When to Consider Hospice Care
You may want to discuss hospice or palliative care with your physician, if any or all of the following are present:
• Progressive declining health, despite treatment
• Increased or uncontrollable pain
• Frequent emergency room visits and hospitalizations
• Significant weight loss
• Progressive or profound weakness and fatigue
• Decreased ability to perform regular activities of daily living
• Alterations in mental status
• Exhausted patient and family or caregivers
• The desire of the patient and family to stop aggressive treatments
Who is eligible for Hospice Care?
Hospice is available for patients with a life expectancy of 6 months, or less, as certified by their doctor and the hospice medical director. Conditions can include any terminal condition including cancer, renal failure, cardiac or any other terminal condition.
What services are provided?
Family Comfort Hospice provides a variety of services as determined in the care plan for the patient. This could include symptom relief through medication and therapy, spiritual and emotional support including the family, and home care from trained caregivers. See our hospice services page for a complete description. Also see What is Hospice Care?
How does hospice care begin?
Typically, hospice care starts as soon as a formal request or a referral is made by the patient’s doctor. This is followed by a hospice RN visit to verify the condition and set a plan of action, usually within a day or two of the referral. However, hospice services may begin sooner if necessary.
What services are provided to keep the patient comfortable?
Keeping the patient comfortable and pain-free is an important part of hospice care. The hospice staff works with the patient’s primary care physician to make sure that the care plan , which includes medication, therapies, and other support services, is designed to keep the patient as comfortable as possible. This plan is reviewed by the entire IDT every two weeks, to assure that the plan of care is providing adequate relief. Hospice services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to make sure this happens.
Must I be cared for at home?
Hospice services are provided in many settings including nursing facilities or long-term care facilities. The patient will receive visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing facility.
What financial assistance is available for hospice care?
Financial assistance is provided by Medicare and Medicaid as well as by most private insurance providers. The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the full scope of medical and support services including support for the family with a variety of services. Family Comfort Hospice will assist you in obtaining financial assistance that is available to you.
To learn more about the types of care available, see Hospice Care vs Palliative Care.