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.


Is Now the Right Time for Home Care?

As we age, certain daily activities become a little more challenging. Seeing your loved one struggle with those activities and worrying about their safety and health can be difficult. However, home care is a solution that can give you peace of mind while increasing your loved one’s independence by allowing them to stay where they are most comfortable: their home. 

Liberty Home Care offers an online assessment that includes a brief questionnaire to determine if now might be the right time to consider home care for your loved one based on trends you’ve noticed over the last few months.

Assessing Physical Abilities 

Part of the home care assessment includes questions about your loved one’s physical abilities. Are they cooking meals for themselves on a regular basis or losing weight? Do they bathe and keep up with their personal hygiene or do they wear the same clothes repeatedly without washing? Are they still able to move around the house or have you noticed cuts, bruises or evidence of a fall? Those are just some of the questions that help Liberty Home Care understand what assistance your loved one might need to maintain their independence safely. 

Assessing Cognitive Abilities 

The assessment also includes questions related to your loved one’s cognitive abilities. Do they remember to take their medication or pay their bills or do you notice them becoming more forgetful? Do they ever show signs of confusion or disorientation? Do they struggle to communicate well with others? Are they still socializing with their friends or have you noticed a lack of interest in hobbies and activities? These types of questions give us valuable insight to help us create a care plan tailored to their individual needs.

How to Qualify for Home Care

We can accept a referral for home care and help determine if an individual qualifies. In North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, a physician or non-physician practitioner, such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, must order services. Once this determination and order have been made, we work directly with that physician/NP/PA and his or her staff to develop a custom home care plan for the patient. 

Conditions that generally meet coverage criteria include:

  • A new diagnosis
  • Recent exacerbation of a previous diagnosis
  • New medication or medication dosage change
  • Recent fall
  • Patient is homebound, meaning the person has an illness, medical condition or injury that restricts the ability to leave home without the assistance of others; the aid of supportive devices such as crutches, canes, wheelchairs or walkers; the use of special transportation; or those instances where leaving the home is medically contraindicated

Our Team Approach

Liberty takes a team approach to home care. Once we receive a referral from a medical provider, we develop an individualized plan of care with them to ensure every patient’s treatment is designed specifically to his or her needs. We then update the plan on a regular basis with the medical provider’s approval to make sure it adapts to the progress the patient is making. Through the entire process, the patient’s doctor, caregivers and home care staff act as a team to provide care. 

When you turn to Liberty Home Care, you’ll find a team that believes in honesty, integrity and delivering the best quality care. To learn more about our home care options and services, give us a call toll free at 800-999-9883 or visit our website. We are here to help you figure out if home care is the best option for your loved one and guide you through the entire process. 

 


January is National Bath Safety Month: Tips for Bathing Safely

With wet and slippery conditions, the bathroom can be one of the most dangerous places for seniors as they age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 older adults reported falling in 2018. That adds up to around 36 million falls, with more than 8 million of those falls requiring medical attention. Many falls happen when individuals attempt to get in and out of the tub.

Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services knows how a fall injury can immensely interfere with a person’s quality of life. That is why we believe protecting your loved one from injuries is a vital part of the care we provide. We also encourage families to be proactive by taking steps to keep their loved ones safe, especially during National Bath Safety Month in January.

 

Consider Installing Grab Rails

Think about installing grab rails in the tub, beside the shower and near the toilet for your loved one. He or she can hold on to them as they get in and out of the tub and maneuver around the bathroom.

 

Discuss a Shower Chair

A shower chair may be a great option so your loved one can sit comfortably during the entire shower to prevent their legs from giving out or them slipping. You will want to make sure the chair has a non-slip seat and rubber tips on the feat so it won’t slip and slide in the tub.

 

Make Shower Items Easily Accessible

You can decrease your loved one’s need to stand up and potentially slip and fall by rearranging all shower items so they are within reach when your loved one sits.

 

Check the Lighting

Age-related vision loss is an issue that may occur as early as a person’s mid-40s. Problems with visual acuity decrease your loved one’s ability to see in the bathroom. Ideally, you should make sure the bathroom is properly lit. Check the bulbs regularly and replace them if you notice one burned out.

 

Remove Rugs

Bathroom rugs may be an essential décor piece and protect your bathroom floor, but these rugs are a tripping hazard. Remove all the rugs in the bathroom to reduce your loved one’s risk of falling. If you plan to replace them, use non-slip versions only.

 

Hire a Home Care Aide

If you don’t already have an aide coming to assist your loved one, call Liberty Home Care. Our certified nursing assistants can visit your loved one’s home and ensure he or she bathes regularly and safely. They can also help with other personal care services and daily living activities.

Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services can perform a safety evaluation of your home and create a custom care program that fits the needs of your loved one. We provide home care services throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Call us today at 800-999-9883 or use our online consultation request form.


holding hands

Moments that Matter: Quality Vs. Quantity

Liberty Homecare and Hospice offers a range of services to hospice patients to improve their quality of life. We work with families to help them make the most practical and beneficial decisions for their loved one. Often, this means choosing to enhance the person’s quality of life rather than extending the quantity of life.

 

Why Treatment Isn’t Always a Feasible Course of Action

Hospice is specifically for patients who are approaching the end of life. For some of them, the journey has been a long road that’s included them fighting hard for every last breath. Others, however, may have just received a terminal diagnosis and treatment isn’t possible, could be difficult, or isn’t what’s desired.

In these cases, a family is choosing to optimize their quality of life as opposed to treating the illness. At this point, it’s vital to make the individual’s last few months or days the best possible rather than putting them through an aggressive or invasive treatment.

 

Deciding on a Treatment Plan

We understand choosing quality over quantity is a difficult decision to make. We encourage our families to think about what their loved one wants. Additionally, we suggest families put themselves into their loved one’s position and consider how they would feel given the circumstances.

When your loved one receives a terminal diagnosis or is approaching the natural end of their life, Liberty HomeCare and Hospice can fully explain all the options for your family so you are equipped with the knowledge to make a decision that is best for your loved one.

 

How We Enhance Quality of Life

Our hospice care stresses the importance of comfort measures. Your loved one should be comfortable and at ease during this time. Our caregivers will carefully monitor your loved one’s pain level and intervene with pain medication as necessary.

We also stress the importance of living life to fullest while you still can. Our caregivers, chaplains and volunteers will work with your family to help you create Moments that Matter for your loved one to bring them joy. We know the importance of mental and spiritual wellness during this time. We want to be a resource for your family to lend an ear, hand or provide guidance as needed.

Your loved one deserves to pass with dignity, and comfortably. We know how hard this time is for the patient and their family. Our goal is to ensure the transition is peaceful and exactly what you and your loved one want.

Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services provides something that treatment can’t at this stage -quality. We believe that every moment your loved one spends should be one that is pain-free and as pleasant as possible. Sometimes, the best decision you can make for your loved one is for the highest quality of life possible, even if it means sacrificing quantity.

Contact Liberty HomeCare and Hospice Services to discuss how we can assist your loved one and improve their quality of life by calling 800-999-9883. You may also use our online contact form as well.


Music Therapy: The Benefits for People in Hospice

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” – Elton John

Music has the power to evoke strong emotions, transport us back in time, lift spirits, ease and relax the mind and so much more. Music therapy can play an essential role in helping a loved one feel calm and at peace, while improving their mental health and overall well-being. For those in hospice care who are struggling physically, emotionally or spiritually, music can be an outlet to relieve some of their anxiety, stress or depression.

According to the American Music Therapy Association, the main functions of music therapy for hospice patients include:

  • Decreasing pain and discomfort through individualized interventions
  • Facilitating family communication, relationship completion and social interaction through creative means
  • Providing alternative opportunities for processing emotions related to death, dying or bereavement
  • Facilitating avenues for spiritual expression and support

At Liberty HomeCare and Hospice, our caregivers, volunteers and chaplains utilize the power of music for hospice patients on a regular basis to bring them comfort and help them feel relaxed. Music can boost moods, lessen pain, relieve agitation and promote deeper breathing.

A recent study found hospice patients have preserved hearing towards the end of life. Even when a loved one becomes unresponsive, they may still be able to hear, making music an important element for end of life care.

To learn more about our hospice services and how our team can incorporate music into your loved one’s care, call 800-999-9883.