Understanding Hospice

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UnderstandingHospiceWhat is hospice…

  • Hospice is a choice; an alternative to aggressive treatment or prolonged hospital care–a choice to be comfortable in the last months of life.
  • Hospice is a philosophy of care with an emphasis on physical, emotional, and spiritual support and focus on living fully and well.
  • Hospice is care and support, generally at no additional cost to you or your loved one, in your own home or nursing facility where both the surroundings and the caregivers are familiar.
  • Hospice is a team that works with you to make the end-of-life process more comfortable and less frightening. When you choose hospice care, the hospice interdisciplinary team oversees the provision and coordination of all care regarding the terminal diagnosis. A team of caring Doctors, Registered Nurses, CNA’s, Social Workers, Clergy, various Volunteers, and other Health Professionals as needed.
  • Hospice is a level of care that involves your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being that extends to family and caregivers with education and support.
  • Hospice is a benefit of most insurances that covers prescriptions, medical equipment, medical care, social support, and spiritual support for when a life limiting diagnosis of 6 months or less is needed to benefit from hospice care; and it can be extended as long as the illness remains.

 What can a patient and family unit expect from Hospice Del Sol?

  • Help in understanding and getting the most from your hospice benefit.
  • Individualized physical, emotional, and spiritual support for you, your family, and caregivers provided by a team of professionals who listen to and honor your wishes and preferences.
  • Easy and timely access to your care team–one call to our office, any hour of the day or night, every day of the week!
  • Regular communication from the care team with you, your family, your own personal physician, and caregivers.
  • Your care team, depending upon your unique needs may include:
    • Your personal physician
    • Your hospice physician
    • A registered nurse (case manager)
    • A social worker
    • A certified home health aide
    • A spiritual counselor, chaplain, or clergy member
    • Trained volunteers and others as needed
  • Services are available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week and may include:
    • Medications, Equipment, and Supplies related to Hospice diagnosis
    • Compassionate nursing care
    • Personal care (including bathing, feeding, and dressing)
    • Emotional counseling
    • Spiritual counseling, Chaplin (or other clergy) support
    • Social Work services
    • Financial counseling
    • Bereavement care and counseling
    • Physical, speech, and occupational therapies
    • Volunteer services/support
    • Others services as required

How is hospice care delivered?

  • Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. This interdisciplinary team, as illustrated in Figure 1 below, usually consists of the patient’s personal physician, hospice physician or medical director, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, bereavement counselors, clergy or other spiritual counselors, trained volunteers, and speech, physical, and occupational therapists, if needed.

How does hospice care begin?

  • Typically, hospice care starts as soon as a formal request or a ‘referral’ is made by the patient’s doctor.  Often a hospice program representative will make an effort to visit the patient within 48 hours of that referral, providing the visit meets the needs and schedule of the patient and family/primary caregiver.  Usually, hospice care is ready to begin within a day or two of the referral.  However, in urgent situations, hospice services may begin sooner.

Who pays for hospice care?

  • Financial concerns can be a major burden for many patients and families facing a terminal illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans, and patients receive hospice care regardless of ability to pay.
  • The Medicare hospice benefit, enacted by Congress in 1982, is the predominate source of payment for hospice care.

Who receives hospice care?

  • A patient is eligible for hospice care if two physicians determine that the patient has a prognosis of six months or less to live. Patients must be re-assessed for eligibility at regular intervals, but there is no limit on the amount of time a patient can spend under hospice care.
    • Source: NHPCO. October 2015. “The Medicare Hospice Benefit.”
  • Hospice care is not limited to cancer patients; hospice are caring for a “…growing number of patients with other chronic, life-threatening illnesses, such as end-stage heart or lung disease. America’s hospices are leaders in caring for patients with HIV/AIDS and are seeing a growing number of patients in the final stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2013, an estimated 1.5-1.6 million patients received services from hospice.”

What to consider when choosing a hospice?

  • The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed some questions to help you identify factors that may be important when selecting a hospice.
    When Choosing a Hospice…

How it helps?

  • How can the patient benefit from Hospice?
  • How can the support unit around the patience benefit from Hospice?

What is “Plan of Care?”

  • The plan of care is an individualized plan that is developed by an interdisciplinary team, consisting of physicians, social workers, spiritual counselors, volunteers, therapy providers in coordination with the patient and patient support unit. The plan of care is developed to meet the patients’ needs at a Medical, Psychological, Functional and Social level. The plan of care takes a holistic approach to care to improve the quality of the remaining time of the patient.

Where is care provided?

  • Whether the patient lives at a residential home, in a skilled nursing facility, or at a group home, we can provide them care.
  • Hospice Del Sol takes the approach of providing home hospice—wherever home may be.

When is hospice care provided? Is hospice available after hours?

  • Hospice Del Sol is 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Routine care is provided during business hours 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Hospice Del Sol provides for on-call, as needed care after business hours.
  • A patient or family unit can reach a Hospice Del Sol team member at any time of the day or night!