Hospice care focuses on quality of life. We partner with the patient, their family, and personal physician to design an individualized plan of care. Hospice care encompasses the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of the patient, while supporting the well-being of caregivers. Whether provided in the home, assisted living, long-term care facility, or Visions of Home, hospice is a compassionate way to deliver care and supportive services to those with a limited life expectancy.
Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, and other managed care organizations.
The Hospice Team develops the plan of care, manages pain and symptoms, attends to the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying and caregiving, teaches the family how to provide care for their loved one, coordinates medications, equipment, and supplies related to the patient's hospice diagnosis , organizes short-term inpatient care available when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time, and provides bereavement care and counseling.
Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Many patients and families have expressed to us that they wished they had received hospice care sooner. Hospice can be of great help and comfort in the final journey of one's life.
The decision to receive Hospice services can begin when a patient's physician concludes that the patient's life expectancy is six months or less. However, hospice care does not end after the initial six-month period, if it is still needed. Patients are continually re-evaluated and care can extend as long as patients are being served appropriately under their hospice benefit.
Patients and families can initiate discussions about hospice care with their physician. Often physicians will welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about hospice care. The conversation about end of life care wishes and support should be ongoing. Advance care planning (http://idqol.org/page/planning) is an option that can help patients explore and document their health care wishes and understand all the options available. If you have questions concerning eligibility members of our team can help you and your family with this process.
Now is the best time. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes before it becomes a concern. This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice is needed.
Care starts as soon as a formal request or a 'referral' is made by the patient's doctor. Usually, hospice care is ready to begin within a day or two of the referral. However, in urgent situations, hospice services may begin sooner.
Hospice care is available 'on-call' after the administrative office has closed, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Most hospices have nurses available to respond to a call for help within minutes, if necessary. Some hospice programs have chaplains and social workers on call as well.
Hospice staff receives special training to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress.
Hospice volunteers are generally available to provide different types of support to patients and their loved ones including running errands, preparing light meals, staying with a patient to give family members a break, and lending emotional support and companionship to patients and family members.
Hospice services can be provided to a terminally ill person wherever they live. This means a patient living in a nursing facility, assisted living facilities or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from their hospice team.
To help hospice programs in making sure they give quality care and service, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed recommended standards entitled 'Standards of Practice for Hospice Programs' as one way of ensuring quality.
Hospice organizations vary in the kind and scope of services they provide. There are both for profit and not for profit companies. Interview several hospice organizations to understand their policies and how they can meet you and your family's needs.