It is part of our mission to enhance the quality of life for those nearing the end of life’s journey and for those who grieve. Below are list of commonly asked questions about Hospice.
No! Hospice care is provided for all “end-stage” diseases. End-stage refers to any disease that has progressed to a point where the patient is given a prognosis of 6 months or less to live by their doctor. Hospice care can continue past six months if the patient lives longer.
Normally, the patient’s doctor makes the prognosis, that the patient has less than six months to live and refers the family to hospice. If a patient or family feels hospice is appropriate, they can contact Hospice directly and they will consult with their doctor. Easy Living Care Home has worked with many Hospice agencies.
Hospice care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. It neither hastens nor postpones death, but works to achieve the best quality of life for patients and their families by managing pain and symptoms and by providing emotional and spiritual support as needed and requested.
Professional care of the hospice team is provided regardless of ability to pay. In many cases third party insurance reimburses Hospice for part of the cost of hospice care and Hospice can accept Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Hospice nurses are on call for medical advice or emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They educate and support the family or other caretakers to be the primary caregivers. Easy Living Care Home will work with the nurses assigned to your loved one.
No. Although most Hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, some patients live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Hospice care involves a team approach to care. The patient’s doctor remains involved, and our nurses, social worker, home health aides, chaplain, and hospice trained volunteers work together to support the patient and family in this time of need. Easy Living Care Home works closely with all of the above.
Yes. Hospice can also attend patients who reside in participating long-term care facilities. We will work with Hospice Clinical Coordinator and coordinate care for our patient.
Most Hospice agencies provide services to Alamo, Blackhawk, Castro Valley, Danville, Diablo, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Sunol.
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping an all-out effort to recover from their disease. Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and are always available to discuss them with the patient, family and physician.
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy or friends.
Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, Easy Living Care Home will be happy to answer their questions or provide educational publications. Other good resources are The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, medical societies, state hospice organizations, local hospices, or the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizational Helpline, 1-800-658-8898 or visit their website at www.nho.org. In addition, physicians and all others can obtain information on hospice from the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Social Security Administration.
If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive curative therapy or go on about his or her daily life.
If a discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance companies will allow additional coverage for this purpose.
Hospice staff will contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. (We have medical staff available to help patients who have no physician.) The patient will be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. These are similar to the forms patients sign when they enter a hospital.
The “hospice election form” says that the patient understands that the care is palliative (that is, comfort care aimed at pain relief and symptom control) rather than curative. It also outlines the services available. The form Medicare patients sign also tells how electing the Medicare hospice benefit affects other Medicare coverage.
Hospice will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain it. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses. When needed Hospice provides durable medical equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, and hospital beds free of charge.
In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, clean and safe as possible.
Hospice staff will prepare an individualized care plan that will address the amount of care-giving a patient needs. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer questions and provide support.
Easy Living Care Home will provide care to the patient continuously 24/7.
It’s never easy and sometimes can be quite emotionally and physically draining. At the end of a long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and scary. So, hospices have a staff available around the clock to consult with the family and to make night visits as appropriate.
Hospices do nothing either to speed up or slow down the dying process. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of child birth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.
Hospice nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications for pain and symptom relief.
Very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.
Usually not. It is the goal of hospice to help patients be as comfortable and alert as they desire. By constantly consulting with the patient, hospices have been very successful in reaching this goal.
Hospice care is available for everyone, without discrimination because of religious, ethnic, cultural, or economic background. Hospice respects and supports cultural differences in regards to providing our end-of-life care and grief support.
Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medi-Cal in California, and by most private health insurance policies. To be sure of coverage, families should check with their employer or health insurance provider.
The first thing hospice will do is assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of. Hospice services will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money raised from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.
Most Hospice agencies offer continuing contact and support for family and friends for 13 months following the death of a loved one.
In some hospices, the patient may be required to pay a 5% or $5 “co-payment” on medication and a 5% co-payment for respite care.