Palliative Care

Palliative Care At Home

Palliative Care

What is Palliative Care?

One of the services offered by Freiheit Care Inc. is palliative care at home. Palliative care is the term that refers to the care given to individuals experiencing severe, life-limiting illness. Also known as ‘comfort measures’, palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Palliative care is not treating the illness, but treating the symptoms that the illness produces. For this reason, palliative care is sometimes offered in conjunction with treating the primary illness.

What Kind of Services are Provided?

• Medical care to facilitate pain and symptom management
• Personal support services (e.g. personal hygiene, dressing, toileting, assistance with light housekeeping)
• Psychological support, such as psychotherapy or bereavement services for the individual and family
• Physiotherapy, dietary planning, pharmacy support, social work & other family services
• Chaplains and other spiritual advisors

Who Can Get Palliative Care?

Anyone with a life-limiting illness qualifies for palliative care. They do not need to be at end-of-life to receive palliative care.

Individuals who may benefit from palliative care are:

• Those living with Cancer
• Individuals with Heart Disease
• Those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
• Adults with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease
• Individuals with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

What Does Palliative Care Include? (The following section is sourced from “What is Palliative Care?”)

Palliative care takes a holistic approach to addressing the many symptoms and complications to a persons’ life-limiting illness.

Physical Problems

Symptoms or side effects of disease may include:
• Pain
• Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
• Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
• Loss of appetite (anorexia)
• Nausea or vomiting
• Constipation or diarrhea

Treatments may include:
• Medications
• Nutritional support
• Integrative therapies (such as physical therapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy [for difficulty swallowing])

Psychosocial Problems

• Fear
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Caregiver support
• Failure to Cope/Failure to Thrive

Support is also provided to families at this time, as they are also experiencing these psychosocial challenges

Treatments may include:
• Psychotherapy
• Family meetings
• Support groups

Practical Matters

• Legal matters
• Financial questions/concerns
• Housekeeping
• Child-care for other children in the family

Support may include:
• Meeting with a social worker
• Referral to a financial advisor/financial counsellor
• Homemaking services

Palliative Care Options

• In-hospital palliative care
• Hospice palliative care
In-home palliative care

How Can Freiheit Assist You?

At Freiheit Care Inc. we have trained staff who are dedicated to providing premium home care services, including palliative care at home. Our companions, personal support workers and nurses are all overseen by our Director of Nursing and are supported in the care they provide to you at home.

Freiheit Care Inc. will work with your physicians and primary care team to ensure we are providing you with the most relevant care. Our range of services offered ensures that we can provide you with the best care possible, at whatever point you are in your palliative efforts. Call us at (613) 518-8258 to speak with our Intake Specialist and RN to set up your in-home assessment, so we can assess your needs and plan the necessary care provisions accordingly.

Additional Resources

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral Palsy

What is cerebral palsy?

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affects muscle tone, posture and balance. It is the most common childhood disorder.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), cerebral palsy affects 1 in 323 children.
It is more prevalent in boys than in girls.

There are three types of Cerebral Palsy:

• Spastic Cerebral Palsy: causes muscle stiffness and makes movement difficult
• Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: causes uncontrollable movement
• Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: causes problems with balance and depth perception

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

The cause of cerebral palsy is not always known. However, there are some known causes that seem to be common in the diagnosis of cerebral palsy:

• Infections during pregnancy that affects the foetus’ neuro-development
• Stroke while in the womb or after birth
• Genetic disorders

Cerebral palsy can develop later in childhood due to childhood trauma, for example:

• Lead poisoning
• Bacterial meningitis
• Car accident resulting in traumatic brain injury
• Shaken baby syndrome resulting in traumatic brain injury

Like many other childhood illness, your child being diagnosed with cerebral palsy is not your fault. Because the causes are mostly unknown, cerebral palsy is unable to be prevented.

When to See a Physician?

The following symptoms or manifestations of cerebral palsy should be assessed by a physician as soon as possible after the child presents the following:

• Developmental delays (such as not reaching for toys by four months, not sitting up by seven months)
• Problems with motor skills (inability/difficulty walking, crawling or moving the arms and legs)
• Uncoordinated movements
• Muscle tone that is too tight (stiff) or too loose

Difficulties with Cerebral Palsy

There are a range of physical and cognitive impairments that are evident in people with cerebral palsy. Each person is different, and their manifestations depend highly on what part of the brain was affected, to what degree, and what kind of cerebral palsy they have. In general, cerebral palsy can cause the following:

• Visual impairment or blindness
• Hearing loss or deafness
• Gastroesophageal reflux (excessive spitting up)
• Tooth decay
• Learning disabilities
• Sleep disorders
• Behavioural problems
• Seizures

How is Cerebral Palsy Treated?

There are no cures for cerebral palsy, but targeted treatment is available for the different deficits that may arise in persons with cerebral palsy.

Physiotherapy
• Massage therapy
• Speech-Language therapy
• Occupational therapy
Assistance with activities of daily living
Medications (for pain, muscle spasms, gastrointestinal problems)
• Surgery (to correct physiological impairments, such as scoliosis [if developed])

How Can Freiheit Care Help?

Cerebral palsy is diagnosed in childhood, however Freiheit Care Inc. can support adults living with cerebral palsy as well.

We have a range of services that can provide additional support for you or your child in your home. Personal support workers are available to assist with various activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, meal preparation and light housekeeping. We have nurses on staff who can be utilized to provide at-home therapies, such as medication management and physiotherapy exercises (only if prescribed by a physiotherapist).

Call us at (613) 518-8258 to consult with our Intake Specialist and find out how Freiheit Care Inc. can support you and your child.

Additional Resources

Supporting children with autism

What is Autism

Supporting children with autism

What is Autism?

Autism, or more formally known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism affects 1 in 68 children in Canada yearly. It is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 3 (24-36 months).

What is the Spectrum?

The term “spectrum” refers to a scale of severity or developmental impairment. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four individual diagnoses into one umbrella diagnoses, known as Autism:

  • Autism / Classic Autism / High Functioning Autism
  • Disintegrative Childhood Disorder
  • Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Children and adults with ASD usually have some characteristics in common, but the condition covers a wide spectrum, with individual differences in:

  • Number and particular kinds of symptoms
  • Severity: mild to severe
  • Age of onset
  • Levels of functioning
  • Challenges with social interaction

There is no “one” treatment. Because every person is different, treatment is specific per individual. Individuals with autism vary in their skills, needs and abilities. The treatment is often decided based on these factors.

Understanding the Early Signs of Autism

Early Signs of Autism (12 to 24 Months):

  • Often begins to develop speaking ability then loses it, or there is no language development
  • May appear deaf, respond unevenly or not at all to sounds
  • Difficulty consoling during bouts of crying & hysterics
  • Difficulty sleeping / wakes at night
  • Does not “point and look”
  • Failure to bond to parents, siblings and/or others
  • Self-restricted diet (“picky eaters”)
  • Limited to no imaginative play
  • Not interested in playing with other children
  • Chronic gastrointestinal problems

Please note that a child may demonstrate only a few of these symptoms, or possibly none at all until 24+ months.

If your child has ‘normal’ development but then regresses, speak to your pediatrician or family physician immediately:

Possible signs at any age are as follows:

  • Struggles with understanding other people’s feelings
  • Avoids eye contact and prefers to be alone
  • Remains nonverbal or has delayed language development
  • Repeats words or phrases over and over
  • Gets upset by minor changes in routine or surroundings
  • Has highly restricted interests
  • Performs repetitive behaviors such as flapping, rocking or spinning
  • Has unusual and intense reactions to some or all sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colours

Please see this checklist of developmental milestones based on child’s age.

Treatment Options*

  • Play Therapy
    • Floor-time
    • Integrated Play Groups
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis

*This is not a comprehensive list, treatment options vary for each individual.

Services for You and Your Child

At Freiheit Care, we are honoured that we are able to offer services to the younger population. Our respite care services are designed for family caregivers when they need to tend to their own personal lives or take a well earned break. We have trained staff to provide care for your child, so you don’t have to worry when you are not around!

Call us TODAY at (613) 518-8258 for your FREE phone consultation and learn about how Freiheit Care Inc. can give your child the freedom to a childhood!

Additional Resources:
https://autismcanada.org
https://www.autismspeaks.ca
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/pdf/checklists/all_checklists.pdf
http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/specialneeds/autism/ontario-autism-program.aspx#families

 

Caring for children with disabilities

Introducing Pediatric Services at Freiheit Care Inc

Caring for children with disabilities
Written by: Jessica Moreau RN

At Freiheit Care, we are pleased to offer premium home care services that we provide to the senior population. But, did you know that we also care for pediatric customers as well?

At Freiheit Care, we provide premium, compassionate, skilled care for our pediatric customers. We value your child’s well-being and strive to complement the care they receive from family caregivers. Our young customers receive the dedicated care and attention of quality staff. We employ companions, personal support workers and nursing staff to be equipped to provide the care you and your family needs.

Every family has its unique structure and schedule, and our pediatric services at Freiheit Care are designed to be flexible to suit the needs of your child and family. We offer a 24-hour cancellation policy, flexible scheduling and premium care delivery, 24-7-365.

Our comprehensive list of services and our customizable care plans mean that your child receives the care they need, on your terms.

Services provided:

– Companionship

– Respite Care

– Palliative Care

– Rehabilitation Care

– Psychotherapy

– Personal Care

Give us a call today at (613) 518-8258 for your FREE phone consultation, and see how Freiheit Care gives you and your family the power to Be Free to Live.

Polypharmacy

What is “Polypharmacy”?

What is "Polypharmacy"?

Written by: Jessica Moreau RN

Polypharmacy, defined as the simultaneous use of medications to treat the same ailment, is plaguing our older adult population. It is estimated that 30-40% of seniors take 5 or more medications. When it comes to complex illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and hypertension, it is common that multiple medications are used to manage symptoms.

A contributing factor to polypharmacy is that patients are often seeing multiple physicans, such as visiting their primary physician, specialists and occasionally a physician in urgent care or the emergency department.

One of the main risks of polypharmacy is drug to drug interactions. If an adverse effect occurs, it can be very difficult to figure out which of the many drugs is the cause, and the correct treatment for the adverse effect. Harmful effects of taking multiple medicines can include:

  • Falls and fractures (due to dizziness/grogginess)
  • Memory problems
  • Hospitalization
  • Higher risk of death

Multiple medications increase the risks of inappropriate medication use, non-adherence, and adverse effects. Another unwanted effect could be that physicians may hesitate to prescribe a new essential medication to a patient already on five or more. Thus, ironically, polypharmacy can lead to under-treatment. Regular medication reviews should happen to ensure that a patient is only taking what is needed. Here are some helpful questions to ask a doctor or pharmacist:

  • Do I still need to take all of my medicines?
  • Are all my medicines still helping me to stay well?
  • Could any of my medicines be causing ________?
  • Could any of my medicines be affecting the others?
  • Is there anything I can stop taking safely?

Deprescribing is what occurs when a medical professional reviews the medication list of a patient and begins discontinuing medications. It involves patients, their family and/or caregiver, doctors and pharmacists who together:

  1. Review all medicines a person is taking and why
  2. Identify how likely each medicine will cause problems
  3. Identify if each medicine is still right for the person or could be stopped
  4. If medicines can be stopped, prioritize which should be stopped first
  5. Agree on a management plan
  6. Stop medicines carefully, one by one
  7. Meet frequently to see if the plan works or the patient is experiencing problems.

Polypharmacy puts seniors living alone at risk for various problems, but knowing your medications and consulting with your health care team is paramount to keeping yourself or your loved ones safe.

About the author:
Jessica is a Registered Nurse and Intake Specialist at Freiheit Care Inc. She has been with Freiheit Care Inc since its inception. She has experience in community nursing and palliative care. Jess sees customers for initial intake assessments.

Cooking For One

Cooking for One

Cooking for One

Written by: Jessica Moreau RN

If you live with a partner, friends or family, chances are good that you have an idea of what will be on the table at every meal. Couples and families have multiple helpers for meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and clean-up. Meal time is also family time, which provides added motivation to create healthy, enjoyable meals. But what about people who live alone?

Too often, healthy eating or smarter choices can seem troublesome for people on their own – especially if they don’t have much experience with meal planning and preparation. Health problems and disabilities can make these tasks even more difficult.

Unfortunately, this is the situation facing many older adults, many of whom are on their own for the first time in years. It’s not uncommon for seniors to eat poorly.

Planning healthy meals for one

Eating well when eating alone takes effort, but with planning and practice, it can become a daily routine. Consulting with the new Canada Food Guide can be a great starting point to get some ideas. Its advice includes: have plenty of vegetables and fruits; choose whole grain foods; cook more often; limit foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat; make water your drink of choice; and read food labels.

If you have specific health concerns, such as weight management or diabetes, talk to your physician or a dietitian. If oral health problems are making it difficult for you to eat properly, see a dentist as soon as you can.

Trying new recipes is an enjoyable way to add variety and nutrition to your lifestyle. Look for cookbooks and cooking magazines at your local library, or go online. Be mindful that what you choose fits within your diet and is healthy.

More ways to improve eating habits

Healthy meals start with healthy ingredients. You can stretch your grocery dollars by buying fruits and veggies that are in season, or frozen. Buy in bulk the items you use frequently. Check store labels for unit pricing to compare costs and ensure you’re getting the best value. Shopping at Costco may give you better value for your dollar.

Explore what resources are available in your community. For example, does your local seniors’ centre or community centre offer workshops about meal planning or cooking? Does your community have a meal delivery service for seniors? Would friends or neighbours join you for monthly potluck dinners? Eating with others offers opportunities to socialize and to share foods from different cultures. It also encourages people to eat more slowly and enjoy their meals, rather than seeing food as fuel.

Plan your meals. You are more likely to eat well when you know exactly what is required of you for the meal. How long will it take? What ingredients do you already have, and what do you need to buy? There is nothing more frustrating than making a meal but realizing you don’t have the right stuff. It can be easy to resort to easier, less time consuming meals if you aren’t prepared.

About the author:
Jessica is a Registered Nurse and Intake Specialist at Freiheit Care Inc. She has been with Freiheit Care Inc since its inception. She has experience in community nursing and palliative care. She sees customers for initial intake assessments.

Glossary of Medical Terms

Glossary of Home Care Terms

Glossary of Medical Terms

Written by: Jessica Moreau RN

It is a known fact that medical terminology can be a bit daunting, especially so to the untrained eye. Terms such as “respite care”, “palliative care” and “gerontology” can be intimidating if you’re seeing them for the first time and aren’t clear on their meaning. We at Freiheit Care Inc have compiled a list of terms that are often misunderstood or are unknown, which we hope will simplify an already challenging time.

Glossary of Teams

Activities of Daily Living (ADL): things that happen every day and are part of personal care, such as bathing, dressing, hair care, nail care, brushing teeth, etc. Our companions and personal support workers are trained to assist or supervise our customers with personal care.

Family Caregivers: a family member or loved one of a senior who provides care to them in the home. In Canada, there are upwards of 8 million caregivers providing care to family members. Family caregivers are especially susceptible to caregiver guilt and burnout.

Gerontology: the study of social, cultural, psychological, cognitive and biological aspects of aging.

Palliative Care: there is a tainted reputation surrounding “palliative care” and what it means. Palliative care has coined the nickname “end of life care” over time, and while this is true in some cases, even those who are not approaching the immediate end of life can receive palliative care. “Palliative care” is a blanket term used to describe comfort measures and symptom management of disease. This includes (but is not limited to): pain management, symptom management (such as oxygen therapy), psychosocial support and caregiver support.

Professional Caregivers: professional caregivers are trained and certified individuals who will enter the home to provide care. Freiheit Care employs three classifications of professional caregivers:

Personal Support Workers: assist in the home with tasks such as hygiene, meal preparation, light housekeeping.

Registered Practical Nurse & Registered Nurse: administer treatments in the home, such as medications, wound care, foot care.

Respite Care: often offered temporarily in the home, respite care can provide family caregivers with a much needed break from the caregiving process. Our trained professional caregivers are available 24/7 to provide relief to you and your loved ones.

These are only a few of the common terms used in home care. At Freiheit Care, we are happy to help explain what our services and definitions are. We don’t want there to be any confusion, because the longer you spend trying to figure things out, the less you will be free to live your life to its fullest. So, call us today and we’d be happy to define any terminology for you that is unfamiliar or seems daunting! Just another way we help you to be free to live.

About the author:
Jessica is a Registered Nurse and Intake Specialist at Freiheit Care Inc. She has been with Freiheit Care Inc since its inception. She has experience in community nursing and palliative care. She sees customers for initial intake assessments.

Caregiver Guilt

Caregiver Guilt

Caregiver Guilt

Written by: Jessica Moreau RN

Family caregivers are some of the most unnoticed and under-appreciated caregivers there are. They juggle their work lives, their families, their wellbeing and their social life with that of their loved ones – taking them to appointments, to treatments or to the grocery store. It’s easy for a caregiver at the end of the day to feel like they haven’t done enough. Caregiver guilt is very common when caring for a loved one, but it doesn’t need to be insufferable. The stress of caregiving, if left unchecked, can take its toll on your health – mentally, emotionally and physically.

It is important to recognize the feelings of guilt, explore why you may be feeling guilty, and to find ways to try to overcome it. Caregiver stress can cause feelings of guilt if not addressed.

Common signs and symptoms related to caregiver stress are:

  • Feeling tired and run down
  • Feeling increasingly resentful
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overreacting to minor upsets
  • Feelings of anxiety, depression or irritability

Here are 5 of the most common reasons for experiencing caregiver guilt, and some suggestions to overcome it:

1. I feel guilty when I can’t be with my loved one.
When Mom begs you to stay longer or visit more often, it can feel like a real guilt trip. Busy schedules, work demands and family commitments make visiting difficult. Knowing that your visits are the highlight of her otherwise lonely days only adds to the stress and keeps you from making the most of the time you do have.
How to overcome it:
Try to make the time you spend together as meaningful as possible.  When you can’t be there, consider how companionship services could help. You won’t feel as guilty leaving Mom if she has someone coming on a regular basis whose company she enjoys.

2. I feel guilty when I lose my patience.
Caregiving is a true test on anyone’s patience at some point in the caring process. Caregivers of loved ones with dementia or cognitive impairments who exhibit repetitive behaviours may find this especially true.
How to overcome it:
Patience typically wears thin when you’re worn out and have little support. If you feel like you’re reaching the end of your rope, use that as a warning sign that you need to take a break. It’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Using respite care services will give you the break you need while ensuring your loved one receives the support they need.

3. I feel guilty when I take time for myself.
Putting another person’s needs before your own may feel natural to you, as these are likely the people that raised you. In a way, you may feel like you need to “repay” them. But you can’t ignore the need to care for yourself. It’s self-defeating to feel badly about indulging in a little time to yourself.
How to overcome it:
Remind yourself that in order to be the best version of yourself, you need to be well rested, well nourished and well hydrated. You won’t be able to care for your loved one if you burn out, so taking time for yourself ensures that you can continue to be by their side when they need you most.

4. I feel guilty when I rush my loved one.
It’s easy to forget that Mom or Dad can’t eat as quickly as they used too, or get dressed as fast as you’d like. It’s also easy to snap at them to hurry up when you’re in a rush to get a move on with your day. You may feel like they are intentionally moving slowly to spite you, but when you factor in their mobility problems, illnesses, or medications, you may realize that they are just slowing down.
How to overcome it:
We are all busy. Giving care to your aging loved one is not easy, and sometimes it’s easy to want to rush through it to make time for other things in your life. But it’s important to remember that rushing your loved one can cause them to choke or fall. Take a deep breath, and if they’re seeming a bit slower than usual, ask them if they’d like assistance instead.

5. I feel guilty for getting angry or frustrated.
You may view emotions like anger or frustration as a sign of weakness. People tend to bottle up certain emotions until they become too much to manage. It can be stressful to both you and your loved one if you begin to display your negative emotions in an unhealthy way.
How to overcome it:
While it’s true that too much negativity can be toxic to those around you, it’s important that you have a safe outlet for those emotions. Vent to a friend, engage in some exercise, or find a secluded place to have a good cry. If you feel it would be beneficial, go to counselling to discuss with a neutral party. There is never any shame in talking to a professional.
If you feel that you are overwhelmed, stressed out and can’t work past your guilt, seek out someone you can talk to and share your feelings. As important as it is to take care of your loved one, it’s equally important to take care of yourself too.

About the author:
Jessica is a Registered Nurse Psychotherapist and Intake Specialist at Freiheit Care Inc. She has been with Freiheit Care Inc since its inception. She has experience in community nursing and palliative care. She sees customers for psychotherapy sessions & initial intake assessments.

Premium Quality Home Care

What Is Home Care?

Home Care 101

You might be wondering what Home Care actually is. Do you or a loved one need it? Home Care, or domiciliary care, supports individuals to live independently in their homes.

The care and support you need will vary as your situation changes and your care will change with you.