Ask Dorothy RN

Hello, my name is Dorothy, your Hospice & Home health nurse for the last 20 years. When it comes to needing care at home, many hospice and home health clients and their families have questions. We understand how critical it is to have these questions answered to keep our clients and families at ease. That is why we are here ( Dorothy ).  In this blog we will attempt to answer all questions from Insurance Coverage, Admission Criteria, Physician Orders, Choosing Providers, Advance Care Planning, Spiritual Support, Respite Care, Care Concerns and more. For more personalized answers i can be reached at



By Anne-Marie Botek

The tasks of caring for an elderly loved one can add up quickly, leaving you exhausted and stressed out. Chances are, if you’ve been a caregiver for more than a few weeks you’ve experienced a certain degree of caregiver burnout.

Keep your eyes peeled for these six common signs of burnout. If you find yourself thinking or saying these things, you may want to seek help from your doctor and consider finding some respite care.

6 Signs of Caregiver Burnout

  1. I just don’t feel like talking to or seeing anyone today—even my friends and family.
    If you discover that you consistently don’t want to interact with people, especially close family and friends, it could be a sign that caring for your elderly loved one is becoming too draining.
  2. I used to really enjoy reading mystery novels, but for some reason, even a thrilling ‘Whodunit’ doesn’t seem to hold my interest anymore.
    If your favorite hobbies and pastimes aren’t interesting to you anymore, it may indicate that you need a break from being a caregiver.
  3. Sometimes taking care of mom is too much—I feel like I want to end it all.
    Thoughts of suicide or hurting your elderly loved one are dangerous warning signs of extreme burnout and probable depression. You should immediately seek help from a mental health professional if you find yourself having violent thoughts.
  4. I’ve been eating weirdly lately.
    Abnormal eating patterns, whether it’s eating too much or not enough might be an indication of extreme stress.
  5. I’ve been sleeping weirdly lately.
    If you can’t seem to fall asleep at night, or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, you may be feeling the effects of too much caregiving responsibility.
  6. It’s been several weeks and I can’t seem to shake this cold.
    Stress can wreak havoc with your immune system. Illnesses that last longer than they should are a sign of reduced immune system functioning that could be due to your caregiving duties.

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How often does my Nurse Visit?.

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Our hospice nurses will visit their clients as often as necessary. This is typically 2 to 3 times per week. When there is a crisis the visit increase to daily, twice a day and eventually continuous care. That means a nurse can stay up to 24 hour around the clock during a crisis. The hospice nurses are also on call 24 hours a day 7 days per week to assist with any questions that arises.

Palliative Care

Palliative Care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.

Palliative care specialists treat people suffering from many serious disease types and chronic illnesses, including cancer, cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and many more.

Palliative care focuses on the symptoms of the disease and the treatment, to helps you with a wide range of issues, including pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, shortness of breath, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. It also helps you gain the strength to carry on with daily life. It improves your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And it helps you have more control over your care by improving your understanding of your choices for treatment.

Palliative care is provided in a variety of settings including in the comfort of home. In addition, most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover palliative care. Where costs are a concern, a social worker from the palliative care team can help you.


Wisners Family: My doctor has suggested Hospice care. Will my health insurance benefits pay and will I have some out of pocket costs?

Dorothy RN: Most health care insurances have a hospice benefit that will cover all services related to the terminal diagnosis. That includes all visits needed like Nurses, personal care aides, social worker, chaplain, physical therapy and physician home visits to care for the terminal diagnosis to manage the symptoms . All supplies, medications and equipment needed to manage the terminal diagnosis are also covered without out of pocket costs. .Occasionally, the family might opt for extra services like sitter services, companionship or housekeeping which could be out of pocket costs. However, each hospice case is unique in terms is what is required to meet the patients needs. Hospice clients and their families should take time to discuss and understand what is covered.

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