What is hospice?
Hospice is a philosophy of care for people faced with a life-limiting illness. It is designed to provide comfort care while ensuring respect for quality of life. It supports patients with pain and symptom management needs who have chosen comfort rather than curative care. Hospice serves the patient and family together, caring for their physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs.
How can you tell when it’s time for hospice care?
- The doctor has indicated that life expectancy is limited.
- Frequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits
- Unrelieved pain
- Falls have become more frequent.
- Sudden or progressive decline in physical functioning and eating.
- Unintentional weight loss, difficulty swallowing.
- Frequent infections.
- Shortness of breath is a concern even when resting and dependent on oxygen.
Does choosing hospice mean giving up on my loved one?
No. When treatment options for a disease have been exhausted or no longer effective, hospice provides a way for people to live in comfort, peace and dignity without curative care. Hospice isn’t about giving up, but about improving the quality of the patient’s life by being free of pain, surrounded by family and friends and in the comfort and privacy of home.
Who pays for hospice services?
Hospice & Community Care is a nonprofit organization meaning all of our revenue goes towards helping patients, families, and the community at large. We are certified to receive Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance payments. These reimbursements make up most of the revenue we receive for our operations. However, the cost of patient care far exceeds these reimbursements, so we rely heavily on donations, memorials, gifts, and proceeds from our Resale Shops to make up the difference.
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice can be provided in the patient’s home, long term care facilities, or our Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House. Your insurance plan may provide specific coverage guidelines.
My loved one is already in a nursing home. Why would they need hospice services there?
Nursing homes focus on routine daily care and rehabilitation. Nursing home residents who receive hospice services get additional, customized support determined by their plan of care, which focuses on the physical, emotional, and spiritual end-of-life needs of patients and their families. Hospice & Community Care staff, along with facility staff, work to develop a plan of care in order to best meet the patient and family needs.
What happens in the first 48 hours of hospice service?
A Hospice & Community Care staff member will contact you to schedule an appointment to present hospice and answer any questions regarding our services. The patient or appointed representative will sign an informed consent and hospice election form. The nurse or social worker will also review financial and insurance information. A complete physical assessment will be done by the nurse, who will collaborate with the physician on the hospice plan of care developed along with the patient and family. Helpful suggestions will be given to the patient and family regarding daily care and comfort measures. A schedule for visits will be developed, and the nurse will contact the other services needed.
Does hospice cover equipment and supplies?
Hospice covers basic medical equipment such as hospital beds, wheelchairs, and items like dressing change supplies and medications that are related to the terminal illness. Items not covered by Hospice & Community Care include nutritional supplements, over-the-counter medications or personal hygiene items such as tissues, lotion, shampoo, etc.
Will the patient keep his or her primary doctor?
The patient may choose to keep his/her primary physician. The patient may also choose to have the Hospice Medical Director as their primary physician if the patient does not have a primary physician. The nurse will communicate with the primary physician on a regular basis. keeping the physician updated on the patient’s condition and addresses any changes needed on the plan of care.
What if we decide we no longer want hospice services?
The patient and/or family can decide to discontinue hospice care at any time. Hospice staff may ask you to sign a revocation form if you choose to no longer want hospice services.
Why should I choose Hospice & Community Care?
At Hospice & Community Care, everyone in the organization works from the same belief: patients and families come first. We offer 24-hour support. Our nurses are available at all times, including weekends and holidays. Our patients receive individualized care plans to ensure their needs—physical, emotional, spiritual—and those of their families are always being met. Additionally, we offer care in our Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House – the only free-standing, inpatient hospice house in a 30 mile radius. Our care does not end at the patient’s death. Our team of experts offer family members and caregivers bereavement and grief support for up to 13 months following the death.
Do state and federal reviewers inspect and evaluate hospices?
Yes. There are state licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order to deliver care. In addition, hospices must comply with federal regulations in order to be approved for reimbursement under Medicare. Hospices must periodically undergo inspections to be sure they are meeting regulatory standards in order to maintain license to operate and certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.
How can I be sure that quality hospice care is provided?
Many hospices use tools to monitor how well they are doing in relation to quality hospice standards. At Hospice & Community Care we use the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS), for feedback on the performance of our services and continually seek to improve our programs.