Remember, you don’t have to wait until the last minute to call hospice. Hospice eligibility starts with a life expectancy of six months. You may not need a lot of help at the beginning, perhaps just an occasional visit from a nurse. The amount of support will increase as conditions and needs change. The earlier you get in touch, the sooner you can get support for the challenges ahead.
A phone call to A-1 Hospice Care, Inc. is all that is needed to get started. We can answer questions, help determine whether hospice care is appropriate, and contact your doctor if you haven’t already begun talking about hospice.
A-1 Hospice Care, Inc. can schedule an informational interview for you and your family and friends to explain how hospice can help. This can take place at home, in the hospital, in the hospice office, or in another convenient location. A nurse or social worker will meet with you and your family within a day or two or on the same day if your needs are urgent. If you or someone you care about is dealing with serious illness, it’s important to talk with your physician about whether hospice is an appropriate option. A referral from a doctor is necessary to be admitted into hospice care, but anyone—a patient, a family member, a caregiver, or a friend—can make an inquiry about hospice care.
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Your physician and the hospice medical director agree that within six months the terminal disease would run its natural course.
You decide that continued attempts for cure are either futile or undesirable and choose comfort care over curative treatment with the goal of living the rest of life as fully and comfortably as possible.
Hospice will work with your physician or nurse practitioner to verify appropriateness for hospice. If you don’t have a physician, the hospice medical director may oversee your care. Once confirmation is obtained, a nurse and social worker will make an admission visit to discuss details of hospice.
All hospices are not the same and choosing a hospice is a personal decision. Whether you are looking for hospice care for yourself or a loved one, it is important to find out about what services each hospice in your area offers. You may want to request services from a particular hospice and can communicate that wish to your physician.
- How do I decide if hospice is the appropriate care choice for me?
- How do I choose among different hospice programs?
- What defines an exceptional hospice?
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Hospice Program
Hospice care is a philosophy of care that accepts dying as a natural part of life. When death is inevitable, hospice seeks neither to hasten nor postpone it. Below is a list of questions you should consider when looking for a hospice program.
- What special services, like massage and pet therapy, are provided?
- What kind of support is available to the family/caregiver?
- What roles do the hospice and patient care team play?
- Is the hospice accredited?
- How does hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?
- How long has the hospice been around, what is it’s reputation?
- How and where does hospice provide short-term inpatient care?
- Can hospice be brought into a nursing home or long-term care facility?
How Do I Ensure that Quality Hospice Care is Provided?
First and foremost, all quality hospice organizations are accredited by an independent evaluator such as the Joint Commission for accreditation of healthcare organization (JCAHO) or Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP). Many hospices also use tools to evaluate how well they are doing in relation to quality hospice standards, and most programs conduct family satisfaction surveys to get feedback on the performance of their programs. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed the most widely used hospice evaluation survey, known as the Family Evaluation of Hospice Care or FEHC.
Information from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, website: Caring Connections which can be found at http://www.caringinfo.org/.
What You Should Know About Levels Of Hospice Care?
Levels of care describe the changing clinical needs of the patient. The patient’s hospice nurse assesses patient status at the time of admission. Assessment and documentation by the hospice staff identifies the appropriate level of care.
Routine care is general hospice care provided in a patient’s home. This can be at a private residence, in a nursing home or wherever the patient calls home. Routine hospice care includes pain and symptoms management, team support and regular visits by hospice staff. Non-skilled services are provided by family or paid caregivers.
Respite care is available to give a needed break to family and caregivers. Care is usually provided in approved hospitals or long-term care facilities and can also be supported in a hospice inpatient unit. Respite care may extend to a maximum of 5 days in a row.
General Inpatient Care
Inpatient Care is provided when a patient needs greater pain and symptom management than can be provided at home. Care is provided in approved hospitals or a dedicated hospice inpatient unit where patients care receive expert 24-hour support.
Continuous care is offered only during periods of crisis to maintain a patient at home. This level of care is appropriate when symptoms are not well controlled and the patient requires predominately nursing care to achieve palliation of symptoms. A patient who is imminently dying does not necessarily qualify for this level of care.