Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hospice: The Basics

Hospice: The Basics

A couple months ago I asked our Facebook Fans to share what they want to learn about in our blog. They wanted to know “the basics”, and today the request is answered. It is important to note, while most hospice programs share a similar philosophy, not all hospice services are the same. It is important to find a hospice program that is a good fit for the patient and family’s needs and wants.
In this blog I will help you understand when to call hospice, when a patient is eligible for hospice and what services hospice provides. I will also provide the answers to some frequently asked questions related to hospice.

   ·         When should hospice be called?
Hospice should be called at any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and the patient is not receiving curative treatment. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options with a physician, including hospice.

  • When is it time for hospice?
           In order to be eligible for any hospice services, a patient must meet the following criteria:
    • The patient has a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less.
    • Comfort care and symptom management become the primary focus.
    • Curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option.
  • What services does a hospice program provide?
Services provided by most hospice programs include:
    • Comfort care and symptom management for patients.
    • Grief support for patients AND their family.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

·         Does Hospice provide 24 hour in home care?
No. Hospice provides intermittent nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime the need for support arises.
·         Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
No. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortably as possible.
·         Can I live alone and still receive hospice services?
Yes. Hospice of Southern Illinois accepts patients who live alone. Part of the admission and ongoing care process, however, is to plan and prepare for the time in a patient’s illness when 24-hour-a-day care will be necessary.
·         Can a hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?
Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit.

For an extended list of frequently asked questions visit our website at the following link, http://www.hospice.org/hospice-care/what-is-hospice/. To make a referral please call 24-hours a day, 1.800.233.1708.
To learn more about Hospice of Southern Illinois’ services please call 618.235.1703. We provide several services to patients and families that differentiate Hospice of Southern Illinois from other hospice programs. For example, Your Community Hospice Home, Relais Bonne Eau, is a place owned and operated by Hospice of Southern Illinois which was designed and developed for hospice patients to go when their own home is not possible or practical and receive 24 hour nursing care. Another example includes our on-call support, patient care, and patient admissions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including nights, weekends and holidays. We are here to serve you!
Help us share, educate, and reach out by subscribing to our blog and suggesting it to friends who will spread our message, Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to teach you what hospice is, what we are about, and what we can do for you and your loved ones! No one has to go through the dying process alone. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help!

Live well, laugh often, and love much,
Christine Juehne
Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education

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My name is Christine Juehne, and I have worked as a community educator for four years at Hospice of Southern Illinois, a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). I will be your hospice guru answering questions, covering stories, and informing you about all hospice topics. I welcome you to our blog! Follow our journey to stay committed to our mission, enhance the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a terminal illness! If you have further questions about Hospice of Southern Illinois or general hospice questions please feel free to call 618-235-1703 or e-mail me at cjuehne@hospice.org!

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