next step of life’s journey.
- Home safety evaluation
Points of evaluation are:
- Is an emergency call system is needed?
- Check placement of rugs to decrease risk of falling
- Is there a wandering risk?
- Is a handicap ramp and parking permit in place or needed?
- Is a medication reminder system needed?
- At-home Services
- Utility assistance
- Prescription assistance and delivery
- Mobile physician services
- Hearing aid program
- VA Aid and Attendance
- Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person.
- Medicaid Homemaker Services
Medicaid beneficiaries may receive services in their own homes, which could include:
- Sitter services
- Meals for the homebound
- Light housekeeping and assistance with other daily living activities
- Provides an explanation of Medicare health benefits and can be an advocate to assist in receiving all eligible benefits
Resources of Alternative Living
- Check eligibility and provide options for alternative living facilities
Each culture, religion and spiritual group has its own specific funeral rites and practices that prescribe how to remember or honor the deceased. Homestead honors the culture and spiritual rites of each patient we serve and will support a loved one’s final wishes and provide emotional support for the family during this difficult time.
- Funerals and Memorials
- Identify funeral/cultural traditions
- Contact specific clergy for family counseling and assistance
- Burials, Cremation and Cemetery
- Identify funeral preference
- Assist and explore the options for the final resting place of a loved one's ashes
- Discuss remains scattered at a meaningful location
- Financial Assistance may be available through local counties and veteran benefits, which could include burial in national cemetery, headstones or markers, a burial flag and burial allowances.
Call Homestead Hospice Social Service Hot Line (678-507-3817) and we can talk about your needs, and your next steps to receive care, comfort and peace of mind for your loved and family.