Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hospice Enhances Quality of Life for Patient & Caregiver

As a hospice social worker, I find it so gratifying to provides resources and supports to enhance a patient's quality of life and to strength his/her caregiver(s).

I recently worked with a patient who was cared for at home by his wife. The couple had a vacation home in northern Arizona, and was able to travel there from time to time while our patient was under hospice care. Since he needed his hospice services to remain in place while he was away from his Tucson home, we arranged hospice oversight for him in northern Arizona.

While under hospice oversight, our patients remain under the care of Casa de la Luz, and we partner with another hospice in the area where the patient is visiting. The other hospice will respond to a patient's needs for the duration of the vacation. For example, while my patient and his wife were in northern Arizona, if he needed hospice attention, his wife would call Casa as usual. Then, a Casa staff member contacted the oversight hospice for follow up with the patient. This arrangement works well for patients who are able to travel. Patients enjoy an enhanced quality of life while still receiving the benefits of hospice care.

Hospice oversight also helped our caregiver. The wife frequently told me that when she was able to get away from Tucson to their vacation home, she could "feel the stress melt away." Those breaks from the norm allowed our caregiver to rest and relax and focus on time with her husband during his last days.

This couple was also able to utilize the hospice respite benefit. Hospice patients are periodically entitled to five days of respite care in an approved facility so the caregiver can have a break to rest or travel or attend to other important matters.

The respite benefit allowed the patient's wife to visit and spend time with grandchildren while her husband was cared for in a skilled nursing facility. By arranging respite care for our patient and his wife, she was able to rest from caregiving and enjoy special celebrations with her grandchildren.

She said, "The supports of hospice respite and oversight allowed me to have the energy to care for my husband all the way through to the end of his life. The breaks were available just when I needed them. I couldn't have done this without hospice support!"

By Lisa Daniels, Social Worker

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