What Is Hospice?

Hospice is a philosophy of care. Our care focuses on quality of life rather than quantity of life. The goal of hospice is expert symptom control to ensure a patient is as comfortable as possible. Hospice is about managing life’s final journey with dignity and compassion. Hospice care is appropriate when a patient no longer benefits from treatment or declines further treatment and is expected to live 6 months or less if the illness follows its normal course. Hospice is funded 100% by Medicare and Medicaid with most private insurance companies also having a hospice benefit. Hospice provides medications to control all symptoms relating to the end-stage illness, as well as any necessary medical equipment and supplies. Hospice does not hasten or postpone death.

Hospice treats the patient and family as one unit and involves the patient and the family in making treatment decisions. When the Registered Nurse notes physical changes, those are communicated to the patient/family as well as any symptom control options. Expected outcomes of the various options are discussed, as well as consequences of not choosing an option, enabling the patient and family to make informed decisions regarding their end of life care. Our services are available to the patient and family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice care is provided wherever the patient lives (private home, assisted living, nursing home, etc.) Most hospice care is given in the home, with family members and/or trained staff serving as the primary caregivers. Hospice staff provides an additional layer of care for the patient, family and/or caregivers. An interdisciplinary health care team manages hospice care. This means that many different disciplines work together to care for the patient. Doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and trained volunteers care for the patient and family, and offer support based on their special areas of expertise. Together, they provide complete medical, social, emotional, and spiritual support. The Hospice Team meets every two weeks at a minimum, reviewing each patient, thereby ensuring the most comprehensive individualized Plan of Care is in place.

Hospice care also tends to the spiritual needs of the patient and family. Since people differ in their spiritual needs and religious beliefs, spiritual care is set up to meet those individual needs. Bereavement is the time of mourning after a loss. The hospice team works with surviving family members to help them through the grieving process. A trained volunteer, clergy member, or professional counselor provides support to survivors through visits, phone calls, and/or letter contact, as well as through support groups. The hospice team can refer family members and care-giving friends to other medical or professional care if needed. Bereavement services are often provided for up to 13 months following the patient’s death.

The hospice interdisciplinary team coordinates and supervises ALL care 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We are responsible for making sure that all individuals involved in the care of the patient routinely share information, ensuring the highest level of coordinated care. We provide regularly scheduled visits as well as being available when health conditions change…we are simply a phone call away.

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