hospice care

Hospice is a form of palliative, or comfort, care for individuals who are considered terminally ill.

The “H” in Hospice Stands for Hug

Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice is a form of palliative, or comfort, care for individuals who are considered terminally ill.

A terminally ill patient is one who has a progressive, incurable illness that will end in death despite good treatment and who is sick enough that you would not be surprised if he or she died within six months.

Situations that May Cause a Doctor to Recommend Hospice Care

  • Malignant cancers, infections, and diseases
  • End-stage diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, COPD, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease
  • Multiple medical complications or co-morbidities
  • Failure to thrive, characterized by weight loss, dehydration, and wasting due to poor intake and immobility
  • Poor surgical candidate following a life-threatening event
  • Honoring an individual’s choice not to receive aggressive, curative care

The Hospice Care Process

  • The attending doctor writes an order for a hospice evaluation.
  • The hospice nurse visits with you to perform the qualifying evaluation.
  • You and/or your designated responsible party approves the evaluation.
  • You may choose any hospice agency to provide care or obtain a recommendation.
  • Your own physician may continue to follow your care. Otherwise, your care is overseen by the hospice agency physician.
  • Hospice care may be provided at home or at another preferred location.
  • Your hospice care team visits you at a frequency determined by your care needs at any given time.

The Support Hospice Agencies Typically Provide

  • Care typically is paid for by your Medicare benefit, private insurance, or approved MediCal/MediCaid.
  • Hospice provides necessary equipment such as a hospital bed, oxygen, suction machine, alternating pressure pad to prevent bed sores, shower chair, wheelchair, and commode chair, as determined necessary by the hospice nurse.
  • Consult with your hospice provider to identify which personal care supplies are provided (diapers, wipes, gloves, skin care ointments, bed pad protectors).
  • Only medications related to your hospice diagnosis and comfort are supplied. You obtain your other medications through your regular pharmacy.
  • Ambulance transport home from a hospital or other facility.
  • A bath nurse usually visits twice weekly to provide bathing support.

Making the decision to receive hospice care can be stressful, especially if you haven’t had prior experience with end-of-life situations. It can, however, be one of the most powerful choices you can make.

You can expect to receive compassionate, supportive, respectful, and dignified care. If you are not, hire a new hospice agency.

Hospice Misconceptions

  • You or your loved one won’t receive quality care.

To the contrary, choosing hospice is choosing comfort care, not aggressive care. Clients often experience increased quality of life because of the additional support and attention.

  • The hospice team will be there round the clock.

The hospice team does NOT provide routine custodial care. Rather, they make visits to assess well-being and/or provide new instructions for comfort management, all the while giving emotional support.

Families must decide how their loved one’s care needs will be met during their journey with hospice. Common options include:

  • Family members provide custodial care.
  • Private-duty in-home care through a licensed agency provides support.
  • Transition to a skilled nursing facility for custodial care with hospice support.

Keen Life Care Managers are Experts in Coordinating Hospice Care

  • Support clients with love, respect, and dignity
  • Collaborate with clients, their families, and hospice agencies
  • Recommend quantity and frequency of private-duty in-home care support
  • Oversee, train, and guide in-home caregivers
  • Educate and train family caregivers
  • Help families transition their loved one to a skilled nursing facility if remaining at home isn’t an option
  • Update and educate family members at a distance

Keen Home Care can help.