Role Of Home Health In Palliative Care
A few decades ago, when a person was terminally ill or dying, they would be surrounded by family members who would helplessly watch their loved one in pain. However, this is no longer true. Palliative care has become a big part in helping chronically ill patients and seniors. Today, many people want to die at home among their loved ones and hence, palliative care has made its way into homes.
The role of home health in palliative care often is important for the emotional wellbeing of the patient. Invariably, it is the spouse who offers the home care and if the spouse is not there, then it is one of the children. It has been seen when home care is provided along with palliative care, family members tend to cope better with the death of a loved one. However, researchers reckon that when family member are involved in home care of a dying patient, it has an adverse effect on the physical and mental well being of the family. This is primarily because the health care professionals that give palliative care often ask the caregivers to be professional, something that the caregivers cannot be. They find it difficult to set aside their emotional feelings when caring for a dying loved one.
Nonetheless, when a person is dying, home health plays an important role. The family is best equipped to understand what the person needs. And, they are in a position to provide for the person. Home health helps to improve the quality of life of the person, as he or she is surrounded by loved ones. On the other hand, palliative care looks to ease the pain that the person is experiencing with the help of medication. It can also involve giving spiritual help and counseling the patient and family members to cope with the illness.
Palliative care tries to ensure that the dying person is comfortable where health is concerned. But home care ensures that the person is emotionally comfortable. Being surrounded by loved ones allows the person to say their final goodbyes to everyone and also express their regret for things they did not do or could have done better. This puts the dying person’s mind at rest. So, in a way, being at home allows the person to be at peace with himself or herself.
Many dying patients who get palliative care in hospitals, hospices or nursing homes are often depressed. Depression is not always seen in patients who are allowed to die at home. Hence, many a times, doctors may suggest home care for dying patients. But doctors ensure that such patients also get palliative care while staying at home.
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BMC Palliative Care: Caregivers' active role in palliative home care – to encourage or to dissuade? A qualitative descriptive study