Hospice and Palliative Care Month

November is the month where we get the privilege to highlight the unique realm of healthcare that is focused strictly on quality of life.

The Hospice Foundation of America provides resources to assist in selecting the best hospice provider for you.

Here are some key ideas to consider when selecting a hospice provider


What does a day on hospice look like? According to the Hospice Foundation of America, hospice is…

  • Medical care for people with an anticipated life expectancy of 6 months or less, when cure isn’t an option, and the focus shifts to symptom management and quality of life. 
  • An interdisciplinary team of professionals trained to address physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of the person; the team also supports family members and other intimate unpaid caregivers.  
  • Specialty care that is person-centered, stressing coordination of care, clarification of goals of care, and communication.
  • Provided primarily where a person lives, whether that is a private residence, nursing home, or community living arrangement, allowing the patient to be with important objects, memories, and family.
  • Care that includes periodic visits to the patient and family caregivers by hospice team members. Hospice providers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond if patient or caregiver concerns arise.
  • The only medical care that includes bereavement care, which is available during the illness and for more than a year after the death for the family/intimate network.

For more information, check out Hospice Foundation Of America – What is Hospice?

This is an unbiased website about what to look for and consider when selecting a hospice provider.

As a local provider, we hope you will choose us to support you and your loved ones in this critical decision. We know every story is different and every experience is unique. Our goal is to tailor your experience to you and your wishes. If you have questions, you can always call or email us.

Are all hospice agencies the same?

Hospice is a Medicare program, so agencies that pursue Medicare certification must offer the same basic services. However, the “same basic services” does not necessarily mean these services are equal. Hospice providers have choices in how they design and carryout a treatment plan. These differences can provide a very different hospice experience across agencies.

If you have a choice, selecting a hospice agency should be a carefully considered decision. For example, an agency can be certified only by Medicare which is managed by the state the agency is in. However, agencies can choose to pursue stricter and more stringent standards. This may involve accreditation with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization or review by an outside organization, such as the Community Health Accreditation. Agencies that pursue these higher standards show that while the minimum requirements to provide “hospice” are met, these agencies are choosing the next level of care and are measured on their performance across other aspects of the hospice service.

Hospice is a medical service, but not all of hospice has to be medically focused. Some hospice agencies embrace alternative interventions such as massage therapy, energy work, therapeutic music, and palliative therapies, such as physical, occupational or speech. Also, some hospice agencies support specific populations, such as geriatrics, veterans, or pediatric patients. Some hospice agencies foster building in cultural considerations into the care, such as language used during service, religious beliefs and practices supported through spiritual care, and intentional inclusion of the diversity in the community. If these are important to you, make sure the hospice agency you select is open to alternative medicine options, such as naturopathic or Eastern approaches.

Finally, hospice is a 24/7 service, but that means different things for different providers. A monitored voicemail is different than a live answering service or a scheduled nurse visit the next day versus a middle of the night nurse phone call versus a middle of the night in-person nurse house call. Knowing what you need and want can help aid in differentiating what is available.

Choosing the right provider can demonstrate the unique value of hospice or tarnish a perspective of what the hospice benefit actually is. Take your time and start early. Schedule a meeting with a potential provider to better understand how they do hospice!

What does it mean to age well?

When we think about aging, we may find there are conflicting views about the freedom of retirement and the challenges of one’s body becoming older. But, when it comes to the word itself, “aging” can mean lifestyle choices and living one’s best life. Sometimes, it is taking an intentional first step to plan out what aging will be for you.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, aging well involves intentionality and active participation in your health and lifestyle. Being aware of your physical needs and changes may involve having conversations with friends and families about your goals and plans for your health, your living abilities, and how you intend to change these areas over time. Aging well also involves plans for your financial health, supportive resources to continue living your best life, and having a plan for your needs as you change. Aging well also involves a plan for your mental and emotional health, supportive friendships and community outside of your immediate family, as well as engaging in activities that create meaning for your life. Finally, healthy aging involves a balanced diet and some form of physical activity to support your overall health goals.

Aging is more that numbers rising, another calendar year gone by, or physical change. Aging is something you can plan for and work with. At least, that’s what we believe!





November is Hospice and Palliative Care Month

Hospice and Palliative care services are often used interchangeably. However, they are distinctive services, and for many patients and families, they are services needed at different time and spaces in the continuum of care. Here are some frequent questions we hear about hospice and palliative care:

  1. Who can be treated? Palliative can treat patients who have a serious underlying condition and are pursuing curative interventions. Hospice is designed for individuals with a serious illness that doctors believe will result in the patient passing in 6 months or less. Patients are not pursuing curative treatments at this time.
  2. Will my symptoms be relieved? Yes, for both. Hospice and Palliative services are both focused on the quality of life. Symptoms, especially pain, are targeted in the intervention.
  3. Can I continue to receive treatments to cure my illness? Yes, for palliative. No, for hospice. Hospice is only supporting with symptom relief, not curative efforts.
  4. Will Medicare pay? Yes, for hospice. Medicare covers the hospice benefit. For palliative, Medicare may cover a portion of your costs, and you may have a co-payment depending on your level of coverage.
  5. Does private insurance pay? Every plan is different, and they may restrict number of days or visits that the member is eligible to access. There may be co-payments or deductibles included to access the benefit as well.
  6. How long will I be cared for? Palliative alone does not have restrictions on the length of service though some insurance plans may limit patient access. Hospice services may be provided as long as the criteria of a life limiting illness with under a 6 month prognosis is met.
  7. Where can I receive care? For both palliative and hospice care, services can be provided in the home, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and in hospitals.

For more information, check out nia.nih.gov

October is National Breast Cancer Month

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among American women.

The best way to find breast cancer early, when it is treatable and in most cases curable, is by performing self breast exams monthly and getting yearly mammograms.

Breast cancer does not discriminate; 1 out of every 100 cases of diagnosed breast cancer occurs in men.

Symptoms of breast cancer vary but may include changes in the size or shape of the breast, pain in the breast, nipple discharge, or new/non-healing rashes on the breast.

If you experience any of these symptoms or have any concerns about breast cancer, you should notify your provider and ask about your risk of breast cancer.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/breastcancerawareness/index.htm

Weekly Pulse for March 21, 2022

Home Health
Start Date
Start Date
***Start Dates are contingent on receiving a complete referral***

Clinical Focus

Elite Home Health & Hospice is expanding. We are launching Palliative services in Idaho for Medicare patients on April 1st!!

Palliative services are a medical specialty service that are aimed at supporting the management of chronic illness to reduce pain and stress. Palliative professionals are uniquely trained to provide Medicare’s chronic care management services and support patient’s in defining interventions at various phases of their disease process.

Palliative services allow us to uniquely partner with local PCPs to coordinate multiple specialists and their interventions. Effective palliation should reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Question Corner

Can’t I just provide palliative services for my patients?


The term “palliative care” is frequently used by medical professionals to address pain management and comfort in end-of-life. This use is an over-simplification of palliative services and frankly hospice services. True palliative care is directed to support the physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and emotional well-being of the patient. Palliative services are never offered as a single provider but rather a multidisciplinary team.

Palliative services aid the patient in making decisions about the levels of intervention in their disease course. Palliative services support the patient and family in identifying needs at the various phases to support meeting their wishes for disease process management and end-of-life care. Similar to hospice, the services related to emotional and spiritual support are often provided by professionals in social work and chaplaincy.

If you have questions about Elite’s palliative program, send us an email at info@EliteHHH.com  

People to know

Clarkston Liaison – Angie (contact information coming soon)

Lewiston Liaison – Beth (509) 254-1381

Moscow & Orofino Liaison – Scott (509) 234-3102

Business Development – Ashley (509) 843-7605

Quality of Life in Chronic Disease

How do we measure quality of life (QOL)? How do we know we are meeting our patients’ needs?

Whether patients are pursing curative treatments or are in the end-of-life phases of their disease processes, QOL is a term that is used to direct care and engage patients and their families in discussions related to their treatment plans. Chronic diseases are a unique setting for this term, because initial measures for QOL may change in the course of treatment and in the disease process. As we dive into chronic disease management, understanding the impact of successful and failed treatments can help providers build in supports for patients through their course of intervention. Bremer et al. (1989) highlight the impact on QOL measures for failed kidney transplant patients. Subsequent treatment plans inherently required mental health supports for patients whose initial treatment plan failed. Ongoing conversations to understand a patient’s perspective on QOL is essential to creating a comprehensive treatment plan. This approach asserts that the practitioner recognize that QOL is a moving target and will change with the patient’s clinical status. Further, assessment of side-effects related to pharmacological interventions and the interplay of comorbidities as they impact comfort and capacity suggest that QOL measures are more complex than just symptom mitigation (Edgell et al, 1996). QOL is an essential measure for successfully partnering with patients in chronic disease management.

Elite Home Health & Hospice perceives quality of life as the life desired by our patient. No one size fits all, and we plan for individualized treatment for patients that come to us on home health and progress to hospice. We are also expanding to provide palliative care services for patients still pursuing curative treatments who need the expertise of a practitioner to create QOL treatment plans.