Q: What is hospice?
A: Hospice is an approach to care for terminally ill patients. It can be provided in a hospital, a nursing home, hospice residence, patient’s home or any place a patient may live.
The philosophy behind hospice care is the premise that everyone has a right to die with dignity, in as much comfort as possible, as alert as possible, and with an opportunity for personal growth and the healing of relationships. Hospice is a holistic approach to caring for the whole patient- physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our care is centered on enhancing quality of life while there is still time, hospice is really all about living.
Q: How do I pay for hospice?
A: All or part of hospice may be covered by Medicare. Medicaid (in some states) or private insurance. Hospice services can be paid for completely as long as the services relate to managing the terminal illness, controlling pain, or helping you or your loved one maintain daily activities and basic functional skills.
Q: Who is part of the hospice team?
A: The hospice team is comprised of a physicians, nurses, certified nurse aides, home health aide, a social worker, a bereavement coordinator, a spiritual care coordinator and volunteers. A patient’s hospice team is in constant contact with the patient, the family and each other, and collaborates on how to best meet the needs of both the patient and family. The hospice team also works closely with the patient’s physician.
Since our team is trained in end-of-life care, they are able to help the patient and family through the dying process, and what to anticipate both physically and emotionally. The goal of our hospice team is to provide as much comfort as possible to the patient and family during the patient’s remaining time.
Q: Who is eligible for hospice?
A: To be eligible for hospice services, a person must:
- Have a terminal prognosis with a limited life expectancy, as certified by a physician
- Be under the care of a physician
- Choose supportive symptom management rather than aggressive curative care
- Request hospice services
Hospice may be the right choice for a patient suffering the effects of any disease in its final stages. Some common diagnoses that qualify a person for hospice care are:
• Heart Disease
• Pulmonary Disease
• Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
• Renal Disease
• Liver Disease
• Stroke or coma
• Neurological diseases e.g., ALS, MS, Parkinson’s Disease
• HIV or AIDS
• Any other life-limiting illness
Heather Hughes, RN – Director of Clinical Services, AseraCare in Indianapolis