What is Hospice
Hospice is a specialized program that provides compassionate and holistic care and services to the patient with a terminally ill condition and to their families.
Your qualified and individualized team of professionals which include Medical Directors, Your Primary Physician, Registered Nurses, Medical Social Workers, Hospice Aides, Chaplains, Bereavement Counselors, and Specially Trained Volunteers are available to meet your individualized needs and to promote your quality of life.
Reasons for Hospice
Many people think that hospice is only for cancer patients. Some common illnesses that require hospice include heart and kidney diseases, Alzheimer's, other types of dementias, stroke, neuromuscular diseases, and many other illnesses, as well as natural decline.
What Costs are Covered
Hospice covers anything directly related to your terminal illness, which includes:
- Registered Nurses who are specially trainined in pain and symptom management who make routine visits as needed
- Regular visits by Licensed Practical Nurses and Hospice Aides to provide personal care
- Social work and counseling services to provide emotional support for you and your family
- Chaplain services for you and your family
- Visits by training volunteers as needed
- 24-hour on-call medical services
- Dietary counseling
- Durable medical equipment
- Medical supplies
- Prescription medications
- Physical, Occupational and / or Speech Therapy
- Other treatments and services related to managing your illness
Where can Hospice be Provided
- Patients Homes
- Nursing Homes
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Retirement Communites
- In-Patient Centers
Who Provides Hospice
- Registered Nursing
- Licensed Practical Nursing
- Hospice Aides
- Social Workers
- Hospice Physicians
- Nurse Practitioners
Payment of Hospice
Medicare and most health insurance companies cover some or all hospice services. It provides a daily allowance for hospice visits, medications, durable medical equipment, supplies and treatments related to managing the illness and approved as part of the individuals plan of care.
The hospice plan of care focuses on comfort, rather than curative measures. Private insurance benefits, deductibles and co-insurance requirements may vary by plan and are therefore reviewed on an individual basis.
Who is Eligible for Hospice ?
- You must have Medicare Part A
- You must enroll in a Medicare-approved hospice program such as Serenity Hospice
- Your Doctor and the hospice medical director must certify that you have a life-limiting illness with a probable prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
- You must sign a form indicating that you are electing your Medicare Hospice Benefit to cover the costs of services related to managing your life-limiting illness
When to Call Hospice (Signs to look for):
- An increase in pain, nausea, breathing distress or other symptoms
- Repeated hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room
- Failure to "bounce back" after medical set-backs occur
- Decrease in function requiring assistance for walking, eating, bathing, dressing and/or going to the toilet
- Decreasing alertness - patient is emotionally withdrawn, sleeping more or having increased difficulty with comprehension
- Significantly decreased appetite and weight loss
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Increase in falls
How to approach Hospice with a Patient or Family
- Early discussions can promote a more timely enrollment and may improve satisfaction with end-of-life care
- When patients have a poor prognosis and treatment options are limited, physicians should discuss hospice more directly and recommend it when appropriate
- The overall aim of a hospice discussion that follows this approach is to define a patient's treatment goalss and meet those needs
- An effective approach to hospice discussions has 8 steps in advanced care planning:
- Establish the medical facts
- Set the stage
- Assess the patient's understanding of their prognosis
- Define the patient's goal for care
- Identify needs for care
- Introduce hospice
- Respond to emotions elicited and provide closure
- Recommend hospice and refer to Serenity Hospice
Hospice Referral Process
You and your physician can initiate the referral process by contacting Serenity Hospice.
A qualified member of our hospice team will be available to answer your questions and gently guide you through the process.