What is hospice?
Hospice is specialized care for people in the end stages of their life. Our hospice assists families to allow them to care for their loved ones at home. It is our goal to make the patient’s life as full, active, and uplifting as we can possibly make it. We encourage continuing activities such as church functions, vacations, shopping trips, and other social interactions.
Who can make a referral to hospice?
Anyone can make a referral to hospice, for example: doctors, hospital staff, social workers, pastors, family members, and patients themselves.
What happens when a referral is made?
Once referrals are received, the patient and family meet with a hospice staff member to get information on the services offered by our hospice. If the patient and family are interested, a medical release is signed to obtain medical records and the doctor is contacted for his approval for hospice admission. Examples of hospice illnesses include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, end-stage heart disease, end-stage pulmonary disease (COPD), Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s, end-stage stroke, or failure to thrive.
What services will the patient receive from hospice?
The most common services are: nursing visits to evaluate the patient and refill medications, hospice aide visits to assist with bathing if needed and teach the family how to assist the patient, social worker visits to ensure that all available community resources are utilized, and chaplain visits to assist with spiritual issues.
How much will hospice care cost the patient?
Our hospice does not ever bill our patients for hospice care. Whatever amount your insurance pays is the amount we accept as payment in full. Payment sources include Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance plans.
Hospice offers 24/7 nursing availability, what does this mean for the patient?
The hospice nurse is on call for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have questions or concerns, you can contact the hospice nurse at our toll free number. The nurse is there to guide you through the many changes that can occur between staff visits.
Can a hospice patient still go to the hospital?
We recommend that you call the hospice nurse for help in making this decision. Most situations can be handled at home with your nurse’s help.
What happens if the patient lives longer than expected?
As long as the physician and hospice staff agree that the patient is medically declining, the patient can remain in hospice care longer than six months.
What happens if the family doesn’t want their loved one to die at home?
When the patient shows signs of dying, every effort would be made to move the patient into a local contracted facility to provide continued hospice care until the end of life.
What happens when my loved one passes away?
At the time of death, you call the hospice and the nurse and other staff will come to your home, pronounce the death, bathe and dress your loved one, and wait with you for the funeral home staff to arrive.
What kinds of services are available after the death of the patient?
Hospice staff will maintain contact with families for thirteen months after the patient’s death to ensure that they have the support they need and are coping appropriately with their loss.
What happens if a patient changes their mind about hospice care?
There is a one page form to sign that ends the hospice benefit. Hospice can seem like a big decision but it can be easily changed if it the patient or family chooses.