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MASSAGE THERAPY

Massage therapy can be highly beneficial for hospice patients. Along with providing a means of relaxing and comfort. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, it has proven to significantly decrease pain and anxiety. Other symptoms and conditions that massage therapy can improve include:
 

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Depression and mood disorders

  • Stress

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue


So why is positive touch so powerful? Research shows that because we experience touch at birth as one of the first sensations that welcomes us into the world, it only makes sense that it should be one of the last perceptions we have before we pass. Touch has been found to raise the blood pressure of people in a deep coma. Research has also shown it can penetrate the nonverbal state of Alzheimer’s patients who may blurt out a cohesive sentence while receiving massage to the effect of “that feels good,” only to go right back to their silent world. Touch can penetrate the semi-comatose state people experience when on severe painkillers to give the overall treatment an element of human contact. Many times, patients reduce their demand for drugs when receiving massage therapy.

The type of massage therapy for hospice patients is different from the standard approach. Massage therapists would use geriatric massage techniques focused on the amelioration of pain, instead of using the vigorous approaches of deep tissue work or acupressure.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SESSION?

MASSAGE THERAPY SOOTHES THE SOUL, BODY AND MIND.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when patients are able to relax, pain is lessened and a sense of well-being has a chance to take over, allowing the patient to experience greater peace. Massage involves caring and a ‘safe touch.’ This, together with pain relief, produces a “relaxation response,” where the heart and breathing rates slow, blood pressure goes down, production of stress hormones decreases, and muscles relax, according to the University of Minnesota. The relaxation response also increases the available level of serotonin, a chemical in the body that affects emotions and thoughts. It may also decrease the physical effects of stress and the risks that come with it, such as anxiety, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, insomnia, fatigue, digestive disorders and psychological issues.

  • What is Hospice?
    Hospice offers palliative, supportive care for terminally ill patients who seek comfort from the symptoms of their illness rather than a cure. Hospice offers a highly trained and dedicated team of individuals to support the patient and their family with their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice is not about giving up, in fact, you will find that we are very aggressive in addressing and managing the symptoms of the illness, so that the patient may have the best quality of life possible. • Hospice in not a place but a philosophy of care. It is a team of professionals dedicated to providing physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional comfort. • Attending Physician • Medical Director - (Doctors are Board Certified in Hospice And Palliative Care) • Nursing Staff • Social Worker • Priest, Spiritual Counselor and Chaplain • Bereavement Specialist • Nutritionist & Dietician • Certified Aide • Volunteer • Massage Therapist
  • Who pays for Hospice Care?
    Guiding Light Hospice is a Medicare and Medicaid certified hospice and as a result, receives funding for hospice services. If you need assistance with understanding your Medicare benefits, contact us. Most private insurance plans also contribute to the costs of providing hospice care. Team Approach to Care: • Primary Care Physician and Hospice Physician • Hospice and Palliative Care Board Certified Medical Director • Registered Nurses • Social Workers • Spiritual care coordinators • Bereavement counselors • Dieticians • Pharmacists • Hospice aides • Volunteers • Massage Therapy & Music Therapy
  • Should I wait for our physician to bring up the subject of hospice, or can I raise it first?
    The decision to choose hospice should be made by patient and family with the input of a physician. Open and honest discussion about treatment options should be held throughout the course of the illness. If a patient or family feels that a physician is reluctant to discuss hospice care, it is always appropriate for one or the other to approach the subject.
  • When is Hospice appropriate?
    Hospice care becomes an alternative when a patient has reached the last phases of a terminal illness, and has been given a prognosis (or life expectancy) of six months or less. The subject of hospice care can be addressed at any time during the illness, as physician and patient discuss treatment options. When a patient chooses Hospice, the decision to give up curative measures is made in favor of comfort care. (Care that focuses on pain management and symptom control, psychosocial support for both patient and family and ancillary services that lessen the burden of illness and care giving).
  • What can we expect from the hospice staff?
    The interdisciplinary team (IDT) of Guiding Light Hospice is made up of health care professionals and volunteers, each highly skilled and specially trained to meet the needs of the terminally ill patient and their families. The team is headed by the hospice physician who, together with the patient and family, determines the plan of care. The nurse will administer the plan and becomes the primary contact with the family. Social workers help with emotional and practical issues, resolve conflicts, address fears, provide support, and prompt discussion on arrangements that need to be made. Chaplains are available to help with spiritual guidance and hospice aides provide personal care for patients. Finally, volunteers furnish a variety of services that help ease the burden of the caregiver and contribute to the well being of the patient.
  • Who can refer a patient to a hospice program?
    A referral begins with a phone call to Guiding Light Hospice. A caring staff member will ask important questions about the illness, previous treatment, the attending physician’s endorsement of hospice care, as well as questions about the home and family situation that could affect care giving. Anyone may refer a patient to a hospice program. Patients may refer themselves or they may be referred by a friend, caregiver, relative, social worker, nurse, hospital, nursing home or physician. Our staff is available to visit with the patient and family prior to admission for a no cost, no obligation explanation of the services provided. To make a referral, call (210) 585-2335 and ask for the admissions coordinator. The following patient information will be requested: Patient’s name Patient’s phone number Patient’s physician’s name The name and phone number of the person making a referral After a patient has been referred, the Admissions Staff will contact the patient’s private physician to obtain consent to talk to the patient about the programs and services of Guiding Light Hospice. Information necessary to complete the referral will also be obtained and an appointment will be made to review the services with the patient and caregiver as well as establish a care plan should the patient or their representative elect hospice services.
  • How long can I receive hospice care?
    The U.S Department of Health and Human Services states that: “You may receive hospice care as long as your doctor certifies that you are terminally ill and probably have less than 6 months. If your doctor certifies that you are terminally ill, you may receive hospice care.”
  • When is a patient ready for Hospice care?
    Hospice is appropriate when treatments are no longer effective and the patient and family agree to the service. Understandably, many patients and family members are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping treatment. Hospice staff members are sensitive to these concerns and are available to respond to any fears or concerns the patient and their family may have, as well as provide information regarding disease progression and what to expect. Prior to admission, a plan of care is developed based upon the patient’s wishes and goals. The main objective of Guiding Light Hospice is to provide relief so that the patient and family can spend their remaining days with comfort and dignity.
  • Can we keep our own doctor?
    Guiding Light Hospice encourages the continuation of care by the patient’s primary care physician. If this is not possible or preferred, specially trained hospice physicians can see the patient and guide the care plan.
  • What if the patient gets better or changes their mind?
    If the patient’s condition improves or stabilizes, they may be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive treatment or resume daily life. If the patient should later need hospice care, Medicare and most insurance coverage allow the patient to resume hospice services.
  • Can pain be controlled outside the hospital setting?
    Yes. Guiding Light Hospice nurses and doctors are experts in controlling pain. Emphasis is on promoting quality of life by providing comfort and relief from pain and symptoms. In fact, this process reduces unnecessary trips to the hospital.
  • What if we have a problem on a weekend or holiday?
    Help from the Guiding Light Hospice team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nurses, social workers and chaplains are available to address any concerns or symptoms requiring our support.
  • Can I receive care at home?
    Guiding Light Hospice provides compassionate care in a variety of settings. Most hospice patients receive care in their own home or the home of a loved one. Hospice care pay also be delivered in a variety of locations, such as in an assisted living facility, nursing home, personal care home or independent living facility. No matter the setting, our staff will coordinate with existing caregivers to ensure care and support to both the patient and the family.
  • How will the massage be conducted?
    The massage can be arranged in various settings including your home, hospital, day hospice, day center, aged-care facility. Alternatively, you may visit the therapist’s clinic. If you are at home, the therapist may perform your massage while you are lying on your bed, on a massage table, or sitting in a recliner or chair. Your therapist will discuss positioning options with you during the assessment process. At home, it is important to ensure that you are warm enough during the massage so that your body can relax. Consider heating the room before the massage, or having an extra blanket. Also, reduce interruptions during the session by turning off devices and not scheduling other appointments during massage time. For the first massage, your therapist will use light pressure to ensure that there are no adverse effects following the massage. It is beneficial to note how you felt 24 hours after the massage. Some therapists will contact you a day after the massage to get your feedback, allowing the therapist to establish your body’s response to the massage and use the information to adjust the pressure and other considerations of future treatments. You should always feel safe and comfortable during the massage. Draping of towels and blankets will maintain your warmth throughout the session, and the therapist will ensure you are covered with the exception of the area being massaged. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, or need to cease the massage, communicate this to your therapist so they can take the appropriate action. Massage therapists trained in palliative care massage adopt a flexible approach so that they are always able to ensure that all your needs are being met.

WE ARE PROUND MEMBERS OF

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Guiding Light Hospice is a registered, community-based hospice care agency that is licensed by the State of Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and Medicare (CMS). We are also accredited through the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP).

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