BENEFITS OF HOSPICE
For Patient and Family
EARLIER ADMISSION ALLOWS US TO BUILD LONGER RELATIONSHIPS AND IMPROVE CARE.
What is hospice?
Hospice is a team of health professionals caring for the patient and relieving anxiety for the caregiver/family. The team of health professionals provide pain and symptom management, personal care, as well as support for social, emotional, and grief issues.
Does someone have to be close to death or actively dying to need hospice services?
Hospice is for people with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. The earlier pain and symptom treatment are provided the better the quality of life for the patient.
Will the patient have to go into a facility to receive hospice services?
Hospice is a plan of care that provides services wherever the patient needs care. This includes a facility, nursing home, or the patient’s own home.
Is hospice only for patients with certain illnesses?
Any patient with a terminal diagnosis is eligible and can benefit from hospice. Examples include cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Does a hospice patient have to give up their doctor?
Patients can choose to keep their own physician. The patient’s primary care physician works with the hospice medical director and interdisciplinary team to determine the best plan of care.
Should the patient or caregiver wait for their physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should they raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy, or friends.
What specific assistance does hospice provide home-based patients?
Hospice patients are cared for by a team consisting of a physician, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Each one provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, hospices provide medications, supplies, equipment, and other services related to the terminal illness.
Is hospice expensive?
Hospice is a Medicare benefit and most private insurance and Medicaid will also cover services. Medical equipment and prescriptions are also covered under these benefits. INS Hospice will admit patients regardless of ability to pay.
What does the hospice admission process involve?
One of the first things the hospice program will do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for the patient. (Most hospices have medical staff available to help patients who have no physician.) The patient will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms similar to the forms patients sign when they enter a hospital. The form Medicare patients sign also tells how electing the Medicare hospice benefit affects other Medicare coverage.
Must someone be with the patient at all times?
In the early stages of care, it’s usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends do deliver most of the care, hospices may have volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for primary caregivers.