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Eight things to know about Hospice

Aug. 06, 2009 @ 05:15 PM

1. What is hospice?  Different from traditional medical care, hospice care focuses on the comfort and quality of life of patients, while actively treating symptoms for patients who have a terminal illness. You do not have to give up your doctor to receive hospice services. The hospice team helps the patient live as pain free as possible, while supporting the family and giving them the knowledge and support to care for their loved ones in their home. Hospice is all about living.

2. Who quali?es for hospice care? Anyone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less quali? es for hospice care. No one truly can predict when the end comes. It is better to get patients in early rather than later when anxiety is high and pain and symptoms may be out of control. Although you do need a physician referral to receive hospice services, Hospice of Huntington nurses will come to your home to offer a free medical assessment. Accepting hospice care for a loved one does not mean you are taking away hope.

3. Who pays for hospice care? Medicare, Medicaid and most private health insurance policies provide coverage for hospice care. If you are a veteran, hospice services are also covered under your veterans bene? ts. Through generous donations from people just like you, services are truly available to all. No one is denied hospice services based on their inability to pay. 

4. What costs are covered under the hospice bene?t? o All medications that are related to your terminal diagnosis  Many supplemental supplies such as absorbent pads for the mattress, adult briefs, dressings, colostomy supplies, ointments and more o All medical equipment needed in the home such as oxygen, hospital beds, bath transfer benches, walkers, wheelchairs, etc. o All staff visits o In-patient stays at the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House

5. Can a hospice patient ever return to regular medical treatment? Certainly.  Some patients improve while under hospice care.  If improvement occurs or the disease seems to be in remission, the patient may be discharged from hospice and return when needed. If a patient wants to access curative treatments other than treatments  designed to provide comfort. Patients are free to get out of the hospice program at any time.

6. Does hospice provide care in nursing homes and residential care facilities? Yes, as long as your facility is in our service areas of Cabell, Lincoln, Mason, or Wayne Counties in West Virginia or Lawrence County, Ohio. The facility must have a contract with Hospice of Huntington. Payment for your room and board are paid 100%, if you are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare.  If your nursing home room and board is paid through other resources, hospice services may still be covered. The hospice social worker can help identify your level of bene?t.  9 out of 10 patients want to live their ?nal months with peace and dignity in the comfort of their own home (wherever that may be). 

7. Who goes to the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House? Our 14-bed facility offers another level of care for our patients. Reasons for being admitted include individuals who are very near the end of life and need skilled nursing around-the-clock; those who need pain and symptom control (these patients often return to home once symptoms are eased); and patients who schedule a stay for a 5-day respite (under the Medicare  hospice bene?t) to give caregivers at home a much-needed break.

8.  How does hospice "manage pain"? Hospice nurses and doctors keep up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. The hospice medical staff works closely with a patient's personal physician and the Hospice Medical Directors to coordinate care and maintain patient comfort. Hospice success in battling pain is very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them, while still maintaining an acceptable level of alertness.  In fact a recent study found  that on average those patients with a terminal illness who had hospice care lived an average of 1 month longer than those who did not have hospice services.