Hospice is designed to help ease the fears of families with a loved one facing a life-threatening illness.
The focus of hospice is on comfort, not curing, and in most cases, care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care can also be provided in freestanding hospice care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness.
Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff members are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of the following:
- The patient receiving the care
- The patient’s family/caregiver
- The patient’s hospice physician and attending physician
- Nurse Case Manager
- State Tested Nursing Aides
- Social worker
- Counselors and Spiritual Caregivers
- Trained volunteers
- Other professionals, such as speech, physical and occupational therapists, as needed
There are a number of factors you may want to ask about when deciding on a hospice program:
Find out if the agency is accredited and licensed. A nationally recognized group, such as the Joint Commission, is an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits health care organizations and programs.
Is the hospice program certified by Medicare? Medicare-certified programs are required to meet at least minimum requirements for patient care and management.
If your state requires it, is the program licensed? You can check with your state’s health department to find out.
Does the agency have written statements outlining services, eligibility rules, cost and payment procedures, employee job descriptions, and malpractice and liability insurance?
How many years has the agency been serving your community? Can the agency provide references from professionals – such as a hospital or community social workers – who have used this agency? Agencies should have no problem providing these.
Does the agency create a care plan for each new patient? Is the plan carefully and professionally developed with input from you and your family? Is the care plan written out and given to everyone involved? Check to see if it lists specific duties, work hours/days, and the name and number of the person in charge of your care. Will the care plan be updated as your needs change?
How quickly can the hospice start services? Does the hospice offer specialized services such as rehabilitation therapist, pharmacists, dietitians, or family counselors when these could improve your comfort? If needed, does the hospice provide medical equipment or other items that might improve your quality of life?
The staff at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare are available to answers all your questions about services and staff involved in the care of you and your loved ones. Call Kenya George at 614-451-6700 today to learn about hospice services offered at Hospices Services at Methodist ElderCare.