Understanding Quality Hospice Care
First, everyone should be aware that hospice is not a place. Hospice services are comfort care for individuals with a life-limiting disease. Its focus is on quality of life, also called palliative, care. When you and your family choose home hospice care, a group of medical professionals works together to care for the patient. This team includes doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and bereavement counselors. Services are delivered wherever the patient resides, including skilled nursing facilities, retirement homes, and assisted livings.
Home hospice care provides skilled oversight of pain and other symptoms, RNs available day and night, help with personal grooming, grief assistance, spiritual counseling, prescriptions, and medical equipment.
Are you or your loved one eligible for hospice care?
Anyone with a prognosis of six months or less, if the disease were to run its expected course, qualifies for care. A lot of people are in home hospice care greater than or less than six months. A terminal illness does not always progress as expected. Some people are taken off hospice care because their condition stops declining or even improves while receiving quality hospice services.
Two doctors must approve that it is their opinion that the life expectancy continues to be six months or less, to remain eligible for hospice services.
When should you consider Medicare hospice benefit as an option?
Whenever you agree that curative care are no longer helping or wanted. Hospice is going to concentrate on you or your loved one’s quality of life, not curing the terminal diagnosis. Hospice does, however, aggressively treat pain and symptoms to ensure you or your loved one is pain-free.
1. Don’t wait for your doctor to bring up hospice.
As the family caregiver, you and your family member are the people who can choose if hospice services care is the right option. Many people find that it helps to make this choice with input from other family members and their primary doctor. The patient and family must freely choose hospice – meaning that no one can force you to accept hospice care.
Your family doctor may be the first one to suggest hospice care, or you may be the first to suggest it. You should not be afraid to discuss care options with your doctor, including hospice care.
Some doctors, mistakenly, feel like offering hospice is a sign of failure and are reluctant to talk about it. Your doctor, along with the hospice Medical Director, will need to certify the prognosis meets the hospice guidelines.
2. Not all hospices are the same.
There are usually multiple hospice companies in every city/town. While their main services may be similar, home hospice providers can have vastly different levels of services. You do not have to use the hospice that your doctor chooses.
You can inquire with many hospices and request services from the agency that you feel will best take care of you and your family’s. HospiceBasics.com suggests finding a hospice that others in the community.
3. Ask about nights and weekends.
Excellent hospice care is available nights and weekends. While routine visits might be during Monday through Friday, a symptom exacerbation could occur at 1 a.m. on a Saturday. Ask them to tell you about their evening response time and on-call staffing.
4. Only choose a hospice team with heart.
When describing care with a potential hospice company, make sure they listen. Make sure they exhibit sincere care and concern for you and your family’s situation. If they are so big that they seem rushed to fully answer your questions, you should use a better hospice agency.