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Can a hospice patient decide to try aggressive treatment?

Once a patient elects hospice care, and is even in the process of receiving hospice care, they can elect to discontinue hospice care and seek aggressive treatment if they so desire to. The patient has a responsibility to communicate that to the hospice agency and their treating physician.

How do I sign up for Hospice?

If someone is interested in receiving hospice care, they can do so by:

  • Contacting their attending physician to discuss hospice and its benefits.
  • Contact the hospice agency of their choice and inquire about their services.

The hospice agency must obtain a order from the attending physician to begin hospice care for the patient.

How does Hospice assure comfort for the patient?

Our team of experts will make sure the patient’s expectations and needs are addressed. The family will be part of our care as well as the patient. Our nurses are experienced in signs and symptom of discomfort even if the patient is non-verbal; and of course if the patient is verbal and oriented he/she is the expert in stating his level of comfort.

How is hospice care paid for?

Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances.

Should I wait for our physician to raise the question?

Patients and their families have the right to begin to open the dialogue with their physician about the option of hospice care when treatment options are being discussed. This gives everyone involved in the care enough information to make an informed decision on what avenue they wish to pursue and with the option that’s best for the patient.

The hospice agency must obtain an order from the attending physician to begin hospice care for the patient. Our team of experts will make sure the patient’s expectations and needs are addressed. The family will be part of our care as well as the patient. Our nurses are experienced in identifying signs and symptoms of discomfort even if the patient is non-verbal; and of course if the patient is verbal and oriented he/she is the expert in stating his level of comfort.

What is the Hospice approach to pain management?

A holistic approach. Our approach in managing pain is caring for:

  • physical needs, (medication, positioning, educating, and assessing pain on a scale of 1-10.)
  • emotional needs, (nurses and MSW work very close to assess and implement needed interventions.)
  • spiritual needs, (the hospice chaplain provides spiritual support or contacts spiritual support as patient/family needs or requests.)
What kind of assistance does hospice provide to the family?
  • Pain and symptom management for the patient are provided by registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.
  • Ongoing education regarding the patient’s condition and the death and dying process is also provided.
  • Medications related to the patient’s hospice diagnosis are provided for the patient as part of the care.
  • Medical equipment such as oxygen, hospital beds, and other medical supplies are also covered under hospice services.
  • Social Work services are offered to care for the patient’s psychosocial needs.
  • Nursing assistant visits are provided to care for the patient’s activities of daily living.
  • Chaplain services are offered to provide spiritual care to the patient and family.
  • 24/7 on call nursing availability, emergency visits are offered and provided.
  • The families are offered up to 13 months of bereavement care after the passing of their loved one.
  • Volunteer services are offered to provide the patient and their family for extra support.
  • Communication to the patient’s physician regarding the patient’s status is provided by the staff.
  • Free information sessions with the family and/or the patient to educate the family on what exactly hospice care can provide and when their loved one qualifies for hospice.
  • Respite care.
  • Continuous care.
When should the decision about entering hospice be made?

The decision to enter into hospice care can be a difficult one for patients and their families. The time for someone to begin thinking about hospice for themselves or their family member is when:

  • Their physician recommends hospice.
  • Curative treatment is no longer an option.
  • The patient has been diagnosed with a terminal or life limiting illness and chooses to not pursue treatment.
Will medication prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what is happening?

In most cases medication alone will not cause inability to speak or know what is happening. Disease progression however does sometimes affect these areas. We pride ourselves in our ability to educate the family on what to expect as this occurs.