Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three Things You Thought You Knew About Hospice

Three Things You Thought You Knew About Hospice

Hospice is often and unfortunately misrepresented to the general public. Often seen as the people who “come at the very end” or when someone is “giving up”, hospice is very much the opposite.

1.       Did you know hospice services can be utilized for up to 6 months?

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s NHPCO’s Facts and Figures on Hospice, “The median length of service in 2012 was 18.7 days. This means that half of hospice patients received care for less than three weeks. The average length of service increased from 69.1 days in 2011 to 71.8 in 2012.” These statistics tell us that a large percentage of patients are not receiving the full benefits of hospice care. Although we are seeing a slight increase in the average length of service, why don’t we see more people utilizing the hospice benefit longer? Some could be attributed to disease criteria, acceptance, or access to care. If patients, however, had 6 months to fully reflect and experience their end-of-life journey, maybe more people would have the opportunity to die their way: with dignity and grace.

2.       Choosing quality of life does not mean giving up.

When people elect their hospice benefit, it definitely doesn’t mean they are “giving up”. It can be hard for family to see that.  Their mind says, “Treatment means fighting for life”. Consider weighing the pain, suffering, and symptoms that may be associated with treatment. Choosing to forego curative treatments could alleviate certain stressors, symptoms and expenses. This is different than giving up. This is simply choosing quality of life, which take tremendous courage. Celebrate that decision and celebrate the time there is left with loved ones, while feeling as good as possible.

3.       Dying can be peaceful and graceful.

Death is very sad to accept and discuss. It is, however, unavoidable that we will all die. It is difficult to accept and reflect on this time and plan for a peaceful and graceful journey. Further, it is definitely not easy to understand how dying can be peaceful and graceful, but it is possible. Hospice of Southern Illinois can make it easier to understand, especially the longer the service is utilized. Nurses and hospice aides can address the physical/medical needs of patients; the counseling team can address emotional and spiritual wishes of the patient and family; and volunteers can provide companionship and relief of caregiving to let the family focus on being a family during the important time that is left. All members of the team are instrumental in assisting the patient and their family to honor the goals of care until the end of their journey. When the goals of care are honored, dying then becomes more peaceful and graceful.
Not all Hospices are the same. Ask for Hospice of Southern Illinois by name. 
Learn about Hospice of Southern Illinois, getting hospice services, and having your questions answered. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 800-233-1708 or visit our website for more information, www. hospice.org. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Step-By-Step Guide: How To Get Hospice Services

A Step-By-Step Guide: How To Get Hospice Services.

Hospice care is a specialized healthcare option for someone with a terminal illness that wants no further aggressive treatment or is not a candidate for curative treatment. Not only can hospice help patients, but it includes their family as well. Below are eligibility guidelines set forth by Medicare Regulations. If a person is not sure if they can get hospice services, Hospice of Southern Illinois is available to answer questions with no obligation. No one has to go through the end-of-life journey alone. Please review this step-by-step guide of what to expect when you call for hospice services.

1. Eligibility.
  • A prognosis of 6 months or less, if the disease takes its regular scientific course. No one really knows a definite time frame. 
  • Curative treatment is no longer the patients’ choice or option. (Treatment is not always going to make a person better. Sometimes patients decide not to continue with expensive or experimental treatment options, but prefer to focus on quality of life and control of symptoms.)
  • Comfort care, symptom management, and goals of care are the primary focus. (Oftentimes, pain is one of the most severe symptoms hospice can help control. Hospice also helps treat wounds, evaluate medications, assist with personal care, and address emotional needs.)
2. Call today to set up an appointment.
Although anyone can make a referral, there are three people you can call to complete a referral to hospice. Call your primary care physician, your specialist physician, or call Hospice of Southern Illinois directly, because a doctor’s order is required to get hospice services. Making an appointment is as easy as calling to schedule an informational talk with Hospice of Southern Illinois to review hospice services.

3. Ask questions of yourself.
There are many questions that may come to mind or decisions that need to be made when you are considering hospice services. Hospice of Southern Illinois can help you with these questions and answer many more that may arise in an informational meeting and/or assessment. Ask yourself:
  • “What concerns do I have about what lies ahead?”
  •  “How do I want to spend my time as medical treatments become limited?”

4. Receive an informational meeting and/or assessment.
A hospice nurse or representative will come out and review the hospice eligibility requirements, assess the patient and their diagnosis, and order medical equipment and medications needed. They will also discuss the goals of care determined by the patient and family. The hospice team is made up of physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, bereavement counselors and volunteers that work with the patient and family to achieve those goals.

5. Your first visit.
Within one day after your informational meeting and assessment, a nurse will come out to visit (unless the patient and family requests otherwise). The nurse will address physical and emotional needs of the patient, review medical equipment and medications for effectiveness, and see if the patient or family needs anything before the next scheduled visit. The main thing to remember during these visits is to be honest and share any concerns because you are in charge of your healthcare and end-of-life wishes. Hospice of Southern Illinois is here to help make sure they are carried out.

Not all Hospices are the same. Ask for Hospice of Southern Illinois by name. 
Learn about Hospice of Southern Illinois, getting hospice services, and having your questions answered. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 800-233-1708 or visit our website for more information, www. hospice.org. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why Does Hospice of Southern Illinois Fundraise?

“Why does Hospice of Southern Illinois hold so many fundraisers?” is common question from people within the community, agree Jennifer Vinyard and Kathy Wilson, Event Coordinators for Hospice of Southern Illinois.  Most of our events are brought to us by individuals or organizations in the community who have experienced the loss of a loved one and who want to show appreciation for the care that was provided. 

Your gift makes a difference.  There is no gift too small.  Fundraisers and community support are additional resources that allow us to continue providing the highest quality end-of-life care regardless of a patient and family’s ability to pay for hospice care.

How can you help?  Attend fundraisers…Share events…Sponsor…Donate…Host an event…Volunteer

To speak with someone in the Development Department for more information,
please call 1-800-233-1708.