When a loved one is expected to enter the journey of hospice, many questions about this service may unfold. It is normal to question the hospice mission at first, but rest assured, hospice is a fulfilling and wonderful service. Below, the most commonly asked questions will be answered to help give peace of mind when making the decision of receiving hospice.
What is the main purpose of hospice?
In a nutshell, the purpose of hospice is to improve the quality of life for individuals who have already been given a medical prognosis of less than 6 months to live. Its primary focus is to provide comfort care physically as well as providing spiritual and emotional support mentally for the patient throughout the time they have left to live.
How much does hospice cost?
Hospice in the areas that Aspire Home Health & Hospice service are made available through the social security system. Everyone deserves a happy and fulfilling experience later in life, and the limitations faced by the elderly should not prevent that. That is why Aspire’s in-home caregivers are entirely covered by Medicare in virtually every case. Additionally, Aspire will take care of all the Medicare billing associated with the hospice services.
What is the process for being admitted to hospice?
Improving the quality of life is a phrase that changes person to person—what matters to one person may not to another. That is why Aspire Home Health & Hospice nurses begin hospice services by coming into their home and having a conversation with the patient on what matters most to them and then building a plan of care supporting those aspects of the patient’s life. After a qualified physician has recommended hospice, the patient or family are able to choose a hospice provider to receive those services from. Medicare and many other insurance providers cover the cost of hospice 100%, so the financial situation of the family does not need to be the deciding factor of whether the patient gets the valuable care they need.
How do you get hospice at home?
A common misunderstanding when it comes to hospice care is that hospice is a physical place. But that is not necessarily the case. Rather, hospice is a holistic kind of care that focuses on providing comfort to terminally ill patients, their caregivers, their family, and loved ones that can be provided to a patient wherever they may be.
Although hospice can be provided at an inpatient facility, it is most commonly received at home or wherever a patient calls home. This means that qualified clinicians can come to your home at regularly scheduled times and provide you or your loved one with the care you need. Hospice can also be provided to individuals in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
Does hospice mean end of life?
Many people think of the terms hospice and end of life interchangeably. Because of this vocabulary association, many people inadvertently believe that receiving hospice results in meeting the end of life. This is absolutely not the case.
Although hospice is not meant to lengthen life, studies done by numerous research centers have shown that hospice often tends to do so. For example, Kate Rowland, MD of the University of Chicago’s department of family medicine, preformed a study of hospice care and found “patients with lung cancer . . . live longer when they receive palliative care services soon after diagnosis.” (Rowland, Palliative care: Earlier is better, 2010) For some, this may seem counter intuitive. So how is this possible?
Often, potential hospice patients have been dealing with large amounts of physical and emotional pain all on their own. Then, when these patients are put on hospice care, they are given a plethora of services designed to mitigate their pain. This added physical, emotional, and spiritual support is intended to improve the quality of a hospice patient’s life, provide enrichment, and give comfort so that they can live the rest of their days peacefully.
Although it is true that a person must have a medical prognosis of six months or less to live before they qualify for hospice, hospice is not the causative factor in death. The patient’s terminal illness is what results in death. Hospice is simply there to support them through that transition.
How can I assist someone on hospice?
- Make decisions with the dying loved one.
When a friend or family member is nearing death, treatment plans may be discussed as well as other factors that can improve the quality of life for the loved one. It is important to walk hand-in-hand with these individuals and guide them towards the decisions that best improve their remaining days.
- Visit often.
End-of-life care can seem sad and gloomy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Spending time with your friend or family member and giving them a constant support network can make their final days full of comfort and joy! By visiting often, many people have strengthened their bond with the loved one more than ever before and speak fondly of this time that they had together.
- Provide care when needed.
Sometimes the individual will require care here and there that you can easily help with. A few issues you may notice include not eating, dryness around the face, and sensitivity to temperature. If they are not eating, try to feed small spoonfuls of food. Their face may be dry for which you can use a damp cloth to relieve any dryness that is around their eyes and apply lip balm to their lips. If they feel hot or cold to the touch, adjust the room temperature as needed. Paying attention to these small hints can go a long way to increasing comfort.
- Spend time listening to them.
In the passing times, you may find that the loved one is opening up more about their life. They may talk about things you have never known, or simply explain the kinds of pain they are feeling. It is important to be a perceptive listener and read any messages that they are trying to communicate.
What are the services offered through hospice?
Within the hospice plan of care are several services that are offered which can substantially increase the quality of end-of-life care. The patient has total control of whether or not they would like to utilize any of the available services. Some of these services include:
- Physician—All hospice patients receive care overseen by a practicing physician. As the patient, you are able to choose if you want to use your primary physician or one of our physicians. These physicians are meant to oversee and personally direct the coordination of your care.
- Skilled Nursing—Our exceptional nurses come to your place of residence—whether it be a facility or in your home—to provide skilled nursing services. Nursing services can entail a wide range of services from pain management to wound care. We also recently introduced a holistic nurse to our team should you desire this type of nursing.
- Certified Nursing Assistant—Under the direction of our nurses, our Certified Nursing Assistants are available to visit you and provide aide services which may include bathing or grooming. If you need more assistance then our aides can provide, aide services may be supplemented by private pay companies should you choose to pay for those services.
- Chaplain—While receiving end-of-life care, many patients spend time pondering on a life after. Meant to provide spiritual guidance during these times, chaplain services are available to all hospice patients regardless of religious orientation. If you do not wish to receive chaplain services, you are not obligated to do so.
- Social Work—Similar to chaplain work, many people facing end-of-life situations spend time evaluating the life they lived and what emotions they may still be holding on it. Social work is provided to hospice patients to help face these feelings and provide a safe space to discuss openly and hopefully reduce any lingering emotional pain. After the patient has passed away, social work continues working with families to help alleviate the grieving process.
- Volunteer—A volunteer coordinator works to find volunteers who are willing to spend time with hospice patients. This service is provided to help enrich the life of our patients and ensure they are not lonely during these difficult times.
These services are the core services paid for by Medicare and provided by hospice agencies. However, our services do not stop there. Aspire Hospice is dedicated to the hospice healing process and for this purpose, provides additional services for free:
- Massage Therapy—Who doesn’t love a great massage? We provide a massage therapist to come into your home and provide services. Massage therapy is known for its holistic healing remedies. Aspire considers this service essential in the hospice healing process.
- Music Therapy—Music therapy is an evidence-based, clinical use of music interventions and is one of the most requested services at Aspire Hospice. Often, this therapy is used to help the patient with social interaction, anxiety and depression relief, life review, relaxation interventions, and pain management.
What are the benefits of hospice care?
- Hospice patients have a personal care plan.
When individuals enter hospice, many different medical professionals will come together and develop a personalized plan that offers the most comfort to the patient as possible and helps increase their quality of life. These plans are based upon the patient’s wishes and will also offer guidance on any decisions that occur along the way. Registered nurses, physicians, caregivers, spiritual leaders, and volunteers will assist you every step of the way with everything that comes with hospice. These benefits can reach well beyond the physical needs of a patient and extend into their spiritual and psychosocial needs, even taking care of needs for the family.
- Hospice patients have the freedom to choose.
One misconception about hospice is that the patient no longer has requests available to them. In reality, the hospice patient is still the ultimate decision maker on any matters. Using a hospice service allows the patient and family members to have their voices heard and stay in command of treatments and care options.
- Hospice patients have fewer hospital visits.
Many studies have shown that hospice is proven to reduce the number of hospitalizations when a patient enters hospice care. According to a report published in Jama Internal Medicine, hospice patients have lower healthcare expenditures in their last year of life compared to non-hospice patients. Similarly, hospice patients are five times more likely to pass away in the comfort of their home compared to their non-hospice counterparts. A key component of hospice care is enrolling at the right time to maximize the quality of end-of-life care. Intervention through a hospice program can lead to less hospitalizations, ICU admissions, invasive procedures, and lower expenditures in the last year of life.
- Hospice patients have a hospice team available 24/7.
While a patient is on hospice, they will have access to an on-call nurse 24/7 and request that a nurse visit any time, day or night. Having this resource available can relieve an incredible amount of stress on the patient and on the family by knowing there is always someone available to take care of any problems that may arise.
Hospice can seem like a large service to navigate, but if the patient listens to the recommendations of their physician and reaches out for assistance from Aspire Home Health & Hospice, their needs will be perfectly catered to. Hospice is a beautiful service that allows the patient to gain their independence back all from the comforts of home.
At Aspire Home Health and Hospice, you can rest assured that the needs you or a loved one have will be fulfilled to an exceptional standard. With an unwavering commitment towards mastering the benefits of these services, Aspire Home Health & Hospice utilizes a powerful mix of services that add increased comfort for those who embark on the journey of home health.
Additionally, Patient Care Advocates are standing by to hear your circumstances and will guide you towards the proper care of treatment. They can be reached by calling 801-396-5735.