Useful Tools

71926132_8This page includes resources for planning ahead and caring for a loved one with a life-limiting illness.

Advance Directives allow an individual to plan for, and control decisions about their health care in the event they become unable to make their own decisions in the future. An advance directive may be used to accept or refuse any treatment, service or procedure used to diagnose, treat or care for a physical or mental condition, including life-sustaining treatment. You can find more information about the types of advance directives here.

Artificial Hydration – This information may assist you and your family in making an educated choice about this medical treatment. Decisions regarding nutrition and hydration are medical decisions that require a physician order.

Being with the Dying –  Many families have questions about what they can do to comfort and care for their loved ones during the last hours or days of life. While there is no right or wrong way to be with the dying, this document contains  some guidelines that may help you to feel more confident during this difficult time.

Breathing Changes During the Dying Process – Understanding how breathing may change during the dying process can give you the confidence to be present with your loved one as the changes occur. This document provides insights.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hospice – Hospice is model for quality, compassionate care ensures comfort, dignity and support for patients and their loved ones by providing expert medical care, pain management, emotional and spiritual support, and practical help in the home. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about hospice.

Guidelines for Providing Care during the Dying Process – This document contains information about caring for a loved one during the dying process. Topics include such things as medication, positioning and skin care.

Hand Massages – Holding hands is a natural way to develop meaningful connections and demonstrate care for our loved ones. This document explains how to give a therapeutic hand massage.

Knowing what to expect at time of death –  Caring for a loved one who is dying is profoundly sad, and it is often difficult to be asked to consider what lies ahead.  However, caregivers do worry about knowing what to do when the time comes.  In addition to attending to physical comfort, your peace of mind is a primary concern of the Hospice team, who is here to help you feel confident about your loved ones care as death draws near.

Lavender Essential Oil – Pure steam distilled oil of lavender has a calming effect on the human nervous system. Purchasing premade or adding lavender essential oil to massage cream or oil can increase the relaxation response during massage. This document describes ways to use lavender essential oil during a hand massage.

Love and Chicken Soup: Understanding Nutritional Changes – A decrease in appetite is one of the most common signs of advanced illness. It is also one of the most upsetting concerns for family members who want to make sure their loved ones get the right care and treatment. These guidelines may help you to be more confident as you care for your loved one who is affected by changes in their eating.

Mouth Care – Regular care helps to prevent sores, and may improve the patient’s appetite and desire to eat. Many of the medications used to manage symptoms are given orally, making mouth care very important. This document outlines the items you’ll need.

Allowing Natural Death – This document contains a few facts about CPR that you might not know. This information is important to consider when making decisions about your or your loved one’s care.

Notifications and Name Changes Check List – Here is a listing of items that may need to be addressed after the passing of your loved one. Filling out some of the information ahead of time can help make the process less stressful later.talking-with-children2

Pain Management – This document contains information about pain and pain management.

Pain Myths – This document contains information about some of the common misconceptions about pain and pain management.

Post Funeral Check List – This list may be useful in keeping track of the notifications and tasks that are important to complete as soon as possible.

Skin Care – The skin is the largest organ of the body and is prone to breaking down as other organs in the body also shut down from advancing illness. Protecting the skin from breakdown helps to defend against infection while also providing your loved one with touch.This document provides tips on skin care.

Talking with the Children – It is important to remember that children experience the same emotions adults do. Telling them the truth helps them to understand what is real and what is not. This document offers some guidance for talking with children about death.

Understanding the Dying Process – Knowing what to expect as your loved one’s illness progresses is an important part of caregiving. This document offers some insights.


Web Resources

A tremendous amount of information on hospice and coping with the grieving process is available on the Internet. Here are a few of our favorites:

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives. In addition to other valuable information and tips, this site provides information about caregiving, hospice and palliative care, and grief and loss.

Caring Connections was created by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and provides easy to understand written and video consumer resources to help you with a variety of care and end of life concerns. 200271649-001

Grief Healing, by fellow blogger Marty Tousley, offers resources for anyone coping with loss, grief, and transition for those who are animal lovers, the elderly, the seriously ill and dying, or living with disabilities.

Holy Redeemer Hospice offers information about hospice care and about Holy Redeemer Hospice programs.

For 13 months after the loss of a loved one, the bereavement counselors at Holy Redeemer Hospice continue to provide support for the family through support groups, mailings, counseling and one-on-one encouragement. Click here to learn more about our hospice support groups.

Hospice Foundation of America’s Information Center provides end of life care resources including downloadable fact sheets, testimonials, videos, and educational programs designed specifically for professionals, patients, and caregivers. is a compendium of web resources related to hospice.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare Hospice Benefits is a resource provides you with important information about your hospice benefit under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Mesothelioma Group provides guidance from diagnosis through treatment for patients of mesothelioma and their caregivers.

National Association for Home Care and Hospice is the largest trade association for the home care and hospice industry with a wealth of resources for including Caring magazine.

National Family Caregiver Association provides a virtual library of educational materials and information on agencies and organizations which provide support to family caregivers.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is a comprehensive resource geared more towards hospice organizations but can help you find a hospice provider, learn more about quality and hospice, advanced directives, and other important issues.

Visiting Nurses Association supports, promotes and advocates for community-based, nonprofit home health and hospice providers and provides resources targeting professionals.