Page 31 - 2018 Senior Scene Magazine February
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Senior Scene® | February Issue
Hospice Care: What to Expect When Your Loved One is at Home
Susan Acocella
VITAS Healthcare General Manager
A main concern for most people faced with terminal illness is whether they’ll be able to die wherever they call “home.” Hospice care helps eliminate that worry, making it possible for people to spend their final moments of life in their preferred surroundings.
By definition, hospice is intended to help terminally ill people remain comfortable during the last six months of their lives. The care can be administered at the patient’s home, hospice inpatient units as well as hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living communities or residential care facilities.
When a loved one is receiving hospice care at home, these are the questions hospice providers are often asked:
1. How will pain be managed? Hospice is an end-of-life care option tailored to the needs of each patient and family. It includes expert pain management, but also goes beyond medical care, by providing emotional and spiritual support. The care is provided by interdisciplinary teams of palliative care experts, including physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, bereavement specialists and volunteers.
2. If the patient prefers to remain at home, what kind of assistance and in-home care will be available? Routine home care is available in accordance to the patient’s individualized plan of care. Continuous care, during a brief period of crisis, can be available for up to 24 hours a day. When patients or family members have questions or concerns after business hours, they can often get immediate answers and help by calling an after-hours service.
3. What is the role of family members when their loved one is on hospice care? Family members play an important role by providing personal care to their loved one when hospice teams are not present. The hospice team does not “take over.”
We think so much about teeth, the ability to chew, and the aesthetics of the smile that sometimes we don’t think about the other function of teeth, and that is to provide lip support. Often, we may look to the plastic and reconstructive surgeon for help with such things as inadequate lip prominence, or a nose or chin that appears too prominent. However, one reason why a nose or chin would appear too noticeable is insufficient lip support from the teeth and gums.
When you lose a tooth, you also lose some of the bone that was there to support that tooth. That same bone supports your lip. The more teeth that you lose in the front of your mouth, the more loss of lip support that you may experience.
Why do some people lose more lip support than others? Some of us genetically have very thick bone. That bone is less likely to recede. Many of us, however, have thin bone surrounding the teeth. The thinner the bone, the more you are likely to lose that bone and consequent lip support.
How can you tell in advance whether you have thin bone or not? One method is to view the bone with a CT scan. Another way is to look at your teeth in the mirror. Are the gums receded? Do the roots show? You likely have thin bone.
What can you do to restore lip support? From a surgical perspective, we can graft bone and soft tissue in some cases. From a prosthetic perspective, we can add a gum- tissue-colored porcelain to replace the missing gum tissue. There are multiple gum- tissue colored porcelain shades available to help your dentist closely match the color of your existing gum tissue.
Through careful diagnosis, we can advise you of your potential for lost lip support. Your dental team can then help you rebuild that which you have lost.
The Facial Profile
Dr. Lee Sheldon, DMD
February 2018 | Senior Scene® Magazine | 31

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