What is Hospice?
Hospice, or end-of-life care, emphasizes pain management and symptom control rather than curative treatment. It affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. It provides personalized services and a caring team of caregivers so that patients and families can attain the necessary preparation for a death that is satisfactory to them.
Is hospice a place?
Hospice is not just a place – it’s a service. Hospice brings physical, emotional, and spiritual care and support to wherever our patients call home, including a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, group home, etc.
Who can receive hospice care?
Hospice care is appropriate if your doctor can certify that you have a life-limiting illness, and if the disease runs its normal course, death may be expected in 6 months or less. While on hospice care comfort, care, and symptom management become the primary focus. When a patient elects hospice care curative treatment is no longer patient’s choice or option.
Are there signs that a patient is appropriate for hospice care?
Yes, when a patient had had multiple hospitalizations over the last several months and the burden of curative outweigh the benefits, the patient might be appropriate and/or ready for hospice care. Some other indications include:
- Uncontrollable pain
- Repeated/frequent hospitalizations
- oxygen dependence and shortness of breath
- Decline in physical activity and appetite or eating
- Weight loss
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Frequent infections
If I have home health, why do I need hospice care?
Hospice offers many services home health care does not. Hospice care includes prescriptions, medical equipment and visits from an interdisciplinary healthcare staff. Typically, the goal of home health care is to help the patient become more independent, and visits decrease in frequency as the patient’s condition improves. The goal of hospice is to keep the patient comfortable as symptoms increase. Hospice services change to fit the needs of the patient.
Can a person receive hospice while continuing curative treatments?
By definition, hospice is focused on care of a palliative nature. When starting hospice, curative treatments are stopped in favor of comfort measures.
Does hospice mean euthanasia? Will hospice make my loved one die sooner?
The goal of hospice is to provide comfort as the natural process of dying takes its course. In no way is there any effort or intention to hasten a patient’s death while on hospice, just to provide comfort while the patient’s journey comes to an end.
Who comprises the hospice care team?
Members of the hospice care team can include:
- Registered nurses: Monitor symptoms and medication, and help educate both the patient and the family about what’s happening. The nurse is also the link between the patient, the family, and the physician.
- Social Workers: Counsels and advises the patient and family members, and acts as the patient’s community advocate, making sure the patients have access to the resources they need.
- Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists: Help the patient develop new ways to perform tasks that may have become difficult due to illness, such as walking, dressing, or eating.
- Chaplain: Offer spiritual support to the patient and family.
- Home health aides: Provide personal care such as bathing, shaving, and nail care. Homemakers may be available for light housekeeping and meal preparation.
- Volunteers: Provide companionship for the patient and offer respite for the caregivers. Volunteers are at the heart of hospice care and may be health professionals or members of the general public.
- Resource Assistance: Help with resources including financial aid, funeral arrangements and Healthcare Power of Attorney.
Does a hospice patient need to be “homebound?”
No. The “Homebound” requirement is only for Medicare home care services. We encourage hospice patients to live your life to the fullest. Patients are able to continue attending church, visiting family, and even traveling out of town.
Can I ask for Corpore Sano Hospice by name?
Yes! According to Medicare, “a patient is free to choose any qualified agency offering him/her services.”
Does hospice offer respite care?
Yes. Family and caregivers may need some time away from intense care giving. Respite care is offered often over a 5-day period to families or caregivers who need some relief. During this time, the patient will be cared for either in contracted beds in nursing homes or hospitals.
Does hospice cover equipment and supplies?
Hospice covers basic medical equipment such as hospital beds and wheelchairs, and medical supplies and medications that are directly related to the terminal illness.
Does hospice cover medicine?
The hospice nurse obtains the medication order from the physician. The hospice-contracted pharmacy provides the medicines that are related to the patient’s primary diagnosis and are included in the hospice formulary. A 14-day or less supply is ordered at one time. All new medications require approval from hospice. The nurse reviews the medication supply with caregivers on home visits to ensure necessary medications are on hand.
What kinds of medications are used for hospice?
Drugs to reduce or eliminate pain can be prescribed by a hospice provider, which may include morphine. Existing medications are removed on a per-case basis, taking into account factors such as drug interactions, quality of life and the family’s wishes. Hospice staff will make every effort to explain changes in medication to a patient’s loved ones.
What happens if we have a problem after hours?
Hospice is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Our phones are answered by an answering service after hours. The answering service contacts an on-call nurse who returns your call promptly, usually within 15 minutes.
Can we call 911?
We ask that you call Corpore Sano Hospice first for all of your urgent needs. We will facilitate any care you might need.
What if the patient needs to go back to the hospital?
By calling hospice first, we might be able to keep the patient from being admitted to the hospital. We ask that you call Corpore Sano Hospice first for all of your urgent needs. We will facilitate any care you might need.
What if the patient gets an infection?
Infections can be treated with oral antibiotics if the patient and family desire.
Can a hospice patient get bloodwork?
Blood draws can be provided for management of symptoms.
Can I keep my primary doctor?
Hospice encourages the patient and family to keep their primary physician. The nurse communicates with the primary physician on a regular basis, keeping the doctor updated on the patient’s condition and addressing any changes needed on the care plan. The patient may choose the hospice medical director as their primary physician.
What if we decided we don’t want hospice anymore?
The patient and family can discontinue hospice care at any time. Hospice will ask you to sign a revocation form if you no longer want hospice services. Occasionally a patient’s condition will show a marked improvement while they are on hospice. This can happen for any number of reasons, but if doctors believe the patient will live past six months then hospice care is stopped and the patient is said to have graduated.
What happens at the time of death?
Call Corpore Sano Hospice. We will send a staff member to the home, notify the physician, the medical examiner and the funeral home. You do not need to call 911.
Corpore Sano Home Health & Hospice
40500 Ann Arbor. Ste 102
Plymouth, MI 48170