FAQ’s Regarding Hospice Services:

Patient and Nurse

What is Hospice?

 

A way to care for terminally ill people by focusing on pain relief and symptom management when a patient/family no longer want curative care. We provide emotional and spiritual support as well, to the patient and families. The patient’s life expectancy is six months or less.

 

Where does a patient receive hospice services, will they have to be in an inpatient facility?

Hospice patients will receive services wherever the patient considers to be “home”.

 

If Hospice is for terminally ill/dying, does putting a loved one on Hospice mean I am giving up on them?

No. Hospice will provide a way for a person to live in comfort, peace, in their own home and surrounded by friends and family without curative care.

 

Will I have to pay for Hospice?

No. Hospice care is covered by Medicare, through the Medicare Hospice Benefit.

 

What all services are provided through Hospice?

Doctor services

Medical equipment (hospital bed, wheelchair, oxygen, etc.)

Nursing care

Medical supplies (briefs, wipes, bandages, catheters, etc.)

Home Health

Aide Emotional and spiritual counseling to help patient and family with grief

Social Worker

Medications will be delivered to the patient’s home

Spiritual Support

Short term in-patient care or a respite stay

Dietary Counseling

Pet therapy and music therapy

Who is on the Hospice team?

Hospice patients will receive services from an Interdisciplinary team, which means members from different disciplines. The team consists of a physician, nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, bereavement counselor, and volunteer.

 

How often does the Hospice staff visit? 

The frequency can depend based on patient or family needs. The services that are provided can be adjusted and increased as the patient is closer to end of life. Nursing visits will often be 1-2 x a week, hospice aide 2 x a week, spiritual and social work visits will be 2-3 x a month. 

 

Can my doctor still be my doctor if I go on Hospice?

Yes. Hospice physicians will work with your doctor to ensure that your clinical needs are being met.

 

Will routine medications be stopped when I go on Hospice?

No. Vitamins and supplements often are discontinued as there is no proven benefit at this stage when hospice is needed. If a patient is unable to tolerate pills due to decline some medications may be stopped. Also, routine medications are discontinued when a patient is in the active phase of dying.

 

Will Hospice care for my loved one 24/7?

A family member or facility staff if in an assisted living or nursing home will continue to be the primary caregiver. Hospice will add to that care with regular visits to support and provide education. Hospice will be available 24/7 with an after hours and weekend triage nurse for when a need arises, and a visit is needed.

What is respite care?

Respite care provides a break, or “respite”, to family members and caregivers who are caring for a loved one in a private home. Respite care gives a break to a family member or caregiver for up to 5 consecutive days. Your loved one will be transferred to a contracted facility that will provided 24-hour care. 

 

What if a patient’s health improves greatly while on Hospice?

A hospice must discharge a patient from services if their illness or condition is no longer considered terminal. Patients often can improve with hospice services when we are focusing on managing pain, symptoms and focusing on quality of life. Patients can also revoke hospice care for any reason at any time if they choose. 

 

Does Morphine cause death to come sooner?

Morphine is often used in hospice care to control pain and shortness of breath. It does not speed the dying process and is most often used on an as needed basis in those final hours or days to provide comfort. 

 

What happens once my loved one dies?

Hospice will be notified, and your hospice nurse will go out to the bedside and make a final visit and assist in making arrangements for your loved one to be transported to a mortuary once family is ready. They will prepare the body, make phone calls, and arrange for medical equipment to be picked up.

Spiritual support is also available to meet the families emotional and spiritual needs. 

 

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If you have any additional question, feel free to give us a call or email us!

- Phil Gallinaro, BSN, MSN, RN-FNP