Hospice is a specific concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to curative treatment.
When a patient decides not to pursue further aggressive curative treatment, then it is a good time to introduce hospice so that the patient can be more familiar with the staff, and just as importantly, the staff can get to know the patient and family in a way that allows continuity of care.
Hospice care focuses on comfort and quality of life. Each person’s situation is unique and each plan of care will indicate the frequency of clinicians’ visits. Our Hospice team includes a Medical Director, Registered Nurses, Social Workers, Chaplains/Spiritual Counselors, Certified Hospice Aides, Volunteers, Bereavement Counselors, and Therapists.
Hospice patients are cared for in their personal residences, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and, when available, in contracted inpatient hospital settings.
Coverage is provided by Medicare, Medicaid and by most private insurance providers. Learn More.
It is the role of the primary care provider to recommend appropriate care, whether hospice or traditional curative care. The primary care provider makes a referral to the hospice of the patient’s choice. The patient allows the hospice agency to make an informational consultation. This consult visit provides education to the patient and family on what services are available and answer any questions they may have regarding hospice. The clinician reports to the primary care provider the patient’s hospice eligibility. If eligible the patient and family can determine what program services will be part of their plan of care. Studies have shown that early referrals to hospice actually improve length and quality of life.
Hospice helps patients reclaim their quality of life. It helps them understand that even though the possibility of death can lead to sadness, anger, and pain, it can also lead to opportunities for reminiscence, laughter, reunion, and hope.
No. An early referral to our hospice program enables patients and families to fully benefit from hospice support and services. Experts agree that patients need at least 60-90 days to maximize the hospice benefit of symptom management and caregiver/family support.
Yes. Hospice encourages the patient’s primary care provider to follow the patient onto the program and actively participate in the hospice care plan.
Hospice is for patients of any age with any diagnosis that may have a life expectancy of six months or less.
The Medicare benefit and most private insurance pay for hospice care as long as the patient continues to need hospice support. Patients may come on and off hospice care and re-enroll in hospice care as needed.
Home Health focuses on rehabilitation in contrast to hospice’s focus of palliative or comfort care for a life limiting prognosis of six months or less. Patients can change from home health to hospice once they determine that their health goals are comfort versus traditional curative care. Hospice staff is specifically trained in providing aggressive symptom management as well as emotional and spiritual care to patients and their families at end of life. In addition, grief support is provided to families for 13 months following a loved one’s death.