Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hospice Team Meetings and Caregivers (Video 2:25 mins.)

Many traditional hospice team meetings do not include caregivers. Much discussion has been generated regarding whether this practice is beneficial or not. Research at the University of North Texas assessed hospice team meetings with and without the presence of caregivers. This was done by videotaping both kinds of meetings. An analysis comparing them had these results:

Team meetings with participating caregivers had

1) better team outcomes.

2) more patient-centered goals.

3) increased discussion of biopsychosocial problems.

4) interdisciplinary care plans occurring more often.

These research findings on hospice team meetings indicate that having caregivers present at hospice team meetings adds significant benefits that can positively impact patient care.

Family caregivers provide almost 80% of caregiving in America. This
video addresses concerns of caregivers with hospice patients.

Frances Shani Parker, Author

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mental Health Services in Nursing Homes after Disasters

Earthquakes like the recent one in Haiti and hurricanes like Katrina remind us of the devastating effects of environmental disasters. Living with the traumatic reality of being surrounded by many deaths, experiencing tremendous personal loss, and suffering physical injuries take a tremendous toll mentally on survivors. While physical needs receive more immediate attention, mental health intervention issues must also be addressed.

Research from the University of South Florida on mental health services in nursing homes after hurricanes provides helpful information about how residents should be treated after disasters. Representing two-thirds of Florida's counties, a questionnaire was administered to 258 directors of nursing, administrators, and owners of nursing homes. Residents stated their mental health needs and service use. In addition, focus group meetings with 22 nursing home administrators evaluated residents' use of services.

Results revealed that disaster-related mental health services were not routinely provided to residents. When residents involved in a disaster did receive treatment, it was more likely to come from facilities where they were taken after the disaster, not the facilities from which they were evacuated.

This mental health research indicates a serious need for training nursing home staff members in the delivery of disaster-related mental health intervention. They also need training in the procedures for making referrals for follow-up evaluation and formal intervention. Mental health training would be beneficial in healing many disaster survivors who suffer from depression, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Frances Shani Parker, Author

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Palliative and Hospice Care for Latinos

By the year 2050, Latinos, who currently make up 15 % of America’s population, will account for 30 % of the population.  Latinos are a diverse population with unique healthcare end-of-life needs that must be addressed if they are to receive quality care everyone deserves. Many have difficulty as immigrants adjusting in America to the dominant English language and Anglo-centric culture.

Non-Latino and non-Spanish-speaking healthcare workers must make every effort to communicate with Latinos and eliminate cultural misunderstandings that can negatively impact their healthcare. In terms of end-of-life care, the following challenges of immigrants must be addressed:

1) Geographic distance as well as political and economic realities which separate patients from their families
2) Undocumented immigrants who are frequently uninsured and fearful of deportation
3) Language and literacy barriers
4) Concerns about discrimination, culture, religion and spiritual influences

Professional interpreters can be helpful in alleviating barriers in communication. Ongoing staff development in working with diverse populations is also important. Everyone is entitled to quality palliative and hospice care when it is needed. You can read more here about palliative care for Latino patients and their families.

Frances Shani Parker, Author

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ten Steps to Becoming Dead Right

                                     Ten Steps to Becoming Dead Right

                                        By Frances Shani Parker, Author
             Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes

  1. Accept death as part of life.
Death will come, no matter how often you avoid the topic or how forcefully technology wrestles it to the ground.
  1. Listen to the universe.
Some call it the universe, while many use other names. If you believe you are part of an infinite enlightenment, be still and listen.
  1. Expect rainbow smiles.
Rainbow smiles are joyous, healing, memorable moments that come more often when you anticipate them.
  1. Live a healthy lifestyle.
Practice habits of good health. Commit to including them in your daily living.
  1. Be informed and proactive.
Keep abreast of what’s going on. When circumstances arise that can benefit from your knowledge, apply what you know.
  1. Do your best.
You can’t solve every problem or be everything to everybody. Just do all you can.
  1. Give service to others.
Complement others by fulfilling needs through service. Both server and recipient benefit from this partnership.
  1. Be grateful for blessings.
Blessings come like wondrous celebrations held in your honor. Let appreciation reign!
  1. Put death wishes in writing.
Fulfillment of your end-of-life wishes will often depend on what you discuss and record now.
  1. Have a dignified death journey.
Breathe in your final phase of life with contentment. Experience a dying process that brings beauty and calm to your personal letting go.

Copyright © Frances Shani Parker

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers in America and other countries and in e-book editions at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.