At Helping Hands Hospice we have been in the business for 10 years. Below are some general questions we commonly get asked about Hospice care.
If you have a question which is not answered here, please give us a call.
Hospice is available for people who have a disease that is not responding to treatment, such as cancer, or for patients who have decided that they no longer want to seek or continue treatments. For many patients, trips back and forth to the hospital, time spent away from their homes and families, or having to take medications or treatments to keep going, takes a toll and decreases their enjoyment of living. Hospice is for patients who want to change their focus on trying to lengthen their lives at all costs, to a focus on making what time is left the best it can be.
Hospice is a type of home health care, designed specifically to improve the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illness which has failed to respond to curative treatments.
Usually hospice is considered for those who have a disease or illness that is expected to limit their lives to six months or less. Sometimes this is difficult to determine, but your doctor or healthcare providers can help with this decision if hospice is appropriate. Hospice is not limited to only six months of care.
For most patients, hospice care is provided in their homes. The goal is to give them the best quality of life, in the place they are most comfortable and happy. However, at times, hospice is provided in assisted living facilities, nursing homes or hospitals. Each person’s needs are considered individually.
Many patients wonder what makes Hospice care different from other types of healthcare. There are several key things that make Hospice different.
First, traditional healthcare is usually focused on finding a cure, or “fixing” a problem. While we “fix” problems in Hospice, too, our focus is on controlling or “fixing” the things that are hindering our patients from living. For example, we try and find solutions for pain and discomfort, so that our patients can remain active and involved in family and activities that are important to them. Our goal in Hospice is to provide physical, emotional, social and spiritual support, so our clients and families may devote the time that is left to living life fully.
Second, for most healthcare services, the patient has to go to a clinic, hospital or other facility. Hospice comes to the patient, providing care where they are, and meeting the needs of the patient so that they may remain at home. Only on very rare occasions do Hospice patients go to a hospital or facility.
Further, Hospice includes family and loved ones. Although the patient controls who is involved, we recognize that when someone is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, the family and loved ones are affected as well. Support is available for them as they each deal with the diagnosis and changes it brings. Counseling is available before and after death occurs to provide additional support as needed. Volunteers are available to help with some aspects of care, and provide assistance and relief for the family as well.
Hospice is dedicated to meeting needs, and assuring that others honor the wishes of the patient as well. Patients in hospice have control over many aspects of how and where they want to spend the rest of their lives. The hospice team provides education and support as the patient and family make decisions regarding care and advance directives, while providing support as the patient and family process the diagnosis of life-limiting disease. There is more psychological, spiritual and emotional support through Hospice than in traditional healthcare settings.
Hospice care is a covered benefit under Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans. The hospice benefit usually covers all services, medication and equipment related to the life-limiting illness. Care is provided by a team of providers, each with their own role and focus, working together to meet the needs of patient and family.
Hospice services include: nursing, counseling, medical social services, physician services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, aide services, short-term inpatient care, respite care, and medical appliances and supplies, including medication, related to the hospice diagnosis. Which services are included on the plan of care are decided by the patient and the hospice team, and directly related to the identified problems and needs. All Hospice care is designed around the specific needs of the patient, to provide comfort and symptom management. The Hospice Team meets regularly to review the needs of the patient and their progress, and to make changes in the care plan as needed.