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. 

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