What is Hospice?
Hospice is a special healthcare option for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. A multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, bereavement counselors and volunteers work together to address the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and family. The hospice team provides care to patients in their own home or home-like setting regardless of the patient’s age or ability to pay. There are many things to consider when making a decision about hospice. While, we understand that everyone’s situation unique, many of the questions we hear are answered below.
What does hospice really do?
ALL SEASON’S Hospice provides specialized care services (patient care including symptom management, emotional support, spiritual support and psychosocial intervention), addressing issues most important to the patient’s needs and wants at the end of their life focusing on improving the individual’s quality of life.
How do I know when it is time for end-of-life care?
Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less. At that time comfort care and symptom management become the primary focus, and curative treatment is not longer the patient’s choice.
When should hospice be called?
Hospice should be called at any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice.
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice care is provided in a setting that best meets the needs of each patient and family. The most common setting is the patient’s home. Hospice care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals according to patient care needs.
Are all hospices the same?
No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, etc. Each hospice is a different company. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services may differ. It is your right to request the hospice of your choice if more than one hospice serves your area.
Does Hospice provide 24 hour in home care?
No, Hospice provides intermittent nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime the need for support arises.
Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
No. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does not speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortable as possible.
Can I live along and still receive hospice services?
Yes. ALL SEASON’S Hospice accepts patients who live along. Part of the admission and ongoing care process, however, is to plan and prepare for the time in a patient’s life when 24-hour-a day care will be necessary.
Can a hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?
Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit.
Can I go back to the hospital and still receive hospice care?
Yes. Many symptoms, however, that would normally require hospitalization or an emergency room visit could be successfully managed at home by the hospice team, thus preventing the stress of hospitalization. Hospice patients generally only have the need for short hospital stays to stabilize a symptom and then are able to return home.
Is the decision for hospice care giving up home or waiting to die?
No. Hospice is about living. Hospice strives to bring quality of life and comfort to a patient and their family. Our successes are in helping a patient and family live fully until the end. Often patients will feel better with good pain and symptom management. Hospice is an experience of care and support, different than any other type of care.
Do I have to be homebound to receive hospice services?
No. Hospice is about living fully. We encourage patients to do what they enjoy as they are able. The hospice team assists patients and families in achieving their goals and dreams as much as possible.
Does hospice provide support to the family after the patient dies?
Yes. Bereavement Services follow family and caregivers for a year following the patient’s death. These services may include personal visits, providing information concerning the grief process and offering periodic opportunities for group support. Bereavement Services provides information and referral to other area resources when needed.
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