Whether you are a patient in hospice, or you are a caretaker for a hospice patient, one of the ongoing challenges of care is knowing when to report changes in health.
It is better to err on the side of over-reporting than under-reporting. But realistically, as a caretaker, you know you may not be able to report every single concern you or your loved one has (especially if either of you are anxiety-prone).
Below are some situations where it is extra important to report changes to your hospice team. These are not the only situations where you should, but they are ones that warrant extra care and concern.
- New or unusual symptoms. If there are brand new symptoms, or symptoms that seem unusual, it is wise to report them to your hospice team. You should do so even if they seem mild; leave it to trained medical professionals to sort out whether they are significant, rather than attempting to do so yourself.
- Severe symptoms. Whether symptoms are new or old, if they are severe, then you should contact your hospice team. At the very least, they can provide palliative care. But they also can check whether the increased severity points towards the underlying condition worsening or new complications.
- Symptoms that do not resolve. If new symptoms do not resolve, or if symptoms that normally resolve are lasting longer than usual, that is also a scenario where you should contact your hospice team.
- When your loved one asks you to. If the patient is your loved one, there may be times when they draw your attention to a particular symptom with concern. Maybe the symptom does not seem especially concerning to you, but it is troubling them. We all know our own bodies best, so your loved one’s intuition is worth listening to. Ask your hospice team to check into the symptom.
- When your gut tells you to. Likewise, your own intuition deserves your respect. As your loved one’s caretaker, you are one of the people who spends the most time with them. You have observed them and their condition closely for a long time now. So, if you feel something is wrong, even if you are tempted to dismiss it as seemingly trivial, it is best to contact your hospice team.
- When it is something the hospice team has told you to report. You will spend a lot of time coordinating with the hospice team to provide the best care for your loved one. During that time, the doctors and other medical staff who work with your loved one will advise you as to specific symptoms or signs you should be on the lookout for and report. If you notice anything they have brought to your attention, you should contact them right away. Also, you can take a proactive approach and ask on a regular basis what you should be looking out for.
- When in doubt. Finally, if you are in doubt as to whether you should report something to your hospice team or not, it is always best to go ahead and report it. It is better to have a false alert than to miss something critical.
Receive Compassionate, Dedicated Hospice Care in Burbank
At Journey Palliative and Hospice, we work hard to communicate clearly with patients and caregivers, and can answer your questions about what to monitor and report to your hospice team. To find out how we can help your loved one, please give us a call today at (818) 748-3427.