Hospice also aims to provide comfort to those with life-limiting illness and addresses the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of not only the patient but also the patient’s family caregivers. Typically, hospice care is offered when a person’s prognosis is six months or less and curative measures have been exhausted or are no longer desired.
Hospice covers treatments for symptom control or pain relief, durable medical equipment, medical supplies, and a variety of services covered by Medicare necessary to manage the person’s pain and other symptoms related to the terminal illness. This may include physical, speech, and occupational therapy, short-term inpatient and respite care, regular visits and oversight from a care team including a nurse, home health aides, a social worker, the hospice chaplain, and the hospice physician.
Patient, or the patient’s responsible party, always has the freedom to choose their Hospice, as well as revoke Hospice services at any time.
“Comfort care”, “palliative care” and “hospice care” are often used interchangeably because they generally refer to the same approach to patient care: focusing on symptom control, pain relief and quality of life.
While “comfort care” and “palliative care” are basically the same, hospice is a far more robust approach, engaging entire teams to help provide comfort and care to patients and families.
“Comfort care” and “palliative care” aren’t always afforded the same sense of expediency as hospice care. One of the advantages of hospice care is the speed at which healthcare is delivered. Medications, equipment, and treatment can be delivered anytime to wherever a patient is, without the need for physician appointments or authorizations.
In any disease trajectory, there are three possible outcomes: stability, improvement, or decline. Patients in decline may qualify for hospice care.
To qualify for hospice, a patient’s prognosis is assessed according to five criteria:
If the patient’s quality of life would not be improved by aggressive treatment such as hospitalization, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or hemodialysis
A patient’s nutritional status, generally determined by poor appetite and weight loss
How functional a patient is, and how much this has changed recently The normal progression of a specific diseasePhysicians make assessments based on a patient’s declining health during a 12 month period, as well as projections on disease progression six months out, using guidelines set forth by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) CMS has issued guidelines for specific diseases, including AIDS, cancer, dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, MS, ALS, heart and liver failure
Patients meeting this criteria may receive hospice care with a referral from their attending physician.
We provide whatever support patients and families need, however they need it, from our skilled nurses to our volunteers.
We also have an in-house Chaplain and Bereavement Counselor on-call to offer comfort in all forms—from spiritual support and grief counseling to just being an extra pair of eyes and ears.
Often Hospice services are covered through Medicare. Call us to discuss your specific situation and we’ll be happy to help.
In hospice, grief and loss are common emotions. The stages of grief framework can help you understand these feelings and talk about them.