What is Hospice?
Posted on 10.08.2012
Hospice is a philosophy of care for persons at the end of their lives. It focuses care on the whole being – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Everyone has a right to die with dignity in as much comfort as possible. Hospice care ensures that. When one of our residents requires hospice care and services, we provide the family with a list of proven providers from which to choose. Our staff has wonderful working relationships with all of them.
Where and how is hospice care provided?
Hospice care is provided in a person’s home wherever home may be – private residence, assisted living facility, group home, skilled nursing facility. People on hospice are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers, and a variety of therapeutic services, such as music therapy.
Does hospice provide 24 hour care?
A hospice nurse is available on call 24 hours a day. The nurses, social workers, home health aides, and other hospice team members, make routine visits to provide comfort care – physical, emotional and spiritual. They train family caregivers to give medications, transfer, turn, and care for the hospice client. Families can hire extra help privately for extended periods of care-giving if needed. Bereavement support for the family continues for at least 12 months after the hospice client has died.
Who pays for hospice?
Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurances cover the cost of the hospice team visits, equipment, and medications related to the hospice diagnosis.
When is hospice care appropriate?
Client and family want additional comfort care and support
Declining health and functional status with frequent hospitalizations
Increased pain not well controlled with current medications
Symptoms needing frequent interventions (i.e. shortness of breath, infections, problems swallowing, nausea and vomiting
Spouse and/or family member unable to provide care due to client’s declining health
A doctor’s order is needed to start hospice care (see below)
Is hospice “giving up”?
To elect hospice is to change the treatment focus from curative to comfort care only. Hospice clients will get their symptoms managed so they can live their last days to the fullest. If their condition stabilizes or improves, they may go off hospice care until their condition changes and hospice services are needed again. Starting hospice care also allows family members to resume their role as husband, wife, son, daughter, without the added burden of being a care-giver as well.
Do I need to wait until my doctor prescribes hospice care?
Anyone can bring up enrolling in hospice with their doctor, but a doctor’s order is needed for hospice services to begin. The doctor and hospice staff will evaluate the client to make sure that he/she meets the hospice criteria for admission. Most hospice programs offer
consultations to clients and their families to discuss the services offered and answer any questions the person and family may have.
How do I find out more information about hospice services and programs?
Contact Carrie Smida, Director of Social Services at Episcopal Church Home. Call her at 651-632-8820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our thanks to Deb Lane, Community Liason, St. Mary’s Hospice in Saint Paul, for allowing us to share her expert insights on the subject of hospice care.
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