What you need to know about quality of life care
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What Is Hospice?
Hospice offers a wide range of services to support you and your family, friends, and caregivers at no cost to the patient or family.
View this six part video series about Hospice Care produced by NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization)
Understanding Hospice Care
Planning for End of Life
Grief — A Part of Living
When To Begin Hospice Care
Understanding Caregiver Stress
What Services Does Hospice Provide?
- Nursing Visits (they come to you)
- Patient Comfort/Pain Management
- Medical and Social Assessment
- Support for Caregivers
- Social Worker Visits
- Family, Individual, and Group Counseling
- Spiritual Counseling
- Hospice Aides
- Respite Care
- Grief and Bereavement Support
- Chaplain Services
- Medications Related to the Terminal Illness
Who Pays for Hospice?
- Hospice care is a covered service under Medicare Part A and the Illinois Medicaid benefit.
- Most insurance companies have hospice benefits. Check your policy or with your local agent to determine the provisions of your policy.
- Generous financial support from the communities we serve, including memorials and donations from friends, families and corporations, allow Rock River Hospice & Home to provide care to all patients and families for routine hospice care at no cost.
The availability of Medicare/Medicaid or private insurance is not a criterion for admission to Rock River Hospice & Home. Find out more about the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
You are Eligible for Hospice when the Following Conditions are Met:
- Your physician and you agree that if your disease were to run its natural course, you would be expected to live for six months or less.
- You decide that continued attempts for cure are either futile or undesirable and choose comfort care over curative treatment with the goal of living the rest of life as fully and comfortably as possible.
- Hospice will work with your physician to verify appropriateness for hospice. Once confirmation is obtained, a nurse and social worker will make an admission visit to discuss details of hospice.
- Whether your doctor has mentioned it or you’ve come to the conclusion on your own that hospice may be needed, please contact us. We will answer your questions and help assess your current situation. If you are ready for hospice, we will contact your physician and begin the admission process. If the time isn’t right, we can provide information on interim options.
How Does it Work?
Once it is determined that a patient qualifies for hospice care, a specially trained medical team and support staff is available to help them and their family cope with the terminal illness.
The patient’s doctor and the hospice medical team work together with the patient and their family to set up a plan of care that meets the patient’s specific needs.
“Comfort care” measures are employed to help make the patient’s last months of life more peaceful. Comfort care focuses on symptom control and pain management with the goal of increasing the quality of life for the patient and the family.
Nursing care, home health aide services, equipment, and supplies are all provided to make the patient as comfortable and pain free as possible. Social and spiritual counseling are also part of the hospice plan of care.
Who is Involved?
While hospice staff and volunteers cannot be with you every minute of the day, they will help family and friends develop a plan to ensure your safety and comfort.
There is an on-call hospice nurse available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and respond to emergencies.
Hospice Medical Director
The Hospice Medical Director works with your physician and the hospice team to ensure a plan of care that addresses your specific needs and goals with the best hospice care for you.
Your Hospice Nurse works under the direction of the patient’s physician, making visits to the home to assess the patient’s condition and makes changes in the plan of care as indicated. The nurse provides nursing care, education and support for the patient and family.
The on-call nurse responds to calls after hours. Our answering service will take the message and contact the on-call nurse. The after-hours service may be used for a significant change in the patient’s condition, and questions about medications and treatments. During the telephone call, the nurse will assess the situation and either provides telephone support or will make a nursing visit.
If appropriate, other service team members may be available such as a dietitian, speech, occupational and physical therapists.
The Bereavement Counselor is available to offer grief support to assist the family through the mourning and readjustment process before and following the death of the hospice patient. Grief education and counseling are available through individual, family, and group meetings.
Chaplains are available to offer solace to anyone who finds a need to explore the meaning of his/her faith or belief system.
Volunteers are everyday people who receive specialized training in providing support for the patient and family. This includes such things as shopping, running errands, respite time, or just talking with the patient and family. The Hospice Volunteer Coordinator works with the hospice team to assign a volunteer who matches your situation.
Equipment and Supplies
Medical supplies such as gowns, pads, gloves are available as needed. Medical Equipment such as a bed, oxygen and other equipment is available as needed.
This may include such items as an adjustable bed, shower bench, wheelchair, and other items to keep you comfortable, independent, and safe.
Choosing a Hospice
Depending on where you live there could be one or several hospice organizations serving your community. If there are multiple hospices in your area, you can decide which hospice you want to care for you or your loved one and let your physician know which one you prefer.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations has developed some questions to help you identify factors that may be important to you and your family when selecting a hospice.
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Is the Hospice Medicare Certified?
Has the hospice been surveyed by a state or federal oversight agency in the last five years?
Is the organization a NHPCO member and does it comply with all aspects of NHPCO's Standards for Hospice Programs?
Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?
Does the hospice conduct a family evaluation survey?
Does the hospice own or operate a care facility to provide home-like care in a hospice residence, hospital or nursing home?
Are clinical Staff (physicians, nurses, social workers) certified or credentialed in hospice and palliative care?
What services do volunteers offer, and if requested, how quickly will a volunteer be available?
Volunteers can provide a variety of services including friendly visits, light household chores, running errands, personal care, etc. If you want a hospice volunteer, be sure to ask how quickly one can be assigned and how they match volunteers to meet your needs.