Caregiver Support

Mass Options - Your Link to Support

Caring for a loved one or friend who is aging, has a disability or an illness is rewarding but can be challenging. Below are examples of caregiver resources available throughout the state that can connect caregivers to food and nutrition programs, in-home care, financial assistance, transportation, respite services and much more visit the Family Caregiver Support Program on Mass Website.

Hospice Care - What to Expect When You Choose Hospice Care

Mortality is something we all must face one day, and there is no easy way to prepare for it. When a family member or loved one is close to the end of their time with us, it can be difficult to recognize the signs that they need specialized attention to make them as comfortable as possible in the time that remains. Whether your loved one resides in assisted living or at home, for those who are terminally ill, hospice care can be the best solution for receiving medical attention and the necessary emotional support. Although nothing can prepare you for the pain of losing a loved one, hospice care can help prepare them for the end. Here's what to expect with hospice care.

Insurance Coverage

Anyone can refer someone to hospice, but most patients are referred by a healthcare professional who has given a prognosis of fewer than six months to live. If you and your loved one decide the time is right, you will want to start by checking their insurance to find out if hospice care is covered. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health plans cover hospice care, but if you have any concerns, you can contact your local hospice provider to verify coverage and begin the referral process. If you or your loved one need additional assistance on navigating Medicare, look to SHINE for confidential counseling on Medicare.

Legal Affairs

Before entering hospice care, it is important to get all of your loved one's affairs in order. This means talking to them about the uncomfortable side of death and planning for the future, like funeral arrangements and any legal documents or advanced directives. Two common advanced directives are a living will, which lets your loved one state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, and power of attorney, which names the person who can make medical decisions for them if they cannot make those decisions themselves. There's also the last will and testament, which is a legal document stating how a person's property is to be executed and distributed after their passing. It is important to make sure these aspects are handled, but if you have questions, check with your family's attorney.

Hospice Team

As you help your loved one begin their hospice care, be mindful of their needs and preferences. You'll want to talk with their healthcare workers and social workers, who are trained to address their end-of-life needs. Social workers provide counseling and emotional support while making sure the patient's wants and wishes are addressed. At the heart of hospice is the focus to make patients feel comfortable without directly treating an illness that's no longer treatable.

Determining Care

Once you meet with your loved one's specialists, they'll be able to help determine the best care suited for your loved one while trying to satisfy all physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Some of the things they'll likely address are the patient's pain management and quality of life, including the relief of symptoms. With the hospice team's recommendations, you'll be able to come up with a plan to make your loved one's transition as easy as possible for everyone. Remember that while there are several people involved in making decisions, the most important interest is that of your loved one who will be receiving the care. visit the Types of Care Palliative care and hospice care on Cancer Care Website.

Although you cannot change what's happening to your loved one, you can make them as comfortable as possible in their final days. And while hospice care has a stigma of finality associated with it, its purpose is aimed at helping people who are dying to have peace, comfort, and serenity in their final days. Once your family has come to terms with the fact that the illness has run its course, hospice is the best thing you can provide for someone in their end-of-life stage.

This hospice information provided courtesy of: Email Lucille Rossetti

For additional information visit the Bereaved Website.