Liberty Celebrates Caregivers for National Caregivers Day

National Caregivers Day falls on the third Friday of February. It is a day to honor a special group of people who have selflessly devoted their time and energy to caring for others. 

Individuals who take on the responsibility of caring for another person provide the essentials and necessities of daily living, from medical assistance to personal grooming. Along with direct, hands-on care, caregivers also typically look after the person’s house, nurture their social connections, and deal with doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. The list of tasks can be daunting, especially when maintaining their own personal lives and careers.

Caregiving is a challenging job, and one in five Americans are currently doing it. According to a 2020 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 53 million adults in the United States are unpaid caregivers, which is up from the estimated 43.5 million caregivers in 2015.

Compared to 2015, the report also found a greater number of caregivers are providing care to more than one person. This finding, along with the increased prevalence of caregiving, shows our society continues to step up to provide unpaid care to family, friends and neighbors who need assistance. 

If you know someone who is a caregiver, here are a few ideas on how you can show your appreciation and recognize all they do for others:

  • Send them a letter or card, thanking them for everything they do.
  • Give them a small gift that can bring them comfort such as a book, baked goods, hand lotion or a candle.
  • Offer to care for the caregiver’s loved one so they can take an afternoon to rest and make time for themselves.

For our Liberty Hospice families, Liberty can provide respite services for up to five days at a time so caregivers can go on vacation or take a much needed and deserved break. Liberty can offer respite care wherever a person calls home or at one of our Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation locations throughout the Carolinas. For more information about our respite care services, give us a call at 800-999-9883 or request a free consultation online.

Liberty HomeCare and Hospice would like to thank all the caregivers who support and care for their loved ones, neighbors and friends. The kindness of caregivers should be celebrated not only on National Caregivers Day, but year-round. 


What is Terminal Lucidity?

Some people experience an end-of-life phenomenon called terminal lucidity where they suddenly experience cognitive improvement before they pass away. There is a lot of mystery as to what causes this abrupt improvement in memory, consciousness or mental clarity in the final days, and it can often leave loved ones puzzled or with a false sense of hope. 

In this article, we explain what you can expect if your loved one experiences terminal lucidity. 

Who Experiences Terminal Lucidity?

Also referred to as paradoxical lucidity or end-of-life rallying, terminal lucidity can sometimes occur in people who suffer from severe neurological or psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or schizophrenia. People with brain tumors or those who have suffered a stroke can also experience this medical mystery. 

As of right now, researchers aren’t sure why this phenomenon occurs. For this reason, it is impossible to determine who will experience it and who won't.

When Does Terminal Lucidity Happen? 

Terminal lucidity typically occurs hours or days before someone passes. The exact amount of time it lasts or when it begins varies from person to person. For those who witness their loved one regaining their mental clarity, it is important to recognize it is not a sign of miraculous healing. However, it is an opportunity to share an incredibly special moment with your loved one before the final goodbye. 

What Happens During Terminal Lucidity?

During terminal lucidity, the physical symptoms of the individual’s condition may decrease in severity. A person who was completely non-verbal or who rarely communicated may begin talking again. The individual may appear more cheerful than normal and regain interest in eating or drinking. Someone with severe memory problems may start remembering moments from their past and suddenly be able to identify people they stopped recognizing. Your loved one may even start to see or talk to deceased people or pets they’ve known during their lives. 

How Does Terminal Lucidity Affect Families?

Some families interpret terminal lucidity as a sign of healing, making their loved one’s passing shortly after the onset of the lucidity even more difficult. This is why Liberty Hospice advocates for educating families about what they can expect during hospice. We want you to be able to cherish every moment with your loved one during this precious time. 

Liberty Hospice emphasizes comfort measures and counseling to deliver physical, emotional and spiritual support for everyone involved. Our bereavement services continue for the family after their loved one passes so they do not have to go through the journey of grief alone. 

If you would like to know more about our hospice services across North Carolina and Virginia, give us a call at 800-999-9883 or use our online free consultation request form

 


Sun Safety for Seniors: How to Prevent Skin Cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 adults will develop some form of skin cancer by the age of 70. The risk increases as you age because you accumulate more sun exposure and sun damage over time. Older adults tend to have more fragile skin and some medications may also cause the skin to be more sensitive to sunlight.  

Repeated ultraviolet radiation exposure causes skin cell mutations, which can lead to skin cancer. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

There are some easy precautions you can take while enjoying time outdoors to reduce the chances of skin cancer.

Stay in the Shade

Staying in the shade is one of the best ways to prevent UV exposure. UV light is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so staying out of direct sunlight during those hours is ideal. 

Wear Sunscreen

Any time you are going to be out in the sun, be sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Make sure the product you are using has broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to check the expiration date before applying the sunscreen. Sunscreen is usually good for 2 to 3 years. 

You should apply sunscreen to all areas of the body where the skin will be exposed to the sun. Don’t forget to protect your lips by using lip balm with sunscreen. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating or swimming, even if a sunscreen says it is ‘water resistant.’

Cover Your Eyes and Head 

The face is a common location to develop skin cancer. It’s also possible to develop cancer in the eyes. When enjoying the sunshine, wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat that protects your eyes, forehead, nose, scalp and ears.

Perform Monthly Skin Examinations 

Early detection is key, so you should examine your skin once a month. If you see something new, changing or unusual, it is recommended to get it checked by a dermatologist right away. The look of skin cancer varies from person to person, but here is a gallery of some skin cancer examples. Finding and treating skin cancer early can save your life.

There is nothing quite like enjoying a warm, sunny day, so we hope these tips can help you or a loved one do so safely. 


New Year Resolutions for Caregivers

As a caregiver, you play a unique role in the life of someone else. You probably spend a great deal of your time focused on this individual, and sometimes, you may feel like you can’t balance everything. In this article, we discuss some possible resolutions for the New Year to help you on your journey as a caregiver.

Make Time for You 

While it may seem counterproductive to make time for yourself when you have a loved one to care for, it is actually much needed. You need to have enough physical and mental energy to handle the job, and that means making time for your own needs on a regular basis, whether it is an hour a week or 15 minutes a day. You need that time to recharge. 

Stop Feeling Guilty 

Some caregivers feel guilty if they cannot be present for their loved one 24/7. That guilt can make you feel like you are letting your loved one down, even if you have been giving it your all. Let go of the guilt and understand you’re only human. You might not always fulfill your role as caregiver to a T, but you’re trying. You’re doing the best you can. More than likely, your loved one sees that and isn’t going to condemn you for not being there every second of the day. Plus, to be the best caregiver possible, you need to take care of yourself first. 

Don’t Be So Critical of Yourself 

You might make mistakes along the way, but you are doing more good than you realize. When you look at yourself less critically, you can see just how much you are accomplishing for your loved one. Rather than dwelling on the negative, focus on the positive. Remind yourself that you make a difference. 

Get Organized 

You have a lot going on in your life when you consider everything it takes to care for your loved one along with a household, job, and all of your other duties. Have a calendar where you input all important dates for your home, work and loved one. Keeping your house orderly and organized can also help you manage your daily routine. 

Get Help 

They say it takes a village to raise a child and the same concept applies to being a caregiver. It takes a great deal of time, effort and work to be a caregiver, especially if you’re doing it alone. This year, you may want to make it not just a resolution, but a priority to look into home health care or hospice services for your loved one. 

Instead of doing it alone, Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services provides an interdisciplinary care team dedicated to meeting the skilled needs of your loved one. This will take some of the stress off of you and give you time to care for your own needs. We provide home health, palliative care and hospice services wherever your loved one calls home. 

If you’re ready to have an extra hand this year for your caregiving responsibilities, contact Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services today. We’re available for a free consultation by calling 800-999-9883 or using our online form.


The Importance of Family Support for Adults in Hospice

Family support is an essential part of hospice. When remaining life can be measured in months instead of years, time with family is more precious than ever before. In this article, we take a look at why family support is so important for loved ones receiving hospice.

Advocate for Loved Ones 

In some cases, individuals in hospice are not mentally or physically capable of communicating their needs. If you know your loved one’s wishes when it comes to their end-of-life care, you can advocate for them. 

Family members are also more inclined to notice when their loved one is in pain or uncomfortable just by the tone of their voice, their facial expression or other cues. You know your loved one better than anyone else. When you notice these signs, you can let your hospice care team know so they can then provide medical care to ease their pain or discomfort.

Provide Emotional Support

Your presence can go a long way for your loved one during hospice. Sharing memories, laughter and quality time can provide your loved one an extra level of comfort that medical care cannot. There are many ways you can connect with your loved one to provide emotional support while letting them know they are sincerely loved and appreciated. Visit often, lend a listening ear, provide a comforting touch such as holding their hand, share special memories and treasure the time you still have together. 

Provide Personal Care

Family members can also provide personal care for their loved one during hospice to help with everyday activities. Bathing, dressing, tidying up their home, running errands, cooking their favorite meal, delivering fresh flowers, providing transportation if needed or decorating their home during holidays are all ways family members can help their loved one.

Create the Ideal Home Environment 

You can help your loved one create a space in their home that brings them joy. Put up artwork, posters, plants, mementos or other objects they love. Add a TV or music player so your loved one can play all their favorites. These additions can offer a sense of comfort and ease any stress they may be feeling. 

How Liberty Helps You Support Your Loved One 

Dealing with a loved one who has a life-limiting illness can be stressful for everyone involved. That’s why Liberty will be there to support not only your loved one, but the entire family as we provide comprehensive hospice care.

Our hospice nurses and aides visit regularly. Their wealth of experience can help your family find solutions to problems and ideas for better quality of life for your loved one. They will also educate family members on how to administer medications and use any medical equipment that may be necessary.

If you are feeling burned out as a caregiver, our volunteers can help provide respite care so you can take a break and recharge. It is important to take care of your own mental and physical needs as well as your loved one’s.

An important part of the care we offer comes after your loved one’s journey ends. Our bereavement services can ease the impact of death and the journey that follows. Bereavement services include support programs, educational information and counseling.

Wherever your loved one calls home, whether that is in a skilled nursing or assisted living community or a private home, we will answer the call to be there with an individualized plan of care that works for everyone involved. Contact us today to learn more about our hospice services by calling 1-800-999-9883 or using our online form to request a free consultation.


When Can You Begin Hospice Care?

“I wish we had started hospice care sooner.” We hear that statement all too often when speaking with families about their hospice experience. Many families delay hospice care until the final days or weeks, but your loved one can actually benefit from hospice care for up to six months. Although hospice is often misunderstood, the care and extensive resources provided aim to be a positive experience for not only the person in hospice, but the entire family.

Qualifying for Hospice Care

Individuals of any age can qualify for hospice services. They do not need to be homebound, but must meet the following criteria:

  • Their physician uses their best clinical judgment to certify they are terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
  • They choose to receive hospice or palliative care rather than curative treatments for the illness
  • They enroll in an approved Hospice Program

Services Included in Hospice Care

Our hospice team will create a plan of care that best meets the needs of the person and their family. Some of the services available through hospice care include:

  • Nursing and medical services
  • Durable medical equipment for pain relief and symptom management
  • Medical supplies
  • Pain management
  • Social services
  • Dietary counseling
  • Spiritual and grief counseling 
  • Respite care 
  • Volunteer support 

It is important to know that hospice care is a choice that can lead to enhanced living for people and families facing end-of-life challenges. Our hospice services emphasize comfort measures and counseling to deliver physical, emotional and spiritual support for everyone involved. 

Contact us today to discuss how Liberty can support your family through hospice care by calling 1-800-999-9883 or using our online form


Liberty Home Care Locations Earn 2021 SHPBestTM “Superior Performer” Patient Satisfaction Awards

 

Liberty Home Care Locations Earn 2021 SHPBestTM “Superior Performer” Patient Satisfaction Award

Liberty Home Care locations serving Siler City, Sanford, Jacksonville, Morehead City, Mt. Airy, Elkin, Halifax and Stuart, Virginia have been recognized by Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) as a “Superior Performer” for achieving an overall patient satisfaction score that ranked in the top 20 percent of all eligible SHP clients for the 2021 calendar year.

The annual SHPBest™ award program was created to acknowledge home health agencies that consistently provide high quality service to their patients. The 2021 award recipients were determined by reviewing and ranking the overall satisfaction score for more than 2,500 home health providers. With the largest HHCAHPS benchmark in the nation, SHP is in a unique position to identify and recognize organizations that have made patient satisfaction a priority and have been rewarded for their efforts with high marks on the HHCAHPS survey.

“SHP is proud to present the SHPBest awards to our top-performing customers. We commend these organizations for their continuous focus on delivering the highest quality of care to their patients”, said Rob Paulsson, President of SHP. 

“Great job by these teams who were recognized,” said Liberty Healthcare Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilson. “Providing great care and achieving patient satisfaction at a level higher than 80 percent of the rest of the country is a great accomplishment!” 

Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services provides home health care, hospice care and palliative care throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. For additional information about our services and locations, please visit our website or call (800) 999-9883.

About Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP)

Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) is a leader in data analytics and benchmarking that drive daily clinical and operational decisions. Our solutions bring real-time data to post-acute providers, hospitals, and ACOs to better coordinate quality care and improve patient outcomes. Since 1996, SHP has helped more than 7,000 organizations nationwide raise the bar for healthcare performance.


How to Choose the Right Hospice

Choosing a hospice provider that meets the medical, spiritual and emotional needs of your loved one and family is an extremely important decision as hospice becomes an integral part of your loved one’s journey. Hospice care goes beyond the medical needs of the patient - it’s truly a support system for the entire family that remains present even after a loved one passes. 

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care focuses on quality of life when a cure is no longer possible or the burdens of treatment outweigh the benefits. Hospice provides an interdisciplinary care team that is person and family-centered that offers medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support.

Hospice is not a place but a compassionate kind of care that provides dignity and respect based on the wishes of the patient and their family. Most hospice care is provided in the home, where patients feel most comfortable. However, hospice is also offered at skilled nursing and assisted living facilities or in a hospital if needed. Family caregivers play a crucial role and hospice makes sure they are educated and supported while caring for their loved one during this stage of life. 

Questions to Ask Hospice Providers

When considering different providers, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization recommends asking a few key questions.

  1. Is the hospice Medicare certified?
  2. When was the last state or federal survey of the program?
  3. Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?
  4. What services should I expect from the hospice?
  5. How and where does the hospice provide short-term inpatient care?
  6. How long does it typically take the hospice to enroll someone once the request for services is made?
  7. Is the hospice a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization?

The NHPCO also created a downloadable checklist that further expands on the questions that could help you decide which hospice provider is the perfect fit for your family. 

While there are many hospice providers to choose from, Liberty HomeCare and Hospice is backed by a more than 145-year history of caring for seniors in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Our vast service area makes it easy and convenient to find quality care close to your loved one and our compassionate care team is eager to help your family through this special and important time. We will gladly meet with you and answer all your questions so you feel confident when deciding what hospice care provider to choose. To learn more about our hospice care services, call 800-999-9883 or request a free consultation online.


Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Selects Axxess as Healthcare Technology Partner

In an effort to improve the clinician experience with electronic documentation, improve employee retention and streamline billing processes, Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services selected healthcare technology innovator Axxess as its new software solutions partner.

“I didn’t expect to make a software transition again in my career but when we vetted Axxess it was an easy decision,” said Holly MacDonald, president of Liberty HomeCare and Hospice. “The service and communication they have provided has been above and beyond. The clinical team and the billing and financial leaders have a high regard for Axxess. We have already seen revenue growth in locations using Axxess and more of the branches are asking to be in the next implementation wave.”

Added John Olajide, founder and CEO of Axxess: “The partnership between Liberty and Axxess is a natural fit. Holly and the Liberty team made it clear that they wanted to work with a company that would be responsive and innovative so they can efficiently and effectively run their enterprise operations. Axxess is committed to working with our clients to deliver what they need, and we have the global presence and resources to do that every day.”

Liberty HomeCare and Hospice has more than 30 locations providing skilled home health, home care, hospice and palliative care services to communities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The organization has already begun the first phase of implementation with Axxess and expects to introduce the platform to additional locations in the coming months.

A team from Liberty is also among the first adopters of the new Axxess Certification Program. Axxess’ industry experts created the program to establish a new standard of education and verification for home health, home care and hospice industry knowledge and competency. Through a robust online curriculum using a series of short video modules, participants are trained and tested on their understanding of care at home industry standards and Axxess solutions. Participants may also earn continuing education credits through Axxess’ accreditation with the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

“For our clinicians, the Axxess Certification Program is going to create so many efficiencies. It will give us a standard way to get our staff properly trained,” said MacDonald. “With an organization of our size, we needed a way to uniformly train our staff. When we saw this program, we immediately knew this was the solution we needed.”

About Axxess
Axxess is the leading technology innovator for healthcare at home, focused on solving the most complex industry challenges. Trusted by more than 9,000 organizations that serve more than 3 million patients worldwide, Axxess offers a complete suite of easy-to-use software solutions that empower home health, home care, hospice, and palliative providers to make healthcare in the home human again. The company’s collaborative culture focused on innovation and excellence is recognized nationally as a “Best Place to Work.”


Liberty Hospice Pilots New Tuck-In Program

Liberty Hospice volunteers are piloting a new Tuck-In Program to improve continuity of patient care outside of normal operating hours. Deploying weekend or overnight staff for visits unassociated with acute symptom management can misdirect resources, especially when covering a broad service area. The Tuck-In Program is an initiative that aims to reduce off-shift requests by anticipating the needs of our patients when it comes to delivering supplies, medications and planning visits.

 

The Tuck-In Program uses volunteers with a scripted questionnaire to call patients each Thursday and before anticipated weather events to ‘tuck them in’ for the weekend. The results of these calls are immediately forwarded to the volunteer program manager who will prioritize the urgent or non-urgent needs so an appropriate team member can act on meeting the specific needs of patients and families before the weekend, saving costly and time consuming on-call visits and providing potential crises intervention and prevention.

 

Volunteers in Sanford and Siler City recently completed their first month of piloting the Tuck-In Program. Each Thursday, they called all of their home hospice patients and asked a series of pre-determined, specific questions to ensure our patients and caregivers are as prepared as possible for the upcoming weekend.

 

This Tuck-In Program provides an additional evaluation point, a review of service satisfaction and early identification of patient needs. It also reduces the burden of staff travel and non-emergent weekend visits.

 

“The patients and caregivers are loving the extra level of care, comfort and support the Tuck-In Program calls are providing,” said Regional Hospice Program Manager Charlotte Walton. “During our first month, we logged 124 calls and added 22 hours of additional volunteer hours.”

 

After a successful first month, Liberty Hospice offices throughout our service area in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia will roll out the Tuck-In Program in upcoming months. Volunteers are needed for this virtual program. If you are interested in volunteering a couple hours each week to help hospice patients and their families, visit our website or call your local Liberty Hospice office.