Hospice care focuses on alleviating pain and suffering while providing counseling and comfort to those in the final stages of terminal illness. To be eligible for hospice care, a senior must be declared by his or her primary doctor to be terminally ill and expected to pass within 60 days. A patient can leave hospice care at any time. If your family decides the time is not right, you can return to curative care.
Hospice care nurses and doctors:
- provide pain management designed to lessen physical discomfort during a patient’s final weeks of life
- provide counselors and clergy if desired
- help seniors, friends, and family to cope with emotional distress
- counsel focuses on accepting the coming end of life
- includes occupational and physical therapists to help keep the senior as comfortable and independent as possible
- work primarily in the senior’s home or nursing home, but also in some hospitals and inpatient centers
- when medical attention is not needed, volunteers are available to provide company if there is time when friends and family members cannot be present
- do not provide aggressive treatment for terminal illness
- do not treat seniors who still strive to recover from illness
Make sure your Hospice Organization is Medicare certified and licensed by the state. Also, being accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHA), or the Community Heath Care Accreditation Program (CHAP) is key.
Before you seek out Hospice Care for your loved one determine the following:
- The current prognosis for your parent.
- Your families level of comfort around Hospice care, counseling and support?
- Friends and family members that are available to be present during hospice care.
- Religious affiliations preferences
- Explain the senior’s care plan to the family so we know what to expect. How flexible is the plan and what are the requirements of the family caregivers involvement?
- Do you have a religious affiliation? Are you able to provide clergy or spiritual guidance outside your denomination?
- Describe all costs associated with your service and the methods of billing and payment.
- Do you provide inpatient care? Where is this care provided? Can I visit the inpatient care space before making a decision?
- Do you work in nursing facilities or retirement living communities? Are the services provided any different in a nursing home setting?
- Provide references.