What is Comfort Care?
What is Comfort Care?
As someone nears the end of their life there are many things to be considered, and it is important to make the best choices that you can to provide care until they pass. The role of comfort care is to provide just that.
The care to help your loved one to be as comfortable as possible as they move towards their last minute of life, and provide support for the family and their feelings as well.
It is important to have as much comfort as possible at this difficult moment and along with any physical pain or discomfort there may be fear, anxiety, and the family is certain to have many emotions that need to be processed without bringing further worry to the patient.
This type of care is suitable for those who are in hospice or who choose to spend their last moments at home.
What is the difference between Comfort Care, Hospice Care and/or Palliative Care?
Comfort Care is usually given along with the hospice care. It is about getting help, relief, medical care, and emotional support that the patient and family need to live as fully and comfortably as possible.
According to National Institute on Aging “Comfort care is an essential part of medical care at the end of life. It is care that helps or soothes a person who is dying. The goals are to prevent or relieve suffering as much as possible and to improve quality of life while respecting the dying person’s wishes”.
How Long Comfort Care is Provided?
Nobody can predict the death. But end of life care is for people who are considered to be in the last 12 months of their life, including those showing signs of imminent death.
Please Note: There is no time limit for Palliative Care (or comfort care) services. Whereas for Hospice Care, according to NHPCO (National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization) under Medicare benefits, a patient must have a prognosis of 6 months or less within the doctor’s best estimation.
Altering Medications for Comfort
While comfort care is provided as the end of life nears it may be needed for days, weeks, and sometimes even months before they pass.
For this reason there are different standards for the care and medication that is provided, with the goal being to ease the pain and any breathing concerns that arise, to solve skin irritation and pain, help with digestive concerns that cause discomfort, uncomfortable temperatures or temperature sensitivity, and exhaustion or fatigue.
- Assisting in the increased comfort in these areas may require stopping medications that have negative side affects, including any needles, blood draws, and pills that create discomfort. As they are not going to alter the life span or change the prognosis there is no reason to continue any painful treatments or medications that create more difficulties or discomfort.
- It may also be necessary to provide additional medications including pain killers, soothing medications for digestive discomfort, skin sores or rashes, or other uncomfortable concerns.
- There is no reason to avoid or to keep lower levels of pain medications at this point, but only to maintain as much comfort as possible. Where pain is present there should be an attempt to avoid the occurrence of pain rather than to try and reduce pain after it has already taken hold.
- Skin concerns should be addressed, both by ensuring the bed is comfortable and that clothing is loose and light, while treating any skin conditions that may occur.
- Rashes should be treated with creams, and if they are unable to easily move and adjust positions it is important to do so for them, both to avoid bed sores but also because it is better for the emotional health to feel comfortable and be sitting or laying in a way that feels natural and relaxing.
- As breathing concerns can become painful and cause flares of anxiety and fear it is important to assist in solving breathing issues whenever possible.
Providing a Safe and Comfortable Environment
The surroundings that a person finds themselves in can affect mood and their emotional and mental health greatly.
- By creating comfortable surroundings that include bedding that is soft and welcoming, pillows that are comfortable and easy to rest upon, and keep photos or comfort items within reach, you can help them to feel at ease and less afraid of what is to come.
- Providing some gentle activities can keep the mind engaged and offering company and visits with loved ones can help to ease the feelings of loneliness.
- It is encouraging to know that there are people around that love you, and for friends and family to know that their loved one can see them and feel cared for and loved right up until the last moments.
- Helping to adjust the bodies position can increase comfort and make it easier to rest as well as easier to interact with the environment, such as to watch the TV or reach a book, and interact with the people who are present.
Where the family is entering the grieving process and they are unable to relive these moments with them it can be emotionally healing to have someone available who can listen to their stories and help them to feel heard. A counsellor or home care nurse may be able to help ease the emotional suffering and maintain the mental health needs.
Who pays for Comfort Care?
It varies by provider and insurance plan you opted for.
Medicare Part B and Medicaid covers some of the comfort plan. But there could be co pays required depending on medications and treatments. And it is typically the same for the private plans you opted for.
Many Medicare and other plans will cover not only basic care but the staff of nurses, counsellors, and doctors that are required to maintain a comfort care plan.
Want to learn more about Comfort Care? Want a tailored service suitable for your loved one? Please feel free to reach out to us at your preferred hour.
SAHARA HOSPICE CARE
140 Eldridge Rd Suite B 1, Sugar Land, TX 77478