FOR DISCHARGE PLANNERS
Hospice care focuses on quality of life for people diagnosed with terminal illnesses by providing them with superior pain and symptom management and professional support for their families.
When is hospice care right for my patient?
To be eligible for hospice care, your patient must have a life expectancy of six months or less if the disease runs its natural course. When curative treatment is no longer effective for your patient’s terminal illness or isn’t adding to quality of life, hospice care is an option.
A hospice team can help you determine if hospice meets your patient’s goals for care and their professional staff is expert at talking with patients and their families. They'll explain how their services are patient-directed with medical guidance from the attending physician and the Medical Director. It's helpful to emphasize that there’s little or no cost to the patient or family and describe the team approach to patient care.
How do I approach the subject of hospice care with the patient and family?
The hospice team can be invited to be part of your conversation with your patient and the family. They are end-of-life experts and can explain how their hospice helps keep patients comfortable and manages their pain and symptoms so they can enjoy the time they have.
What if my patient needs extra care?
Your patient is admitted to hospice care at one of the following levels depending on your patient’s needs:
Routine Home Care – they come to where your patient is and control pain and symptoms with medications, medical equipment and visits from our Registered Nurses. Staff visit as often as they and you – the primary care doctor - determine your patient should be seen. A hospice nurse is available 24/7.
Inpatient Care – They care for your patient in one of our nearby partnering inpatient facilities, if her/his pain and symptoms can’t be managed well at home. Inpatient hospice care provides 24/7 on-site RN’s and aides, working with our team. Their goal is to get pain and symptoms under control so that your patient can return home.
Continuous Nursing Care – They come to your patient’s home when her/his pain and symptoms can’t be managed well there but s/he doesn’t want to go to an inpatient unit. An RN and an aide provide coordinated coverage for at least eight (8) hours daily for a brief period of time. This care is provided under most insurance plans.
Respite Care – if requested, a contract with a facility may be available where your patient stays for up to five (5) nights while her/his caregiver gets some much-needed time and rest. Then your patient returns to routine hospice care at home.