Palliative care at home is a form of medical care designed to offer relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness while being in the safety and comfort of your own home.
What is palliative care at home?
Palliative care at home is a specialized area of healthcare that helps you and your loved ones by providing relief from the diagnosis.
- Managing the symptoms
- Easing the pain
- Minimizing the stress
Unlike hospice care, which is meant for those in the final stages of life, palliative care is appropriate at any stage of a serious illness and can be provided alongside curative treatment.
How does palliative care work?
Palliative care works by offering a multidisciplinary approach to treatment that includes collaborative effort from your team of healthcare professionals, such as:
- Social workers
This type of care is based on your needs, not prognosis.
With that in mind, your team will design and work on a care plan that prioritizes your holistic well-being.
Who can benefit from palliative care at home?
Palliative care at home can benefit anyone with a serious illness who is seeking relief from symptoms and stress while wishing to remain at home, rather than in a hospital setting.
This includes people with:
- Heart disease
- Chronic lung disease
- Multiple sclerosis
What does palliative care at home look like?
By working closely with your primary care physician, your palliative care team will regularly visit you to:
- Help in managing symptoms
- Provide emotional and social support
- Ease the pain
- Assist with decision-making about the treatment
- Navigate the healthcare system
In-home vs. out-of-home palliative care: What’s the difference?
The key difference between in-home and out-of-home palliative care is the setting.
In-home palliative care is provided in your residence, which provides a level of comfort and convenience that cannot be matched by out-of-home care settings such as hospitals or care facilities. This allows you to stay near loved ones and in the environment you cherish, which can significantly enhance your quality of life.
How do you set up the home for palliative care?
Here are steps to create a conducive environment for palliative care at home:
1. Set up the bedroom.
The bedroom should be a haven of comfort and ease. The bed should be accessible from both sides, and the room should have enough space to accommodate medical equipment, if necessary. Adjustable beds can be particularly helpful, as they allow you to change positions for comfort and care.
2. Prioritize safety.
To easier navigation at home, consider the following:
- Remove any tripping hazards
- Install grab bars and railings where needed
- Install lights on dim areas
3. Create a comfortable and peaceful environment.
A serene environment can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life. Make the space more welcoming and soothing by adding:
- Soft lighting
- Calming colors
- Personal touches like family photos or favorite artwork
4. Arrange for medical equipment and supplies.
Depending on your condition, you may need different medical equipment, such as:
- Oxygen machines
- Hospital beds
Stocking up on necessary supplies also helps to avoid any last-minute rush. These include:
- Prescribed medications
5. Establish a communication plan.
Create a plan on how to communicate with caregivers and medical professionals. This may include:
- Having a phone within reach
- Setting up a bell or intercom system
- Establishing a routine check-in schedule
6. Develop a care plan.
Be an active collaborator in your care plan. As you work with your palliative care team, see to it that you’re fully informed of the following:
- Treatment preferences
- Schedules for care
At home, this information should be easily accessible for reference by all caregivers.
7. Consider the needs of caregivers.
Caregivers need support too. This means ensuring they have the resources they need to provide care, such as:
- Education about the condition
- Access to respite care to prevent burnout
- Emotional support
Palliative care at home isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but with careful planning and support, it can make living with a serious illness more bearable.
It allows you to maintain dignity and autonomy in the face of challenging conditions while living in the comfort of your home for as long as possible.
For exceptional home care solutions by trained caregivers, check out RT Medical today.