What is Hospice?
Hospice is a special type of care designed to support a patient in the final phase of a terminal illness or life-limiting disease. The focus is on managing pain, controlling symptoms and enhancing the quality of life in the remaining days, instead of aggressive or curative treatments.
It is a common misconception that hospice patients are already “dying”–critically ill, bed-bound, and unable to continue living life to the fullest. This is not true as hospice gives these patients the opportunity for comfort and completion of tasks.
Hospice care is delivered by a team of interdisciplinary professionals such physicians, nurses, dieticians, aides, social workers, counselors, and volunteers who:
- Manage the patient’s symptoms
- Evaluate, organize and provide the needed medications, supplements, supplies and equipment.
- Educate the family or caregiver on how to care for the patient
- Assist the patients and their families with emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of death
- Give continuous nursing home care when patient is experiencing a crisis
- Give short-term inpatient care when caregiver needs respite
- Deliver special services such as music, pet, or therapy care when needed
- Provide bereavement services to surviving loved ones.
In most cases, hospice care is provided to the patient at home. But it can also be in a facility.
Why Desert Care Hospice?
We cannot prolong life, but we can relieve pain and provide comfort, so that patients can experience an enhanced quality of life for as long as possible. Not only do we provide high-quality care and support to every patient and their family, but we try our best in making a difference in their lives. By providing care and comfort, we create memorable moments that will enrich them.
We understand that quality of life varies from person to person. That is why we let our patients decide what’s important to them, and we make that our priority.
Caring for a terminally ill family member can be overwhelming and exhausting, but we at Desert Care Hospice are ready to share the care you provide with your loved one. We offer management, guidance and support as you cope with your loved one’s disease progression.
As a resource for end-of-life care, Desert Care Hospice aims to provide care for all eligible patients and their families who need hospice care.
Who is Eligible for Hospice?
Our hospice care program provides care for patients of cancer and other terminal illnesses, chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, neurological disorder, Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.
A patient is eligible for hospice care if:
- He/She has been diagnosed with a life-limiting or terminal illness.
- A physician has certified his/her life expectancy at six months or less, assuming that the illness runs its typical course.
- He/She has opted to receive hospice care instead of seeking aggressive treatment.
It is a common misconception that a patient must be in a really critical condition and bed-bound to be in hospice. But, that is not always the case.
There are also some signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for hospice care:
- Confusion in identifying people, place, time
- Excessive sleeping throughout the day
- Loss of interest in activities
- Increased weakness or fatigue during activities
- Progressive weight loss
- Difficulty breathing, even at rest or with oxygen
- Not “bouncing back” after an illness
- Frequent changes in medications
- Nonresponsive to treatment or therapy
- Frequent emergency room visits in the past 6 months
Keep in mind that patients must meet the criteria in order to qualify for hospice. If you think you are eligible, the Desert Care Hospice team will work with you and your physician to determine your eligibility.
Is it Time for Hospice?
Deciding when it’s time to focus on quality of life, instead of curative or aggressive treatment can be quite difficult. Add to that the misconception that hospice care is for people who are at the very last stages of their illnesses. It is therefore important that this is thoroughly discussed between the patients and their loved ones.
When the choice is made for hospice care, Desert Care Hospice can provide the support for comfort care to the patients and their families. Desert Care Hospice cannot prolong life, but it can relieve pain and physical discomfort so that patients can better fulfill their emotional and spiritual wishes.
Paying for Hospice
For qualified beneficiaries, the cost of hospice care is 100% covered by the Medicare and Medicaid Hospice Benefit. It provides a daily benefit allowance for the necessary and reasonable care and support while in hospice. You will be informed of your coverage status prior to admission to Desert Care Hospice.
If in any case you are not eligible for hospice benefits under Medicare or Medicaid your private health insurance might be able to cover the cost of hospice.
Hospice Myths and Facts
Myth: Getting hospice care means giving up.
Fact: Hospice does not mean giving up. It is about refocusing the patient’s goals–from curing the illness to going on with life as comfortable as possible. Hospice gives the patients the opportunity to be in control and to spend more time with loved ones.
Myth: Hospice is a place.
Fact: Hospice is not a place because hospice care can take place wherever a patient feels comfortable.
Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.
Fact: Hospice is not just for cancer patients. Patients with other life-limiting illnesses or terminal diseases can also benefit from hospice care.
Myth: Only physicians can refer for hospice care.
Fact: Anyone who wishes to be under hospice care can do so. You can consult with your physician or talk to your preferred hospice care provider for evaluation.
Myth: A patient must be a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) to be in hospice.
Fact: You do not have to be a DNR to be on hospice. Hospices do not require their patients to sign a DNR prior to admission.
Myth: Patients under hospice cannot go back to curative or aggressive treatment.
Fact: Patients may discontinue hospice services any point and go back to curative aggressive treatment. In the same manner, patients can be readmitted to hospice care at any time as long as they again meet the admission requirements.
Myth: Hospice only benefits the patient.
Fact: At Desert Care Hospice, we take care not only of the patients, but their families as well. The family is included in the support, advance care planning and many other areas of need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coming up with a decision to get hospice care may be overwhelming, as you will be faced with so many questions. Below are some of the frequently asked questions and corresponding answers that might help you be more comfortable in deciding to get hospice care.
Who benefits from hospice care?
Desert Care Hospice’s focus is on the treatment of emotional and physical symptoms and pain management. We provide hospice care for patients with life-limiting and terminal illnesses such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, lung disease, and kidney disease.
The patients’ families will also get support to help them adapt to their loss. Desert Care Hospice can continue supporting families for over a year after a loved one’s death through its outreach programs.
What is the purpose of hospice?
The purpose of hospice is to improve the quality of life for people who have life-limiting or terminal diseases. At Desert Care Hospice, the aim is to ease the physical, emotional and spiritual pain and suffering that typically come with these illnesses.
As patients have different needs, Desert Care Hospice provides four levels of hospice care:
Routine Home Care – Desert Care Hospice can provide hospice services at the patient’s residence or where the patient considers as his/her home.
Continuous Home Care – Desert Care Hospice can provide hospice nurses and nursing aides at home for up to 24 hours. This is to manage the patient’s pain and other acute symptoms at home.
Respite Care – Desert Care Hospice can provide temporary relief for the primary caregiver for up to 5 days. Care is provided for patients admitted in a licensed facility.
Inpatient Care – Desert Care Hospice has arrangements with hospitals or other licensed facilities where patients can receive the necessary care.
Who is on the Desert Care Hospice Team
The Desert Care Hospice team is composed of the highly-experienced and well-trained professionals to make sure that we deliver excellent hospice care and support services for the patients and their families.
Here is our team at your service:
Physicians – Our physicians specialize in pain and symptom management who collaborate with our hospice team to oversee the plan of care.
Nurses – Our nurses provide hands-on care and are experienced in pain management.
Hospice Aides – Our certified hospice aides are specially trained and available to assist patients with personal care and daily living activities.
Dieticians – Our dietician can diagnose and treat nutritional problems. They can alter a patient’s nutrition based on their medical condition and individual needs.
Social Workers – We have skilled social workers who provide emotional support for the patients and their families. They can also assist with the utilization of community resources, insurance and facility issues, financial matters, and funeral arrangements.
Chaplains/Bereavement Counselors – Our spiritual care counselors provide non-denominational faith and bereavement support to patients and their families.
Volunteers – We have volunteers who are specially trained to provide friendly visits for companionship and relief care.
Who pays for hospice care?
Desert Care Hospice care is covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. For qualified beneficiaries, all hospice services related to the hospice diagnosis is fully covered.
These are just some of the information that you might need when considering hospice care. If you require more information about hospice care and Desert Care Hospice’ services, don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to answer all your inquiries.