Hospice Care For HIV And AIDS Patients
Caring for someone with HIV/AIDS can be very difficult emotionally and physically. Patients with HIV/AIDS can have a slow decline that can occur over several months to years. HIV/AIDS care can become complex as patients develop end stage AIDS symptoms which include cancer, lymphoma, heart disease, recurrent infections, opportunistic infections, poor response to anti-retroviral therapy, various organ dysfunctions and failures.
Terminal AIDS conditions include CNS lymphoma, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, systemic lymphoma, rising viral loads (greater than 100,000 copies) unresponsive to therapy, loss of muscle mass with increasing weakness, chronic diarrhea, kidney failure, liver failure, Recurrent or unresolving opportunistic infections (MAC bacteremia, CMV, Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasmosis), increasing weakness requiring caregiver assistance for ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), CD4 Count below 25, development of HIV related encephalopathy (confusion), or general decline.
How Can Hospice Help?
Hospice focuses on addressing the patient’s symptoms and addressing any underlying comorbidities that may be affecting quality of life. One of the biggest focuses for hospice care is quality of life including pain and other symptom management.
At Lenity Light Hospice, we accomplish this by scheduling regular nursing visits to assess the patient for any uncontrolled symptoms. Anything that needs to be addressed is done so under the guidance of physicians. Medications are adjusted until pain and other symptoms are controlled.
Hospice is available to the patient and caregivers 24/7 and will provide various specialties to help take care of a patient. These include physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, CNAs (nurse aides), volunteers, therapists, chaplains, social workers and other staff. Hospice also covers most medications, supplies (gloves, briefs, bandages, etc.), medical equipment (hospital bed, commode, shower chair, wheelchairs, walkers, bed side tables, oxygen, etc.).