End of Life Care in Elkton, Maryland

When it comes to end-of-life care, it’s crucial that both the patient and their family members have all the facts. Our end of life care options in Elkton, Maryland provide comprehensive support and guidance. In this article, you’ll learn more information about the different types of end-of-life care and discover tips for providing emotional and spiritual support to a loved one entering hospice care. Plus, you’ll find advice for caregivers to help minimize the stress and sadness people can go through during this challenging time.

When It’s Time for End-of-Life Care

There’s no precise point when you can definitively say it’s time for palliative care or hospice care, as each patient has different needs. Depending on the illness, patients and their loved ones might receive information about the stages of their disease — in some cases, with a timeline and recommendations about seeking services.

Otherwise, there are signs that it might be time to seek end-of-life care that families and their loved one can discuss:

  • Weight loss
  • Sleeping more and feeling weak
  • Pain
  • Illness progressing despite frequent trips to the emergency room or hospital
  • Communicating less
  • Bladder and bowel issues
  • Confusion
  • Labored breathing
  • Wanting to stop taking medication
  • Showing a preference for staying home vs. visiting the hospital
Holding the hand of a senior concept image for palliative care

Palliative Care vs. End-of-Life Care vs. Hospice Care

The terms hospice care, palliative care and end-of-life care have similar meanings, but there are key differences. Below is an explanation of each.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is offered to people with an incurable illness, such as late-stage cancer or heart disease. It helps with pain management and distress reduction, and it aims to make the individual feel as comfortable as possible. Palliative care is offered as soon as a diagnosis is given and includes spiritual support, emotional support and holistic care, in addition to traditional medical treatment.

Hospice care and end-of-life care are elements of palliative care, but they aren’t the same. While palliative care can last for years in instances of prolonged illness, end-of-life care and hospice care are specific to the final stages of a critical illness. Below you can learn what makes each service unique.

Hospice Care

A designated hospice team delivers hospice care, usually when a person’s life expectancy is projected to be less than 6 months. The focus at this point is on reducing pain and any other negative symptoms, with no active or curative treatments taking place.

While hospice care is about maximizing the quality of life for someone with an incurable illness, it’s possible to quit at any time and resume active treatment if the person’s symptoms show signs of improvement.

End-of-Life Care

On the other hand, end-of-life care can be offered with any projected life expectancy (typically around 1 year, but this can vary) and is provided alongside active medical or curative treatment. It’s an element of palliative care that aims to reduce physical suffering in addition to helping the patient and their loved ones feel emotionally and spiritually supported.

One of the primary objectives of end-of-life care is to help the individual with the diagnosis feel like their wishes are respected regarding how, where and by whom they’re treated during this critical stage. While it’s not easy to do, creating a personalized care plan during the earliest stages of a critical illness helps ensure the patient makes these important decisions rather than having them dictated by necessity.

Senior couple using a laptop concept image for end of life planning

End-of-Life Planning

Here are some tips for end-of-life planning:

  • Try to come up with a plan for memorial services, spiritual practices and end-of-life care before they’re needed.
  • Choose the best end-of-life care community near Elkton, MD, if your loved one opts for this route.
  • Seek counsel to ensure power of attorney, a living will or advance directive is legally defined so all family members are aware of the individual’s preferences.
  • Ask a professional such as a social worker, doctor or hospice specialist to mediate disputes between loved ones about issues such as medical treatments, living arrangements and end-of-life decisions.
  • Establish boundaries and roles for family members to reduce conflict.
  • Include children in the process in an age-appropriate manner to help them express and understand their feelings.

Caregiving in the Final Stages of Life

If your loved one has decided to remain at home, you can help them feel as dignified and calm as possible by doing the following:

  • Plan activities and visits at the times of day they’re most alert.
  • Use a calm and gentle voice to explain what’s happening, as they may experience confusion.
  • Remember that even if they can’t speak, they may be able to hear or pick up on how others are feeling around them.
  • Allow them to decide whether they eat or drink, and keep their lips moist with lip balm or glycerin swabs in case they get dehydrated.
  • Ensure they remain as clean and dry as possible by changing pads and clothing regularly as needed.
  • Use blankets to keep them warm.

How to Provide Emotional Support During Treatment

While physical symptoms can vary significantly at the end of a person’s life, there are common emotional issues people face. Here are some tips that may help a loved one feel dignified, empowered and cared for:

  • Spend time with them doing things they love, such as listening to their favorite music, reading their favorite book to them or watching their favorite shows and movies.
  • Speak to friends and family about negative feelings or seek counsel from a professional, as burdening them with your worries might be distressing.
  • Be open about death and their disease if they show interest in talking about it and expressing their fears. Try to avoid shutting down difficult conversations even if it’s challenging. 
  • Make it clear you’ll do everything in your power to honor their wishes.
  • Show them you respect their need for privacy and dignity.
Happy senior man visited by his family concept image for family involvement

Schedule a Tour at Abbey Manor for End-of-Life Care in Elkton, MD

Abbey Manor in Elkton, Maryland can provide support for people who need end-of-life care. Schedule a tour or call today for more information on how our warm and loving assisted living community may be right for you. Call us at (443) 256-4871 or book online.

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Abbey Manor Assisted Living offers senior care the following areas:

  • Kirkwood, DE

  • St Georges, DE

  • Delaware City, DE

  • Elk Mills, MD

  • Arundel, MD

  • Appleton, MD

  • Chesapeake City, MD

  • Summit Bridge, DE

  • Mt Pleasant, DE

  • New Castle, DE

  • Christiana, DE

  • New Port, DE

  • Elsmere, DE

  • Pike Creek, DE

  • Westover Hills, DE

  • Greenville, DE

  • Edgemoor, DE

  • Zion, MD

  • Bay View, MD

  • Charlestown, MD