04 Feb Partners in Care: Palliative’s Role in Senior Living
Over three-quarters of a million seniors are currently living in senior living communities. The majority of these residents have at least one chronic health condition that could benefit from the support of palliative care. That support can mean the difference between staying in the residence of their choice versus in-patient hospital care.
Palliative care manages the symptoms of any serious illness including cancer, diabetes, congestive heart failure, dementia and COPD.
“As we are involved in symptom management, we can address issues and document that the resident’s needs are being addressed for the assisted living facility” says Fonree Godfrey, RN, Director of Nursing for Aegis Homecare and Hospice.
“We also assist with behaviors in dementia patients. Behaviors can make care for that individual very challenging in any setting. Helping to control these symptoms can make life better for the staff, the patient, and fellow senior living community residents.”
Late night runs to the hospital are worrisome and disruptive for both residents and their senior living care team. Crisis prevention through effective symptom management by the palliative care team in senior living facilities reduces those 911 calls and hospitalizations. Coordination between care settings is crucial to avoiding hospital re-admissions, and palliative care is the bridge between a patient’s doctor and senior living staff. The team ensures patient needs are met and that everyone supporting that patient is kept informed.
While more and more people are talking about end-of-life wishes, it is essential that those wishes are properly documented and communicated.
“One major benefit of palliative care in assisted living facilities is being there to spearhead the conversations about goals of care much sooner than they may normally come up,” says Rick Wesley, MSW Aegis Social Worker “This ‘anticipatory guidance’ can help keep people in place and ensure their wishes are being honored.”
There’s No Place Like Home
Senior living facilities are home to their residents, and they hope to remain there for as long as possible. Palliative care can keep a person in their current living situation longer. This may allow a person in senior living to do that in a more independent environment for a longer period of time, reducing the number of transitions.
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For more information on how Aegis Homecare, Hospice and Palliative Care supports senior living living facilities, please call us at 480-219-4790.