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Trends in aging: Aging in place

By By Wendy McHaney
Sept. 13, 2013 at 4:13 a.m.

Wendy McHaney

In my last column, I featured the role of non-medical home care companies as a home and community-based service which enables seniors to remain living at home. Another aspect of HCBS is hospice care.

Hospice agencies provide programs of care that promote quality of life during a life-threatening illness. Hospices recognize dying as a normal process and can provide comfort when cure of the illness is no longer possible.

Hospice programs neither hasten nor postpone death. Advanced technologies now enable healthcare professionals to use sophisticated, high-tech medical equipment and procedures in the home to promote healing and provide comfort.

According to Rebecca Ward, administrator with Accolade Hospice, a patient can qualify for hospice care with a diagnosis of a terminal illness for which all curative treatment has been stopped as well as physician certification that the patient has a life expectancy of six months or less.

Hospice care involves a core interdisciplinary team of skilled professionals and volunteers who provide comprehensive medical, spiritual and psycho-social care for the terminally ill and support for the patient's family.

The team of professionals with Accolade Hospice includes nurses, physicians, social workers and chaplains, supplemented by therapists, hospice aides and volunteers.

Hospice care also includes the provision of medications related to the illness and for pain management as well as medical supplies and equipment such as hospital beds, wheelchairs and oxygen.

Victoria is home to about half a dozen hospice care agencies, with more agencies in the surrounding counties. Accolade Hospice has an office in Victoria and in Yoakum.

Another local hospice care agency is Hospice of South Texas, which according to community relations director Kathleen Card, has been in our community for 25 years providing support for end-of-life patients and their families. In addition to their Victoria office, HOST also has an office in Hallettsville.

Since September is World Alzheimer's Month, I decided that it would be fitting to begin my series on Alzheimer's and dementia with my next column Sept. 28.

For those dealing with the unique and constantly evolving challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia, be sure to register for a free webcast with Leeza Gibbons, talk show host and family caregiver advocate, and Teepa Snow, certified occupational therapist and dementia expert.

The webcast will start at 1 p.m. Sept. 26. For more information or to register, visit caregiving.seniorhelpers.com

Wendy McHaney is a certified senior advisor and the owner/director of operations of Senior Helpers. For more information about Senior Helpers, visit seniorhelpers.com/victoria

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