Understanding Hospice Part 2

Lots of great information to better understand this unique service line. Hospice is such a great benefit that is so misunderstood. We will finish out the answers to our Hospice quiz from 2 weeks ago. As always, if there are any questions, please email us at info@elitehhh.com

Hospice provides medications, treatments, medical equipment and supplies that are related to the patient’s illness that is causing the need for services.

Hospice reviews each medication and works with the patient and family to support medications that are providing comfort. Medications that are unrelated to the diagnosis causing the need for hospice may be an out-of-pocket cost for families. This should be reviewed and discussed at the evaluation visit.

Hospice ends when the patient dies.

Grief support is provided for the family members after the patient has passed away for 13 months. Social workers and chaplains often support this service.

Hospice care is available to any individual expected to live 6 months or less.

Patients can live beyond 6 months while on hospice. The health status is regularly reviewed to determine continued eligibility. Hospice services may end due to the patient no longer having a 6-month prognosis. Patients may graduate from hospice at this point. If the patient begins to decline, they can be readmitted to the hospice program again.

People who live alone are able to receive hospice.

Most hospices will enroll a patient without a caregiver. Usually, if there is a concern for caregiver needs, this may become a focus of the hospice care plan to assure the patient has proper care and support as their disease progresses and additional help is required.

Hospice is designed to treat the emotional needs of the dying individual and their family.

The hospice team is uniquely trained to provide emotional support. The unique training of social workers and chaplains aids in meeting these needs. The patient and family determine the level of support provided.

Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cannot have hospice.

Around 13% of all hospice patients have a diagnosis of one of the dementias. This is becoming the largest and fastest growing segment of hospice.

While on hospice, individuals can receive treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery to cure the illness causing the need for services.

In many cases, these interventions are considered curative. As such, the role of hospice cannot properly be provided, and patients will often choose to discharge from hospice in pursuit of these services.

Individuals on hospice cannot be taken to the hospital.

Hospitalization is usually unnecessary while on hospice. Unrelated conditions may be treated in a hospital setting while on hospice. The important thing is to let the hospice agency know, so they can properly advise if a hospitalization is the best treatment plan based on overall goals. The hospital will also need to be informed to support the patient’s decisions for care.

Hospice care focuses on managing pain and symptoms.

The purpose of hospice is quality pain and symptom management. In fact, this is one of the key metrics that contributes to a hospice’s rating. Most patients expect hospice to address pain relief as a priority in the care plan.

Hospice is for the caregivers, family, and friends, as well as, the patient.

Hospice is a team targeting physical, emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. Additional members that may be available, depending on the hospice, include massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, pharmacists, and volunteers.

Hospice is a minimum of 12 hours of daily bedside care provided by the clinicians.

Hospice is generally provided as visits by different team members each week. The frequency and duration of visits will depend on the patient’s needs. There may be a need to supplement services with hired caregivers to meet all the needs of the patient.