Should We Wait for the Doctor to Suggest Hospice?

The truth of the matter is that many patients near the end-of-life journey often wait too long to seek hospice care as a treatment option. This may only give the patient and family a few short weeks or sometimes just days or hours to receive care, which means they did not experience the full benefit of what hospice provides.

People with terminal diagnoses should be having frank conversations with their doctors about where they are in the disease progression and what their goals are for end-of-life long before their last days; unfortunately, this doesn’t happen for many.   

The time a patient receives hospice care has been substantiated by many studies. According to a study published in the September 2017 edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, many people who benefit from hospice care wait too long to request it.

During the last year of their life, only 43 percent of the participants, 70 years of age or older, utilized hospice. The average duration of hospice care was 12.5 days. Results suggested that hospice care should have been started earlier to reduce pain and suffering as well as greatly improve the quality of life and receive the supportive care that is needed.

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WV Hospice Consumer Satisfaction Scores Ranked 6th in the Nation

West Virginia’s hospice care consumer satisfaction scores ranked 6th in the country last year. WV hospice providers have always worked to ensure that each patient and family receives excellent care.  And, West Virginians should be proud of the quality of hospice care provided in their state.

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Blood Cancer Awareness Month

September is recognized as Blood Cancer Awareness Month to bring attention to the types of blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Blood cancers form in the bone marrow where it creates blood, or in the lymphatic system that protects us from infections.

In the United States, 14,000 people have been diagnosed with some form of blood cancer each month. According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, it is essential to not only understand the disease but also what you can do to improve the chances of beating it.

After the fight with blood cancer reaches its end-stage for your loved one, please know WV Caring is here to help give them a quality life. Continue reading for more information on how WV Caring can help you and your loved one through this difficult time.

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Finding Hospice Earlier Can Benefit Your Terminally Ill Loved One

“People should open their arms to hospice much sooner,” Betsy Pyle, whose husband received hospice care, said.

Unfortunately, families and their loved ones wait too long before seeking out hospice options. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a greater proportion of Medicare patients were enrolled in hospice a total of seven days or fewer compared to all other lengths of service categories.

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Cancer: How WV Caring Can Help?

Cancer affects everyone differently. The battle of cancer is influenced by many factors from the patient’s environment, support system, lifestyle to their past experiences. The physical and emotional effects can be terrifying, overwhelming, and weighing for the patient and their loved ones.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030. Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide. In 2012, there were 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.

WV Caring provides quality and compassionate end-of-life care for those living with a life-limiting disease. We believe that we are stronger together. Our team helps people through the loss and grief process, and offer bereavement counseling, support, education, crisis intervention, and resources to the community.

What can you do? Get informed and learn about the development of cancer, different types, treatments, and more. If you know someone who has cancer, the best way to lend support is to understand and empathize with what they are experiencing. If you are diagnosed and living with cancer, research treatment options best catered towards you, the best medical professionals, and educate yourself with the tips to staying healthy and getting into the right mindset. Being informed and up-to-date on recent research will help you fight your battle, but allow you not to be defined by your cancer. We want you to live a full life.

Read on to arm yourself for your battle with cancer and how WV Caring can help.

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The Differences Between Hospice and Home Health Services in West Virginia

At WV Caring, we know that living with an advanced illness can be overwhelming. We understand this challenging time you are experiencing, and our team wants you to know that you are not alone. We’re often asked which kind of care does my loved one need: home health or hospice?

We like to describe and identify services as the right care at the right time. While the goals for both kinds of services are different, the overall goal is to provide the best care for the patient. Both services are explained along with the differences.

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Can WV Caring Help

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, neurodegenerative life-limiting disease. ALS is a disease that weakens an individual’s muscles and impacts physical function such as walking, dressing, writing, speaking and breathing. 

According to the ALS Association, a little over 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year and it is estimated that there are at least 16,000 people who have the disease at a given time. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for ALS. Half of the individuals who are diagnosed with ALS live three or more years after diagnosis; 20 percent live for five years or more; up to 10 percent live more than 10 years. 

During the ALS journey, especially during the end stage of ALS, there can be significant costs associated with ALS and the healthcare that is needed including medical care, equipment, medical staff visitation and more. Read on to learn more about how WV Caring, West Virginia’s leading hospice care provider, can help you talk through ALS, what we can do for you and to hear from an ALS patient’s family about hospice. 

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Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): How Can WV Caring Help?

According to a 2017 America’s Health Rankings from the United Health Foundation report, 7.4 percent of West Virginians have coronary heart disease, which is the highest percentage in the United States.  Heart disease can put an individual at risk for heart failure, which occurs when the heart muscles can no longer pump effectively, and fluid builds up around the heart, abdomen, lungs and other parts of the body.  Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped working, but that the cardiac muscles are not strong enough to maintain normal circulation. West Virginia holds the highest rate of heart disease in North America with 14 percent.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a progressive cardiovascular disease, affects people of all ages, from children to the elderly. There is no cure for CHF.

In the progression of CHF, fluid around the heart builds up and kidneys receive less blood. The pressure causes swelling or “congestion” in the legs, around the eyes, lungs, liver and other areas of the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly half of the patients who contract heart failure pass away within five years of diagnosis. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments. And, as end-stage CHF approaches, WV Caring can manage the symptoms from the disease during this crucial time.

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Stroke Awareness: How Can WV Caring Help?

The highest mortality among stroke patients occurs within the first 30 days. The effects of a stroke can lead to damage that is irreversible and can impact a number of functions necessary for the body to function properly. With someone suffering from a stroke every four seconds, hospice can provide support care for a stroke by both helping to identify an impacted individual and adding in care after the incident. Unfortunately, hospice care services are typically underutilized following a stroke. Why is that?

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: How Can WV Caring Help?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Unfortunately, COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States, with West Virginia’s population leading the pack in adults diagnosed with COPD at 13.6 percent.

COPD causes long-term disability because of the symptoms it comes with, as well as an early death for many if not diagnosed early enough. Read on to learn more about COPD, symptoms of end-stage COPD, when hospice care is needed and the benefits of hospice.

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