When serious health issues arise, it can be confusing to know how to find help. When we are young and healthy, we go to the doctor or hospital if we get sick. We even call 911 if things get serious enough. But what happens when this standard approach doesn't provide the needed relief? Are other options available when chronic illness or general decline create hardships for which traditional approaches are inadequate?
Not surprisingly, most people want to maintain control over choices that affect their lives. This includes making medical choices when they are sick. Navigating serious illness is difficult, and often people are not aware there may be alternatives which can bring more comfort and support during this season. Understanding these treatment options, along with their likely outcomes, is where we come in. Educational conversations which include families and primary care providers (Doctors, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants) are sometimes difficult but very important. Without this "big picture" perspective, the goal of maintaining control over your medical choices becomes less achievable.
There are many things to consider:
- Is it still right to seek more medical treatment, even if it isn't helpful? Or is it time to be comfortable and out of pain?
- Should you still go to the Doctor and hospital each time there is an issue or would it be better to stay home as long as you can be kept comfortable?
- Can your loved one still make their own decisions? If not, is there someone who knows what they would want?
- Is there a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care assigned with appropriate legal paperwork?
- Are they safe to be in the environment in which they live? For example, can they safely continue to live at home?
- Do they need to live in a facility of some sort and if so, which type? Retirement Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Adult Family Homes, Skilled Nursing Facilities, all provide different levels of service.
- Do they need services to come to them, in their own home? Do they need help with household chores, cooking, bathing or other medical needs?
These and many other questions need to be explored, yet it's hard to navigate these waters without someone who knows the medical system. Call the compassionate professionals at Horizon Hospice and Palliative Care. We can help answer questions, refer you to resources, help you pick out an appropriate facility and many more things. You don't even need to make any commitments with us. We are happy to help. 509 489-4581