Heart Disease is often very stressful for patients and their family caregivers. Patients frequently experience stress over confusing medications and uncomfortable, debilitating and frightening symptoms that are difficult to manage and accept.

Those living with heart disease often feel they are a mere shadow of their former selves. Quality of life becomes compromised and they may no longer be able to experience activities they once enjoyed. They watch who they used to be quietly slip away as the disease progresses.

Though caring for a loved one with heart disease will not be easy, the support you give as a caregiver will have an incredibly positive impact for your loved one. Beyond the tasks of daily caregiving there are other simple, yet impactful, ways you can support a loved one with heart disease.


  • Manage Your Own Wellbeing.  According to the Heart Foundation, it’s important for you to take time to recognize your emotional state and take real steps to manage your own health. Ensuring your own well-being helps you be a better caregiver. Get the support you need. Take some time to build a support network for yourself that helps empower you and allows you to share your emotions. Also enlist others to help so not everything is on your shoulders. Your friends and family will often welcome the chance to help out. Let them. Remember your goal is to provide the best care possible, that does not mean doing it all.
  • Find a Balance Between Smothering and Caring. It is difficult to watch a loved one face a serious illness. As a caregiver you step in bravely, wanting to comfort and support them. But remember your loved one’s world has shifted. They may want to fight to remain as independent as possible. They most likely will not want to be treated differently, or have you see them differently. A common complaint of those living with heart disease is that their loved ones hover over them too closely or treat them like they are fragile. Caregiving is empowering, but be sure to find the right balance so your loved one can maintain a sense of self that is not changed by the disease.
  • Listen. One of the most important ways to support your loved one is to simply listen. Every disease carries an emotionally difficult journey. Fear, anxiety, stress and depression may all be emotions your loved one is battling. When they want to talk, stop whatever you are doing and actively listen. Repeat back what your loved one is saying and feeling to make sure you understand. They may not be looking for anything other than to feel understood.
  • Advocate. Taking on a role as your loved one’s advocate can help ensure they are receiving the best care possible. Those living with serious illness often complain that their medical providers are not listening to them or not giving the necessary attention to what they are experiencing. Advocate for your loved one by reinforcing your loved one’s responses to physicians. Help them feel understood and their issues and concerns adequately communicated.
  • Attend Doctor Visits. There will be a lot of information shared by physicians during medical visits. Some may be difficult to understand or confusing. Especially for a patient whose disease may make critical thinking more challenging. Attending doctor visits can help ensure visits are more successful. Take notes so you can recall information as needed. Also ask questions when you need anything clarified. It will be frustrating if you leave an appointment without answers to your questions, so write them down and bring them with you. It’s too easy to forget and regret later what you wish you had asked.
  • Understand Medication. Heart medications can be confusing and the regiment of taking them properly can be difficult. You can help ensure your loved one’s well being by ensuring they gain the full benefit from their medications. Understand the purpose of each prescription, how to take it properly and what side effects it may cause. Communicate any issues to your loved one’s medical team.
  • Plan for the Future. Planning now for the days ahead will reduce anxiety and stress tomorrow. Knowledge is power. Understand the progression of the disease and options for care in the future when more support will become necessary. Ask your loved one about their wishes for end of life care. What is important to them? Understanding their wishes can help prepare for choices like hospice care that is focused on improving quality of life. 

Caring for someone with heart disease is demanding. It’s mentally, physically and emotionally challenging. The day-in and day-out demands of caregiving can feel overwhelming especially as the disease progresses. Heart disease is progressive and there may come a time when you need an extra layer of support.

ViaQuest Hospice teams are expertly trained in heart disease. Our care brings an extra layer of support that helps improve quality of life and eases the burdens of serious illness. If you have any questions about caring for a loved one with advancing heart disease, we’re here to help, reach out to us for options and answers. Caring for your loved one will be easier if you have a strong group of people around to help. 



It’s time again for those promising New Year’s resolutions. Every year many of us vow to make positive changes. Some will focus on eating healthier and getting into shape, others saving money or getting out of debt. Some will promise to live more fully by spending more time with family and friends or traveling more. If you are a family caregiver we hope to encourage you to add self-care to the top of your list.

Family caregivers never put on their oxygen masks first. Every day we see the care, compassion and dedication you give your loved one. As a care provider, you’re always putting others first. So where’s your oxygen? ViaQuest wishes you a New Year filled with a little more ‘YOU-care’. We know you can’t add more time to your day, so here’s a few self-care tips that don’t require much time, yet can help you breathe a little easier.

– Express gratitude. Acknowledging the goodness in your life can make you more optimistic and feel better about your life.

– Sing Out Loud. When driving, roll down those windows and SING. Singing sends musical vibrations through your body that can lift your mood. Make it loud and proud.

– Be The Original You. You were born an original piece of art. When you practice self love by being fully yourself and liking who you are, you give yourself more strength to love others. Don’t look at yourself as only a caregiver, get back to who you were before.

– Ask For A Hug. When you have the opportunity, ask for a hug. Getting a hug from a good (healthy) friend can help ease your stress. Hugs are comforting and good for your health. The firm, constant pressure of a hug can help calm an overactive sympathetic nervous system. If you’re not in a situation where you can safely get a hug, consider a weighted blanket.

– Celebrate You. Embrace the good you are doing. Acknowledge your incredible contributions to your loved one. See the best in yourself.

– Take a little ME-time. Sip that morning coffee, listen to your favorite song, the whole song, take a deep breath. Carving out even just a few minutes a day can help you reset.

– Accept Help. When caring for someone, it’s so difficult to accept help. Many feel it is their sole responsibility to care for their loved one. Others feel no one will care as deeply or as well for their loved one as they do. But accepting help will empower you to be a better caregiver. We can’t do our best when we’re running on empty. When friends or family say they want to help, they mean it. Let them take a bit of the responsibility off your shoulders. And when it’s time for an extra layer of support, ViaQuest can bring an entire team of expert, compassionate care that helps empower the care you are already giving.

The new year can be a time of new beginnings. While it may be challenging to consider your own needs, these very simple steps can help. Caregiver burnout is real and can take a devastating toll on your own health and well-being. Even just a little self-care can go a long way to help ensure you are able to provide the best care possible to your loved one. Consider making 2023 the year of self-care. And remember, if you or your loved one needs an extra layer of support, we’re always just a call away. Learn how ViaQuest Hospice cares for the mind, body, and spirit.

Well Done Good and Faithful Servant

The news of a death is never on time.  It is never convenient, never feels normal and it will always feel foreign. From my perspective as a Hospice Chaplain and Christian heart, it is my belief that God never designed us, his beloved, for death.

But death does come. And this day would not be unlike other days when the telephone heralds the news that one of our Hospice patients has passed away. For months, even a couple of years, we watched, fed, bathed, prayed with, sang songs, and held hands with Miss Reba. But now she was gone.

As I entered Water’s Edge Village, I hurried into the facility. The staff quickly pointed to me the way to where miss Reba’s body would be. “Where is Marjorie?” I asked urgently.  Marjorie had unselfishly served as the Hospice Aide for Miss Reba. Indeed, Marjorie had spent more time caring for Miss Reba than anyone. Many times over, I watched as Marjorie coaxed Reba to eat and even spoon fed her if necessary. I can’t even count the number of times Marjorie washed, brushed hair, or wheeled Miss Reba through the facility. Her job was a labor of sheer love.

Now, her job was over. I stood in the doorway of the room. There was Marjorie, lovingly bathing Miss Reba and completing post-mortem care. The CD playing filled the room with the voices of an angelic choir singing. I stood in silence, watching as Marjorie poured out her heart, her love and yes her tears for her friend. With every loving touch, a tear fell.

Surely the Glory of God, which Miss Reba loved, was shining through our Marjorie. She dressed Miss Reba, fixed her hair and tucked in every sheet corner. Then she turned to see me in the door. Her head fell to my shoulder as both of us mourned for our friend.  Tears turned to smiles knowing that Miss Reba was finally home, with no wheelchair, no pain, no memory issues and no crackles in her singing voice.

At ViaQuest, it’s all about the love. How grateful am I for people like Marjorie, who even in death, stand strong, love our patients, and help usher them into the arms of God when the time of passing comes. Miss Reba never forgot the words to Amazing Grace. Today she is singing that song more beautifully than ever. And she will never forget a Hospice Aide by the name of Marjorie Adamson, who made all the difference in this world. Lord, help me to love like Marjorie. She is heartbeat of ViaQuest Hospice.

–Written by Ron Wilson, ViaQuest Hospice Chaplain

Learn more about how our hospice care can help you or your loved one.

Celebrating Father’s Day When Dad is Seriously Ill

Father’s Day means celebrating Dad and all he loves: backyard barbecues, spending the day together at his favorite golf course, or cheering his favorite basketball team to victory. For those whose loved one is coping with a serious illness, Father’s Day can be an emotionally challenging day. During a day that is centered around family, joy, and life, it can be difficult to feel festive when a family member may be facing a limited life expectancy. Celebrating Dad when Dad is seriously ill may not be like those Father’s Days in the past. But you can still find ways to make the day special and celebrate your dad or a special father figure in your life.

The main goal should be to make the day’s celebration feel as normal as possible, much like past Father’s Days felt, within your loved one’s ability to participate. The most important outcome is celebrating this special day together, and being focused on treasuring this time versus worrying too much about making a perfect Father’s Day.

This Mother’s Day may not be like past Mother’s Days. But it may become the most special one of all. Try and reframe your thinking to celebrate this person on their special day rather than dwell on what may have been lost. Make the most of every moment and gather these memories to live in your heart.

Five Tips on Celebrating Father’s Day When Dad Is Seriously Ill

Here are some tips on how to still celebrate this special day and what to do when Dad is seriously ill:

Ask Dad: Ask Dad about some of his favorite Father’s Days in the past. He’s likely to tell you it wasn’t about what you did, but about being together. Try and recreate some of his favorite memories.

Be realistic: Be realistic in planning the day’s activities according to your loved one’s current health condition. Dad may not be able to walk a golf course, but maybe he can hit balls in the backyard. If Dad is confined to a chair, then going out to the movies may not work. Instead, set up an outdoor screen in the backyard and have movie night at home. If the family tradition is going to a ballgame together, have the grandkids and siblings play ball in the backyard where Dad can watch from a comfortable lounge chair or from a view out the window. Activities should be based on his ability to enjoy them. Think of refocusing how you used to celebrate in a different way. Create a drilled-down version of the same loved activity.

Plan ahead: To make the most of the day, take steps to ensure Dad will feel his best. Seeing his physician to ensure his condition is as stable as possible can help ensure he can enjoy the day. Make sure he has not missed any doctor appointments. Ensure medications are refilled and taken properly. If Dad has mobility issues, consider where to celebrate. If you are going to a restaurant, find one that takes reservations so there is no long wait for a table. Choose a restaurant that is easy to navigate if he is in a wheelchair or on a walker. If a family member is going to host, choose the home that is the most handicapped friendly. Considering obstacles with preplanning can help make the celebration go more smoothly and make Dad feel less hampered by his illness.

Have a backup plan: When living with serious illness, there will be good days and bad days. If on the day of celebration Dad suddenly does not feel like going to the restaurant or leaving his house, have a backup plan to bring the celebration to him. If the plans were to go out to his favorite restaurant, pick up to go. If you were going to host at your house, cook at his house. Remember, it’s not about what you do, but about honoring your dad simply by spending time together. Be flexible, not perfect.

Allow yourself to have fun and enjoy the day: Instead of worrying about what will happen in the future, make the most of the day. Your dad is here now. Stay in the present.

Father’s Day reminds us what this special person has meant to our lives. As adults, we remember the care and protection he gave us as children, when he was healthy, strong, and we saw him as invincible. He may have lost some of who he was, but he is still Dad. Celebrating him on Father’s Day may feel different and may come with compromises, but it may also be the most precious Father’s Day of all.

If your loved one is struggling with serious illness, ViaQuest can help through expert care, symptom management, caregiver support, and education. ViaQuest Hospice improves quality of life for those living with advanced illnesses, including COPD, CFH, cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, and kidney or liver disease. Learn more about how we can help your loved one live more fully. If you think it’s time to consider extra support, here are some great tips on how to have the conversation.

Celebrating Mother’s Day When Mom is Seriously Ill

May is the month for moms. It’s a time when we reflect, celebrate and remember our mother or other women who have been meaningful in our lives. It’s often the time for family gatherings, Mother’s Day brunches, presents and making memories. Yet Mother’s Day can be exceptionally difficult when our mother or another beloved woman in our lives is living with a serious illness. Celebrating Mother’s Day when mom is seriously ill is still something we should make happen.

It’s difficult to know what to say and what to do when your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness. It’s difficult to celebrate special holidays like we have in the past. But remember that both of you are still who you are. Focusing on the strengths of your relationship and the time you still have together will help both of you cope with this life-changing event. And though you are both living a new reality, there are still ways to celebrate Mother’s Day that can help you focus on celebrating your loved one and remembering what you still have versus what may have been lost. When the whole world seems to be celebrating Mother’s Day, here are five ways to celebrate that special woman in your life who is seriously ill.

  1. Readjust Expectations. Remember to allow the celebration to be realistic to your loved one’s health and what they feel up to doing. Be flexible and have a backup plan, as you may need to change plans at the last minute. If you were planning your traditional Mother’s Day brunch at their favorite restaurant and they don’t feel up to going, see if the restaurant offers catering. Or have each family member bring a dish and celebrate at home. Remember, it’s not about what you do, it’s about doing something together.
  2. Gather Memories. This is a great time to gather memories for the future. Try and really be in the present on the day of the celebration. Focus on what is happening now, not in the future. Today you are all together, so be together. Don’t let worrying about what may happen in the months ahead rob you of this day.
  3. Share Memories. There are things so much more important than gifts when a loved one enters this phase of their life. Have everyone share memories of their time with your loved one. Share funny stories of the past, adventures and misadventures. Let them see and hear the meaning of the life they lived. Bring photos of times shared and have everyone share their favorite memory. This is the time to say everything that is important to be said and to recall all of the joy your loved one has brought into your lives.
  4. Go Virtual. Find something left on their bucket list and try to make it happen virtually. If they always wanted to travel to a special place, find a movie, travel documentary or blog about that destination, then go there virtually as a family. Perhaps they talk about something from the past – a trip, a place they used to live, a concert or sports event. Recreate this by creating a video of old photos from the family photo album or from online resources with your smart phone. Then take them back there and ask them to share their memories of that time.
  5. Connect to Long-Distance Loved Ones. There may be family or friends too far away to be here for Mother’s Day in person. Include them in the celebration via Facetime or Zoom. They can be your surprise guests. Create a special time for them to connect to your loved one so they too can share how important she is in their lives.

This Mother’s Day may not be like past Mother’s Days. But it may become the most special one of all. Try and reframe your thinking to celebrate this person on their special day rather than dwell on what may have been lost. Make the most of every moment and gather these memories to live in your heart.

We know how important emotional support is for patients, family members and caregivers – which is why ViaQuest takes a comprehensive approach to hospice care through our Emotional Support Services. Whether coping with a terminal diagnosis, the demands of providing around-the-clock care or the loss of a loved one, we offer supportive services and therapies that are tailored to meet the unique emotional needs of every individual and situation. Learn more about how we can help you and your family.

When Is It Time To Talk About Hospice Care? Tips About How To Talk To Your Loved One About Hospice.

April 16 is National Health Care Decisions Day. National Healthcare Decisions Day exists to inspire, educate and empower the public about the importance of advance care planning. This is a great time to consider when it’s time to talk about hospice care. The most common comment ViaQuest hears from our patients and their families is that they wish they had gained the support that hospice brings earlier in their illness.

Many hesitate to have the conversation because they mistakenly believe that hospice is about giving up or for just the final days of life. Hospice is not about giving up, hospice is about improving the quality of life and being empowered to live each day as fully as possible. Hospice works best when started earlier, allowing both the patient and their family to gain the fullest benefit of hospice’s expert and supportive physical, spiritual and emotional care.

It’s important to have people nearby who can act as a support system when needed. Build a contact list of their friends, trustworthy neighbors or members of their church. Here are some helpful insights on when and how to have the hospice conversation for improved quality of life.

When Should You Start The Conversation?

  • Aggressive treatments seems to be doing more harm than good
  • Your loved one seems reluctant to pursue more treatment
  • Your loved one’s condition has steadily or significantly declined
  • You need to find a solution to end the cycle of rehospitalizations or ER visits
  • Your loved one’s physician explains a cure is no longer feasible
  • You’re witnessing a diminished quality of life 
  • Quality of life has become more important
  • You are beyond your limits of what you can manage as a caregiver

Tips for Talking About Hospice With A Loved One

  1. Choose a time when you both feel you have plenty of time
  2. Accept that this may be more than one conversation. Don’t push for a decision the first time you talk about hospice care.
  3. Begin by acknowledging that your loved one has been through a lot lately.
  4. Ask your loved one what is most important to them now; what do they value most?
  5. 5Ask about their fears and concerns about their disease.
  6. Talk about their hopes for the future.
  7. Share your emotions, fears and concerns and what you hope for them.
  8. Explain that hospice is not about giving up but about improving quality of life.
  9. Ensure them that it is their decision.
  10. Explain that hospice is an option and they can go off of hospice at any time.
  11. Offer the option to talk with someone like ViaQuest Hospice who can explain the benefits of hospice care without the pressure of making an immediate decision.

Helping Determine When Hospice is the Right Choice 

If your loved one is living with advanced illness and needs extra care then ViaQuest Hospice might be the answer. Our patients often tell us they wish they had started hospice care sooner. Our support is most effective when we can help early on; this helps ensure you gain the full benefit of our care and support. Many physicians find that the ViaQuest Hospice program greatly enhances and extends the care they provide, and our care extends the lives of their patients. ViaQuest Hospice provides expert medical care and an extra layer of support. Our care includes, our hospice medical director,  nurses who provide expert care and symptom control in the comfort of home, CNAs who help with selfcare, social workers who can help align resources, chaplains for spiritual care and comfort and volunteers who provide emotional support and companionship.  Our friendly team at ViaQuest Hospice can help determine if our care may meet the needs of you and your loved one. Contact us today for support, resources, or answers.