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What is Hospice?
Hospice Care is a patient and family-centered care for patients with a life expectancy of six months or less. It is a kind of care, rather than a place of care that focuses on comfort, rather than cure. The team-based approach to care includes expert Pain and Symptom Management, sensitive emotional and spiritual support tailored to the patient’s needs and wishes. Support is also provided to the patient’s loved ones.
Where is Hospice Care provided?
Hospice Care is provided wherever the person lives — in their home or the home of a loved one, in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Hospitals, Hospice Houses and other long-term facilities.
When is it time to call Hospice?
Hospice Care is appropriate when a physician believes the patient has six months or less to live if the disease follows its normal progression.
What if the patient lives longer than six months?
Determining how long a person will live is extremely difficult. As long as Hospice Care remains the appropriate medical care for the patient’s needs, the patient may remain in the Hospice Program. There are times when a patient’s condition improves. Hospice Care is then no longer appropriate and the patient is discharged. Your Hospice Team works with each patient to transition their care to others should this occur.
Should patients or families hold off on calling Hospice until near the end?
Hospice Services are designed to create the best possible End-of-Life Care. If patients and families wait until the very end to call, they miss the supportive services of people who are truly compassionate and skilled in dealing with the concerns that are critical at the end of life. Our focus is on quality of life, until the end of life. Often patients and families are better able to focus on those things that matter most to them if they have the guidance and support of the caring staff here at Partners In Home Care.
Is the decision to call Hospice giving up hope?
No. Calling Hospice Care is an expression of hope that the end of life can be a meaningful experience for the patient and the family. The focus of hope is centered on comfort, peace of mind, and achievement of as many of the patient’s goals and dreams as possible.
If the patient enters Hospice Care, will the patient still receive medical care?
Yes. Stopping curative treatment does not mean that you do not receive excellent medical attention to control symptoms and make the patient as comfortable as possible.
Does pain control mean being, 'doped up' ?
The patient and family are a vital part of the Care Team and will help make the decision about the proper balance between controlling pain and retaining a sense of mental alertness. This may take a day or two until the body adjusts to the medications.
Can a patient go to the Hospital under Hospice Care?
One of the many benefits of Hospice Care is that symptoms that would have sent the patient to the Hospital can be successfully managed at home (Nursing Home/Assisted Living Facility) with the assistance of the Hospice Care team. On rare occasions, a patient might go to the Hospital for a short stay to manage a symptom but it is important for the patient and family to discuss this with their Hospice Nurse or by calling the on-call Hospice Nurse if it is after hours prior to going to the Hospital.
Does Hospice provide 24-hour In-Home Care?
No, but Hospice does provide a Skilled Care Provider with whom the patient and family can speak with 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. On-Call Staff for spiritual and emotional support as well as physical care can make a visit whenever the need arises by calling 406-728-8848. If the call comes during business hours one of the patient’s team members will return the call and make a visit if needed. If it comes after hours, the On-Call Nurse will return the call and make a needed visit.
Can a patient keep a Personal Doctor?
Yes. Our staff will coordinate patient care with your Physician and our Medical Director is available to be a support to your Physician.
Who are the members of the Hospice Team?
Provides the Hospice Team with a medical history of the patient. Oversees medical care through regular communication with the hospice team. Provides orders for medications and tests. Determines the patient’s level of involvement on a case-by-case basis with Carla Davis, MD, Medical Director.
Hospice Medical Director
Provides expertise in pain and symptom control at the end of life. Works closely with the Hospice Team and Primary Physician to determine appropriate medical interventions. Makes home visits on an as-needed basis. Oversees the Plan of Care, writes orders and consults with the interdisciplinary team regarding disease progression and appropriate medical interventions.
Visits the patient and family in the home or care facility on a regular basis depending on the needs of the patient. Provides on-call services 24-hours a day 7-days a week. Assesses pain and symptoms, safety and psychosocial-spiritual concerns. Educates the patient and the family about end of life issues, use of medications, daily care needs, and other aspects of the overall Plan of Care. Provides emotional and spiritual support to patient and family to help cope with functional limitations, caregiver stress, and grief.
Attends to both practical needs and counseling needs of the patient and the family based on an initial and ongoing assessment. Arranges discharge planning from Hospital to home, Funeral/Burial arrangements. Serves as a conduit to community resources. Assist the family in finding services to address financial needs and legal matters. Provides counseling as needed to facilitate family communication. Assesses patient and family anxiety, depression, role changes, caregiver stress and provides general grief counseling.
Provides patient and family with spiritual counseling to address questions of hope, meaning, despair, fear of death, need for forgiveness. Assists patient and family in sustaining their religious practices and in drawing upon religious/spiritual beliefs and traditions to cope with illness, dying and grief. Ensures the patient and family religious and spiritual beliefs and practices are respected by the Hospice Team. Serves as a liaison with the patient family faith community and clergy. May conduct Funeral and Memorial Services for patients and families as requested.
Home Health Aide
Assists patient with activities of daily life including bathing and dressing provides Housekeeping Services based on an assessment of need.
Provides respite care to family members; may assist with light housekeeping or grocery shopping and provide community education and outreach.
What if the patient gets better?
Hospice Care is a special kind of medical care designed and funded for people at the end of life. If a patient’s condition improves, the Hospice Care Team will talk with the patient and family about other alternatives well in advance of discharge from Hospice Services.
What can families do to help patients cope?
As the Hospice Interdisciplinary Care Team gets to know the patient and family, they learn how best to guide families in caring for patients and helping them cope. For many patients, it is helpful to:
- Express fears and concerns
- Reminisce about life
- Be included in important discussions about issues that matter
- Be assured that wishes be honored
- Be treated with dignity and respect at all times
Can anyone in Hospice help the family or loved ones adjust after the patient's death?
Partners Hospice offers Bereavement Support for family members and loved ones after the patient’s death. Some of the team members who had the privilege of serving the patient will make a follow-up phone call to support. A trained Grief Counselor will make follow-up phone calls and make visits if this is desired by the family. A newsletter about grief will be mailed monthly to family and loved ones for a full year after the patient’s death. Families will also be invited to The Tree of Life, a Service of Remembrance to celebrate a loved one’s life that takes place in December every year. A Grief Support Group is offered several times a year. Our trained staff can make referrals to other Grief Professionals when this is appropriate.
Who pays for Hospice Care?
Medicare and Medicaid offer a 100% Hospice Benefit that covers all appropriate expenses. Many private insurance companies have some level of Hospice Benefit. No one is refused Hospice Care based on their inability to pay.
Health Talk Discussion With MD Carla Davis on Advance Directives and Palliative Care