Are all hospices the same?
Every hospice is different. In fact, hospice is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, etc. Each hospice is a different company in and of itself. All hospices follow Medicare guidelines, but their philosophy of care may differ.
When the Hospice movement first started, it was staffed by volunteers depending upon donations to survive. In1982 Medicare began reimbursing for Hospice Care, with private insurance and Medicaid following.
All hospices, whether non-profit or for-profit, can bill for their services. Heart of Hospice does not dilute patient care by fundraising. Donations to the Heart of Hospice Foundation go directly to non-covered patient services. Donations are not used for administrative or overhead costs.
It is your right to request the hospice of your choice if more than one hospice serves your area. For reasons why you should choose Heart of Hospice click here.
Can my pain and symptoms be controlled at home?
Yes. Pain and other symptoms can usually be controlled in the patient’s home. If a symptom (i.e. pain, nausea or vomiting, or difficulty breathing) becomes a problem, the hospice nurse can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There have been great advances in pain and symptom control in the past few years. Most symptoms can be controlled without the use of injections or IV medication. The hospice nurse will assess your pain and symptom control at each visit. Hospice medical directors are always available to adjust medications.
Does Hospice provide 24 hour in-home care?
No. Hospice provides nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit when the need arises.
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice care is provided in a setting that best meets the needs of each patient and family. The most common setting is the patient’s home or the home of a relative. Hospice care is also provided in nursing homes, care centers and hospitals according to patient care needs.
Can I live alone and still receive Hospice services?
Of course. Heart of Hospice accepts patients who live alone. However, a caregiver must be available as needed, and part of the admission and ongoing care process is to plan and prepare for the time in a patient’s illness when 24-hour a day care will be necessary.
Can a hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?
Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit.
Can I go back to the hospital and still receive hospice care?
Yes. However, many symptoms that would normally require hospitalization or an emergency room visit can be successfully managed at home by the hospice team, thus preventing the stress of hospitalization. Hospice patients generally only have the need for short hospital stays to stabilize a symptom and then are able to return home. Hospital stays that relate to the hospice diagnosis are covered by hospice.
Is the decision for hospice care giving up hope or waiting to die?
Hospice is about living not dying. Hospice strives to bring quality of life and comfort to a patient and their family. Our successes are in helping a patient and family live fully until the end. Often patients will feel better with good pain and symptom management. Hospice is an experience of care and support, different from any other type of care. Hospice isn’t about giving up hope, it is about living life to the fullest, making each journey the best it can be.
Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
No one has the power to shorten or prolong life, just the power to live it as you choose. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortably as possible.
Do I have to be homebound to receive hospice services?
Hospice is about living fully. We encourage patients to do what they enjoy as they are able. The hospice team assists patients and families in achieving their goals and dreams as much as possible.
Does hospice provide support to the family after the patient dies?
Yes. Bereavement Services follow family and caregivers for a year following the patient’s death. These services may include personal visits, providing information concerning the grief process and offering periodic opportunities for group support. Bereavement Services provides information and referral to other area resources when needed, click here.