Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about hospice care. If you have additional questions, contact us.
The earlier you call, the more we can do to help you. At any time during a serious illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Hospice staff members are always available to discuss this decision with the patient, family and physician.
The patient and family should feel free to discuss care at any time with their physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy or friends.
Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, it is available from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, medical societies, state hospice organizations and local hospices.
Hospice focuses on pain and symptom control in addition to providing emotional, social and spiritual support for patients and families. Words commonly used to describe hospice include compassion, comfort, respect, dignity and love. We believe every patient deserves dignity, compassion, and respect.
This helpful chart shows the difference between services and what is paid for under the home health care versus hospice benefits.
There are the most common options for senior living.
Certainly. If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice. Patients can choose to stop hospice care or change their hospice provider once during each period of care. Benefit periods are defined as first 90 days, second 90 days and unlimited 60-day periods.
One of the first things hospice will do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. The patient will also be asked to sign consent forms. The hospice election form explains that the patient understands that the care is palliative (aimed at pain relief and symptom control) rather than curative and outlines the services available.
The first thing we will do is assist you in finding out whether the patient is eligible for coverage. The Medicare hospice benefit covers the cost of hospice care. Medicaid and private insurance companies also often cover hospice services. Patients who have no coverage or other available resources may be admitted under a charity program after a financial assessment.
We will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment and help make arrangements to obtain it. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses.
This comprehensive list details the benefits of hospice care.
There is no set number. One of the first things we will do is prepare an individualized care plan that will address the amount of caregiving the patient needs.
Our hospice team makes regular visits to assess the patient and provide care. The hospice staff has clinicians on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This depends on the individual’s physical limitations. Your hospice nurse will assess the needs and offer recommendations.
A team of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists and volunteers care for hospice patients, and each provides assistance based on his or her area of expertise. In addition, hospice provide medications, supplies, equipment, inpatient hospice, hospice services and additional helpers in the home as appropriate. We can assist with the following services:
- Physician-directed services
- Nursing care
- Spiritual Care
- Social work
- Certified nursing assistants
- Medical equipment
- Medical supplies
- Medications related to the hospice diagnosis and related conditions
- Pain management
- Symptom control management
- Counseling services
- Volunteer support
- Bereavement support
- Other therapies as needed
We provide care in a variety of places including:
- Patient’s home or apartment
- Friend or relative’s home
- Assisted living
- Nursing home
- Short-term, inpatient hospital
- Senior living
Hospice patients may require differing intensities of care. These levels include:
- Routine care
- Respite care
- Crisis care
- General inpatient care
This brief article provides a more detailed explanation of these levels of care.
These are the most common end stage diseases associated with hospice care:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Liver/renal disease
- Pulmonary disease
- Neurological diseases
The symptoms below may mean that hospice care is right for your family.
- Increased pain
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent infections
- Recurrent hospitalizations
- Weight Loss
- Decline in ability to function
- Cognitive decline
- Non-healing wounds
Hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process but does nothing to either speed up or slow down the dying process.
This useful article provides detailed information on eligibility and indications of when hospice care is needed.
Our nurses and doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Using a combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them. We believe that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so we address these as well. Counselors, including clergy, are available to assist family members as well as patients.
Usually not. It is our goal to help patients be comfortable and alert by constantly consulting with the patient. We have been successful in reaching this goal.
No. While some religious organizations have started hospices, we serve a broad community and do not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.
Yes, our bereavement program offers spiritual and emotional support to family members after the death of their loved one for 13 months. The amount of contact is determined by the needs and wishes of the patient’s family.