Preparing For The Passing Of A Loved One

preparing for the passing of a loved one

Preparing for the passing of a loved one may start the moment they receive a terminal diagnosis. In some cases, preparing for a person’s death takes place as the result of a sudden accident, unplanned accident, or as the reality sinks in that the end is near due to old age or the slow progression of a chronic condition. Whatever the case, setting the sacred tone for the passing of a loved one occurs in two parts. 

The first part is dedicated to honoring a dying loved one’s comfort, ease, and well-being to the best of your ability. The second part is the self-care you practice as you give yourself and others the time needed to feel and express emotions and to feel nourished and rested for the days, weeks, or months ahead.

Preparing For A Loved One’s Death

If someone you love has received a terminal prognosis, is ceasing treatment for a terminal illness, or you notice a senior’s life force is waning, it’s time to begin preparing for their death. No timeline is guaranteed, so the sooner and the better you set the right actions in motion now, the easier and more stress-free their actual passing will be. 

Part One: Planning For End-Of-Life Comfort And Well-Being

Your loved one’s comfort and well-being as they near their end of life is the first priority. We recommend reviewing Questions to Ask to Prepare Your End-of-Life Plan. The questions and queries cover five separate domains that are the centerpiece of end-of-life care: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, and Practical. Going over each of these and learning what would make your loved one feel most comfortable and at ease brings incredible peace of mind.  

Know that you (and they) are not alone

First and foremost, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Both hospice and palliative care agencies are dedicated to supporting your loved one’s passing, bringing everything you need into your home or the hospital, acute care, assisted living, or another place of residence. Even if it feels like death is far down the road, connecting with hospice care agencies now means you’ll know exactly who to contact when you’re ready for the many services they offer. Much of the support you’ll need is impossible to provide without compassionate and experienced outside support.

Accept help from others

Your local hospice agency of choice is the first line of resource assistance, and all of their services are 100% covered by Medicare. Through hospice, your loved one and the immediate family and caregiving team reap many benefits including:
  • Regular home visits from hospice nurses, aides, and physicians
  • Support with hygiene care, bed changing, etc.
  • Delivery of durable medical equipment as needed
  • Refills and delivery of prescription medications
  • Spiritual guidance/counseling/support
  • Grief support
  • Volunteer support to accommodate your most pressing need(s), including respite care so spouse or family caregivers can have a few hours off each week
As your loved one becomes bedbound and closer to their transition, the space-time continuum becomes a blur. It becomes more challenging to take care of routine daily tasks such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, and household chores.  Do reach out to your church, neighbors, family members, and friends and ask for what would help you the most. People are eager to support but don’t always know what to do. They need direct instructions. Online platforms like MealTrain (for meals or gift cards) and SignUp Genius (great for chores or errand needs) are an easy way to get the word out there and shared it with your network.

Create a personalized comfort space during the passing of a loved one

Part of comprehensive end-of-life planning is letting others know what you want around you as you grow closer to death and are unable to communicate with the outside world. Whether your loved one is at home or in a hospital/acute care bed, there are many things you can do to provide a sacred, peaceful, and calm space for them to be in.  Think about:
  • Photos of immediate loved ones and closest friends
  • Pictures or artwork that include their favorite places, vacation spots, memorable moments, hobbies, and other interests
  • A live plant (be careful about cut flowers which need to be replaced and could have scents that aren’t pleasant or trigger allergies for your loved one)
  • Music playlist of their favorite songs, including soothing options if they seem restless. If they love the outdoors, you might look for natural sounds that reflect the geography (birds of the forest, rainforest sounds, ocean waves, etc.)
  • Essential oils in a diffuser (used lightly and only if they are scents the person finds calming)
  • Bedding, blankets, PJs, socks, etc., that are lightweight and very soft.
  • Candles (electric/battery options are best to minimize fire risk) and dim lighting
This soothing and reverent environment brings calm and comfort to the one who is dying as well as the caregivers, friends, and family who may be coming in to spend time and participate in the vigil.

Be present and listen

As the end grows near, the body requires less and less, and most people go inward. When your loved one begins to refuse food and water, don’t panic. This is absolutely normal and best for them. The body refuses food and loses its appetite because its digestive and elimination functions shut down.  We highly recommend reading hospice.org’s amazing brochure The Dying Process, paying particular attention to the sections, “The last months of life,” and, “The final days and hours.” At this point, all you need to do is listen to your loved one’s requests and honor them. They know what they need and the gift of quiet, respectful, presence is invaluable at that point. Also, remember that there is no need to be strong. In fact, pretending to be strong blocks the emotional flow that supports a more peaceful and easy passing. It’s okay to cry, say “I love you,” “I will miss you,” “I forgive you for…,” “I thank you for…,” “I’ll always remember you as…” These honest testaments are key to the mental and emotional reckonings that are a normal part of the death and dying landscape.

Create a healing, honoring, and caring ritual

We recommend speaking to your loved one as well as immediate family and friends about the potential for creating a healing, honoring, and caring ritual after your loved one has passed and before their body is cared for by the chosen funeral home. This may include washing the body and dressing them in their chosen outfit. It may be holding a vigil for hours or days. It could be as simple as lighting a candle, wishing them well on their journey, and playing their favorite song, or simply being silent for as long as you need before the body is taken. Do not call anyone to take the body away until you and everyone else feel ready. It is a common misnomer that professionals need to whisk in and take the body to the mortuary. It’s more important that you are able to come to terms with the reality of the passing of a loved one and that their spirit or life force has left the body before anything needs to happen.

Part Two: Taking Care Of Your Needs

Your physical and emotional wellbeing is also important so you can be as present as possible with the one who is dying. Make sure to:
  • Honor the enormity of this event and take the time you need to feel and express your feelings
  • Eat nourishing foods and snacks, and get the rest you need
  • Seek grief support as needed
  • Take advantage of others’ offers to help and tell them what you need
  • Resist the urge to “keep busy.” Instead, take deep breaths, keep centered in your body, and be present with the one you love so you are attuned to their needs
  • Know your limits and honor your personal boundaries – feel free to say, “no,” to prevent resentment, overwhelm, or anger.

Let Hospice Of The Golden Isles Help You Prepare For The Passing Of A Loved One

The amazing and compassionate team at Hospice of the Golden Isles dedicates our lives to helping our clients and their families plan for a meaningful, peaceful, and comfortable passing. Please reach out to us and learn more about how we can support you during this incredibly powerful, emotional, and precious time. (912) 265-4735.

How To Start The Conversation About Hospice Care

how to start the conversation about hospice care

Hospice care improves the quality of life for patients, families, and caregivers. However, individuals often wait too long to have the conversation, reducing their chances of having full access to hospice’s full-spectrum support services. Studies show that the sooner qualifying patients receive hospice care, the longer they live, and the richer their lives become. 

It’s Never Too Early To Talk About Hospice Care

Conversations around hospice care would ideally take place long before anyone has a terminal diagnosis or prognosis. They should be part of any individual’s end-of-life care plans, so they can be implemented when the time is right. Of course, that’s not how it typically takes place. Unfortunately, most patients and their families resist talking about hospice until the patient’s death is more imminent. As the Hospice Foundation of America puts it, “A person does not have to be bedridden or in their final days of life to receive hospice care. It is most beneficial when the patient and family can receive care early to take advantage of the many benefits hospice care offers. It can be used for months, as long as medical eligibility is met.”

The Best Time To Have A Conversation About Hospice Care

Here are some of the best times to start the conversation around hospice care.

While making your end-of-life or estate plans

If you are in the process of making end-of-life or estate plans, you are at the perfect point to talk about, if and when, you’d want to enlist the support of hospice care. We recently posted an article reviewing important questions to ask as you review your end-of-life plans. We recommend discussing plans with your partners, a close friend, your children or heirs, and anyone else who has a vested interest in your wellbeing. The more you and others are made aware of your wishes, the easier it is to follow through when the time comes, and that includes initiating contacts with local hospice or palliative care agencies.

When you receive a terminal diagnosis or prognosis

Have you or a loved one received a terminal diagnosis or prognosis? Depending on your age and general wellbeing, odds are your first course of action is to pursue curative treatments. This is also a good time to learn more about hospice care versus palliative care and to discuss what you learn with your doctor. Physicians are gifted at healing the physical body and are well-versed in the most recent treatment options and cures, but they aren’t always as good at honestly letting patients assess the quality of life in their pursuit of “more time.”  The more your doctor can be honest with you about the true risks/benefits/expectations associated with potential treatment options, the more truthful they can be when/if they feel it’s time to accept the inevitable – planning for comfort care and quality of your remaining life.

You recognize the signs it’s time for hospice

If a patient is resistant to pursuing hospice, there typically comes a point where it’s impossible for a spouse, caregiver, or family members to ignore the signs it’s time for hospice. These include things like:
  • A prognosis of 12 months or less (and more crucially if the prognosis is 6 months or less)
  • You’re consumed by fears of a painful or uncomfortable death
  • You’re considering palliative care
  • You feel perpetually uncomfortable, weary, or overwhelmed
  • You or family members are suffering from anticipatory grief (the grief of the life you’re losing or will be lost)
  • You can no longer complete daily functions without support
  • You know you want to die at home or somewhere other than a hospital
  • The decision to cease curative care and pursue the most comfortable and peaceful death possible
The sooner you contact local hospice agencies, the sooner you and your loved ones have access to a wide range of support.

A conversation about hospice care is needed when you want to know about services and support available 

Hospice care agencies are always happy to share what they do with prospective clients and community members. Unfortunately, we’ve developed a stigma that “hospice = death,” and it’s just not true. Yes, hospice care is specifically designed to serve individuals with a prognosis of six months or less. However, we do that by making their lives as rich, full, independent, and stress-free as possible.  Some of the most common services available through hospice agencies include:
  • 24/7 support from qualified hospice nurses and personnel to answer questions and address immediate concerns
  • Peace of mind because of hospice’s support of pain management, symptom management, and life-enriching resources
  • End-of-life care and bereavement planning
  • Home visits from hospice physicians, nurses, and aides
  • Delivery of durable medical equipment to make life easier (adjustable beds, bedside commodes, oxygen, shower chairs, etc.)
  • Prescription refill/delivery 
  • Support with bathing, dressing, linen changes, and other hygiene tasks
  • Access to support from hospice social workers, spiritual advisors, and therapists
  • Grief support
  • Help from hospice volunteers (including respite care for primary caregivers, meal/grocery shopping, companionship, dog walking, musicians, pet therapy, and more)
What type of support do you want or need? Now’s the time to begin that conversation with local hospice agencies so you can decide who is the best fit.

Tips For Talking To A Loved One About Hospice

Are you having a hard time broaching the subject? We understand. Some of our most tried and true tips include:
  • Being patient and compassionate. It will probably take more than a single conversation, especially if your loved one is reluctant to discuss death or the need for extra support. Your patience and compassion are invaluable when it comes to helping them meet you halfway, rather than retreating out of fear.
  • Let them know you need help and support. If they can’t do it for themselves, see if they’ll do it for you. Hospice isn’t just for the patient – it’s for the patient’s family/caregiver network as well. Tell them you need the support services offered by hospice, even if your loved one never participates. That’s a great way to get hospice in the door and typically patients follow suit, even if they don’t, you’ll have access to essential emotional and practical care support.
  • Dispel common myths about hospice. Again, most people associate hospice with death rather than the life-supportive services we offer. Do your best to dispel common myths about hospice to help your loved one see the potential benefits.
  • Explore options together. Or, in some cases, ask if there’s someone else they’d rather explore their options with. Sometimes, patients feel more comfortable looking into options alone or with a trusted friend or neutral colleague rather than with a spouse or close family members.
  • Respect their feelings/decisions. Unless you feel dementia or Alzheimer’s are at play, always respect their feelings and decisions. Everyone deserves to make their own medical and end-of-life choices and your ability to respect their feelings in the present, even if you disagree, may open the space required for them to explore hospice options again in the near future.

Start The Conversation With Hospice Of The Golden Isles

Would you like to learn more about local hospice options? The amazing team at Hospice of the Golden Isles is always inspired and loves to start a conversation with anyone interested in what we do. We offer hospice and palliative care services just about anywhere you may find yourself, including your home, hospital, nursing home, or as a resident of our designated Hospice House in Brunswick. Please contact us to learn more. 912-265-4735.

Signs It’s Time For Hospice Support

7 signs its time for hospice support

If we had our way, clients would contact hospice agencies and begin learning more immediately after receiving a terminal prognosis or diagnosis. Hospice is an incredible organization. Our services are completely free of charge, covered by Medicare, and provide a well-rounded net of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support that goes far beyond the clinical care realm.

Did you know that in addition to living longer and with a higher quality of life, hospice services also extend to your family? We take a whole-family approach to caregiving and it’s never too early to learn more about what we have to offer, so you’re ready to move forward with our services when you’re ready.

7 Signs You (Or Someone You Love) Need Hospice Support

If you’re on the fence about whether or not to call hospice, we say go out on a limb and make the call. If you’re still not ready, here are the seven most common signs you need hospice or that maybe your caregivers or family are in need of the incredible support we’re here to provide.

You’ve received a terminal diagnosis/prognosis

Many people believe that hospice means you’re giving up on life and surrendering to death. If we aren’t called until the last two weeks or the last days of someone’s life, it’s inevitable that the bulk of our work is in supporting that client’s transition between life and death – without any ability to offer them the extended support they could have benefitted from for months or even years.  We prefer to be called early so clients can learn more about hospice care, our agency, and what we have to offer. Even if you choose to fight or treat your disease/condition for months or years, we’ll still be here for you when you need us. And, the sooner we are able to activate your hospice care team, the sooner you and your family members and caregivers benefit from our support.

You’re thinking about taking advantage of palliative care

Many hospice agencies, including ours, offer both palliative care and hospice services. This means qualifying patients can continue with certain curative treatments for their condition while receiving top-notch comfort care and support. Then curative treatments are no longer effective, and you’ve made the decision to cease them, you simply switch over to our hospice care team without a wrinkle or hiccup.

There is a feeling of permanent discomfort (or overwhelm)

Hospice care is centered on honoring patients and families where they are at and improving their quality of daily life any way we can, including comfort care. If you’ve come to a place where your medical conditions or debilitations cause continuous discomfort of you and your primary caregiver (spouse, family member(s), etc.) are continually overwhelmed, it’s a sign you need more support both physically and emotionally.

Daily tasks are challenging or becoming impossible

The more arduous your daily life is, the more energy you’re exerting just to exist, rather than being able to maintain as much nourishment and rejuvenation as possible. If it’s getting harder for you to perform daily tasks, let us help. Signs you need hospice include disease-related or end-of-life challenges with day to day functions, such as:
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Mobility around the house
  • Bathing, changing, daily hygiene
  • Running errands
  • Remembering to take medications
  • Etc.
…it’s time to check in with hospice. We can start by making sure you have all of the durable medical equipment necessary to support daily tasks. In addition to doctors and nurses, our hospice teams also include social workers, nursing aides, and volunteers who can help to fill in the other gaps.

You know you want to die at home

According to recent research, 80% of Americans say they’d prefer to die at home. In reality, only 20% get their wish. The other 60% die in hospitals and 20% die in acute care facilities. By and large, these facility deaths occur because the patient or their families didn’t contact hospice soon enough, which prevented the creation of detailed end-of-life plans reflecting the patient’s genuine preferences.  If you know you want to die at home, but are still pursuing curative medical treatments, that’s okay. However, we do recommend reaching out to reputable hospice care agencies in your area to learn more about them. The more you’ve established a relationship with your future hospice care team, the easier it will be to transfer on to their service when the time is right. Hospice care can be provided just about anywhere (wherever you call home, in the hospital or acute care settings, or in designated hospice houses), but having your hospice team in place at home helps to make that decision easier and exponentially reduces the risk of a panicked family member or caregiver calling 911 in the event of an emergency, which can easily land you in the hospital – away from your home, loved ones, and daily comforts.

You need hospice support if you want to die in a home-like setting

Some hospice agencies, such as ours, have designated hospice houses. These settings are heartfully designed and set up to provide a quiet, peaceful and homelike setting that is free of the hustle and bustle of the typical facility setting. There, you receive all of the same benefits of home hospice clients, including support that encompasses the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realms.

You are grieving

Did you know that in addition to our typical menu of hospice services, most hospice agencies offer grief support? Experiencing grief is another one of the signs you need hospice support. Depending on your situation, grief support is offered via professional grief support from therapists, one-on-one peer support, or in group settings. It doesn’t matter if the grief is one day old, or 50 years old, we’re here to meet and support our grieving community wherever they may be in their journey. Also, it’s important to note that grief comes in many forms. So, while we offer grief support services for those who’ve lost loved ones, we’re also able to serve those experiencing anticipatory grief, delayed grief, or other manifestations that might go overlooked by other professionals.

Get Proactive About End Of Life Care

If you’re wondering whether it’s time to call hospice, that’s one of the biggest signs of all that you need hospice or need to learn more about what we offer. Contact Hospice of the Golden Isles, at 912-265-4735, and we’ll do all we can to provide comfort and improve your quality of life.

Questions To Ask To Prepare Your End Of Life Plan

questions to ask to prepare your end of life plan

One of the biggest commonalities between nearly all of our hospice clients, particularly those that are 70 years old or younger, is the shock that they have an end of life prognosis. While we all know we’re going to die someday, most of us think of that someday as far into the future. This means our culture isn’t preparing for the end of life the way it should be.

It’s never too early to begin your end of life plan. Doing so eases the way for yourself and your family, and it helps you to live the best quality of life while you can.

Preparing Your End Of Life Plan: 10 Powerful Questions

Your hospice team is always available to help you move through these and other powerful questions aimed at preparing your end of life plan. Don’t be afraid to ask them to support you and your loved ones through this necessary process. We’ve divided the questions by domains, to help you dig more deeply into your values, beliefs, and desires to ensure you’re making end of life decisions that align with your truest needs and wishes.  The more specific you can be the better as there may come a time when you aren’t responsive or able to communicate what you want. In that case, these instructions become essential for your hospice caregivers and family members as they strive to honor your wishes throughout your end of life care.

The Physical

What is it you need to feel physically comfortable, especially when you become chair and bed-bound?

Things to consider here are:
  • Your favorite PJs, cozy clothes, socks, blankets, etc.
  • Music playlists
  • Ambient comfort, such as candles (they can be battery operated if you’re in a hospital or medical facility), essential oils, dim lights, no TV or TV on a specific station, and so on.

Do you have a medical directive in place?

Many people on hospice opt to have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order in effect, which is boldly displayed on their refrigerator and might even be above their bed. Others do not. There are also cases where the hospice patient has a DNR order but their family panics and EMTs wind up resuscitating and transporting the patient to the hospital.  Your clear, advanced directive is essential in the latter experience because those who have a copy can use it to share your wishes with attending medical personnel. If you haven’t done this already, we recommend visiting the Five Wishes website, which is a simple way to get started. Your completed documents are considered legal in the state of Maine and most other states. Share copies with anyone who should have one: 
  • Physician
  • Hospice team
  • Spouse
  • Close family members
  • A close friend or two
You can also visit mainehealth.org for more information about Advanced Directives and the types of things to think about as you craft one that represents your preferences.

The Mental 

Have you been clear in your legacy and how you’d like to be remembered (or how you’d like to remember others)?

Preparing your end of life plan offers the opportunity to perform a retrospective of sorts. What is your legacy? And, when we say “legacy,” we aren’t talking about a business, street, or town square statue with your name on it. Are you leaving a legacy of a kind person? As the best hot chocolate maker ever? The neighborhood vegetable grower? The one who always left notes for those they loved?  Reflect on your legacy and consider if there are any actions you can take to put this into physical form for the ones you’ll leave behind. If this requires acts of reconciliation, that’s entirely possible. Tackle what you can in person, by phone, or by email. If reconciliation feels impossible in that way, or the person has died, write a letter and perform some type of ritual to let it go. You’ll be amazed how much mental space is freed up this way

Do you have your financial and possession affairs in order?

Then, there is the practical aspect of mental preparation and legacy, which is streamlining the redistribution of your beloved possessions once you’ve passed. If you don’t have time or energy to work with a legal estate planner, have a neutral party help you draft a written will that you sign and date, and then share this with a trusted person or two.  The more you can use masking tape or a pencil to mark “who gets what” of your favorite things, or things you feel are just right for a loved one, the easier it is for your heirs and beneficiaries.

The Emotional 

What do you need to feel less anxious about your passing?

The last months and weeks of your life should be as peaceful as possible, which means now is the time to begin addressing any existing anxiety, fear, or stress in your life. The more you feel you’ve “put your affairs in order,” the freer you’ll be in your mind and your emotions.  Make a list of the worries, concerns, or fears you have, and then share them with your hospice nurse, social worker, or chaplain for support in how to move forward.

Have you grieved your diagnosis and pending death?

So much of the emotional angst felt by hospice and palliative care patients are The Grief of the life they thought they would have but didn’t. Or the life they thought they would be able to live, and can’t. This is powerful and these tender emotions deserve to be processed and expressed with the right individual or group.  Speak to your hospice team about the free grief support available to you.

The Spiritual

Are you giving yourself the time and space to process your experience?

Be careful of the tendency to “fill the calendar up” with rich and meaningful things in the days or weeks you have feeling relatively healthy or “okay.” We recommend striking a balance between lots of free time to process your experience, life reflections, and the emotions that come through your heart and mental landscape.  Keeping yourself busy “making the most of life,” can backfire if you aren’t balancing your time with the space to reflect, reconcile, plan, heal, and so on. This often requires a spiritual approach, even if you don’t consider yourself to be a particularly religious or spiritual person.

Would speaking with a chaplain help you sort through your thoughts, fears, or complex emotions?

Our hospice chaplains are very special individuals. While all are ordained in specific spiritual traditions, they are 100% open-hearted and respect religious, spiritual, and god-less perspectives and conversations. Regardless of your beliefs – or lack thereof – our chaplains are happy to hear about your concerns without judgment, pressure, or expectation. If you prefer to speak to a spiritual advisor or leader of a specific denomination, our well-connected chaplains can reach out to their community contacts and find just the right person to sit with you.

The Practical

Do you have your practical end of life plan complete? 

Have you made arrangements with a local home or commercial funeral center yet? We understand it’s not easy, but waiting too long often means not having the energy or the ability to share your preferences.

What would you like to have done for your body when you die? 

There are so many options, and there’s no need to whisk it off right away. Some of our patients:
  • Plan their vigil (what they want in place when they’re actively transitioning into death)
  • Make plans to have their body washed and dressed by their loved ones
  • Arrange home vigils before having their body transported to the funeral home or crematorium
  • Plan a living memorial and/or have a hand in planning their celebration of life 
Your family and loved ones will be in the midst of grief and having to make plans from scratch are stressful. The more you can do on your own or in close discussion with your family, the easier it will be for all. Again, Hospice of the Golden Isles is always happy to work with our clients and families as they answer the important questions around preparing for your end of life. Contact us to learn more about our palliative and hospice care services.

What Is End Of Life Care?

what is end of life care

End of life care is an umbrella term covering all of the ways we hope to be cared for and supported when we’re nearing and at the end of our lives. For those who are diligent about long-term-care planning, end of life care begins with completing advanced medical directives, ensuring your wishes are honored in various, unpredictable medical situations. It continues on to consider the types of treatment or support you’d prefer as age- or health-related declines make it impossible to care for themselves.

In a culture that focuses more on medical treatments than quality end of life care, this term is quickly distilled to the question of palliative care or hospice? If you’re in an immediate healthcare crisis, that’s where you should start. Otherwise, feel free to scroll down to the section “It’s Never Too Early to Begin Thinking About End of Life Care.”

Do You Need Immediate End Of Life Care & Support?

If you recently received a terminal prognosis or a diagnosis for progressive disease/syndrome, there is no time to waste. While your chosen treatment path may yield decades or years of quality life ahead, end of life plans provides peace of mind and “A Plan,” that can be enacted much more quickly than if you procrastinate and wait for a medical emergency or trauma to force the hand. We recommend meeting with hospice or palliative care services early on to interview them and learn more about what they offer. Yes, that’s right – we said “interview.” These organizations exist to serve their clients and it’s imperative that you feel safe, seen, and comfortable with whichever agency you choose. Read our post, Tips for Choosing a Hospice Care Provider to learn more about what to look for and which questions to ask as you “interview” prospective agencies.

It’s About More Than Just The Physical 

While the first step is to learn and understand all you can about your diagnosis and potential treatments, you also need extra support to make both short and long-term care decisions – including end of life options. Even the most well-meaning of healthcare providers don’t have the time (or the training) to support you in all of the ways that are meaningful as you face a prognosis or terminal diagnosis. That’s where palliative and hospice care providers provide tremendous support. While your physical comfort is certainly a priority, we are here to address every aspect of your life, including your mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. We can also help you learn more about the practical, after-death options if you haven’t already done so. Additionally, we’re here to support your family, so it becomes a team effort all the way around. We do this by offering:
  • Home or hospice house-based support via doctors and nurses
  • Personal care and hygiene support
  • Medical equipment as needed for comfort and accessibility (bed with adjustable settings, oxygen, wheelchair/walkers, bedside tables, commodes for the bathroom and bedside, etc.
  • Prescription refills/delivery
  • Chaplain or spiritual direction
  • Social workers and therapists
  • Grief support
  • A team of volunteers to provide personalized support
As we mention in our post What is Hospice Care?: Many people mistakenly believe that signing up for hospice care means surrendering to death. We often hear, “We just aren’t ready for hospice because we believe there is hope.” There is no need to give up hope while on hospice service. In fact, if you are on the fence about continuing with treatment and going on hospice, you can go on hospice and benefit from a hospice care team. If you decide to pursue further treatment, you can go back off service to honor your wishes. Ultimately – it’s all about the patient! It’s never too soon to begin researching end of life options because the longer you have to make plans, the better and more personalized those plans can be.

It’s Never Too Early To Begin Thinking About End Of Life Care

If you happen to find this blog because you’re early to the end of life planning process (meaning you’re relatively healthy and facing no current prognosis), we congratulate you. The more forethought our clients put into their end of life plans before setting them into action, the more personalized and comprehensive their plans are.  At the pre-prognosis or early diagnosis stage of the process, you have the time to craft careful plans that include your personal life values and desires and can also encompass those of your family – if that’s what you wish. This process requires:
  • Creating an advanced directive and sharing it with healthcare providers, spouse/partner, close family members, and your POA and Trustee. Click Here for a free medical directive form for Georgia. We also recommend the simple and affordable ($5) form available from Five Wishes.
  • Getting your estate plans in order, even if that’s just a basic written will or a legal trust (there are plenty of free documents online to get you started). 
  • Knowing the difference between palliative care and hospice care so you know who to call and when if/when a medical event or emergency brings you in closer proximity to your death.
  • Make your wishes known by at least two or three individuals, from different areas of your life (family, friend, trusted colleague, or a long-time neighbor) to protect the integrity of your wishes.
  • Ensuring family members, minors, pets, and heirlooms/prized possessions are taken care of when you’re gone.
If, however, you never got around to creating end of life plans, OR you find yourself facing an acute situation sooner than you thought, we recommend contacting a hospice care provider ASAP. That way you can make the very most of the time you have left, and have access to all the support you and your loved ones deserve during this precious time. Would you like to learn more about end of life care options for yourself, a spouse, or a loved one? Contact Hospice of the Golden Isles. There is absolutely no obligation whatsoever. Our mission is to ensure everyone has the highest quality of life and as much peace of mind about end of life care and options. We’re happy to answer all of your questions.

Hospice Is For The Family, Too!

hospice is for the family too

Those of us who work in hospice are passionate about what we do because we witness every day how our services improve the quality of life for both patients and families. That’s right; hospice services are designed to support the entire family unit – not just the client. 

7 Ways Hospice Is For The Family And How They Benefit

If you are in the process of deciding whether you or a loved one would benefit from hospice or palliative care services, read Tips on Choosing a Hospice (or palliative) Care Provider  Once you’ve signed up for hospice service (which is funded by Medicare, utterly free of charge, for patients of all ages), your family is immediately supported by a team of compassionate professionals dedicated to providing as much peace of mind and quality of life as possible.  Here are seven of the most important ways families benefit from hospice. 

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The Difference Between Clinical And Peer Grief Support

the difference between clinical and peer grief support

Joining a grief support group or seeking individual grief support is a powerful way to learn more about grief, how it affects you in your daily life, and process your grief to move forward in a more balanced way. 

When you begin searching for grief support, you’ll have two available options. The first is to enlist the help of a clinical grief therapist. The other is to join a peer grief support group or one-on-one peer grief support help. This post clarifies the difference between the two, so you can determine which one feels like the best fit for you at this moment.

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Types Of Grief: It’s Not Always Related To Death

types of grief its not always related to death

During one of our grief support groups the other day, a member shared that the first grief she ever experienced was when her family sold their green VW bus. She was five years old at the time, and when the family left the van at the car lot, she was beside herself with grief. She cried and cried, and her parents didn’t understand why.  

From her perspective, it was the only car she knew, and she remembers feeling like they were abandoning a member of their household without giving it a proper goodbye. She’s wanted to buy a green VW ever since. While the group nodded and smiled as she shared, we were also grateful to have a chance to share some of “The Other Types of Grief” we have experienced in our own lives. 

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When Is It Time For Hospice?

when is it time for hospice

We can’t tell you how many times our nurses, social workers, or volunteers have heard the words, “We wish we would have called hospice sooner. It has made our lives so much better.” When you’re facing a terminal or end-of-life prognosis, you and your family deserve all the support you can get. The hospice model of care is incomparable when it comes to providing that network.  

Many people mistakenly believe that signing up for hospice means that death is imminent, and they aren’t “willing to give up yet.” In fact, hospice provides comfort and support at every level – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual – for patients and their families  Remarkable Fact: Contrary to popular belief, signing up for hospice actually improves life expectancy for many patients. Based on findings from a large cohort of retrospective studies, “Receiving at least one day of hospice care may increase life expectancy by up to three months.”   But, of course, we hope that anyone facing a terminal illness would benefit from far more than a single day of our care. Whether you choose hospice care or palliative care options (more on those below), we sincerely hope you find the care you deserve as you and your family navigate this next powerful chapter in your journey. 

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1692 Glynco Parkway
Brunswick, GA 31525

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Copyright ©2020
Hospice of the Golden Isles.
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912.265.4735 | toll-free at 866.275.6801
1692 Glynco Parkway | Brunswick, GA 31525
501(c)(3) non-profit organization | License #GA063007H
Privacy Policy 
Copyright ©2020 Hospice of the Golden Isles.
All rights reserved.

Members United Way of Coastal Georgia
We Honor Veterans
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Member