Hospice Has No Age Requirement

Too many people think that “hospice” services are only for people with cancer or only for older adults.  Hospice services deal with a wide array of conditions and situations dealing with end-of-life issues, all geared towards maintaining the best quality of life while providing the best quality of care.

Hospice care in Columbus, Ohio is available regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religious belief, diagnosis or disability.  Hospice at Methodist ElderCare in Columbus does require that those seeking hospice care services with them be at least 18 years or older.  They can refer you to hospice professionals if you need services for someone needing hospice care who is less than 18 years of age.

Let’s clear up some misunderstandings you may have about hospice:

  • Hospice is not just for the last few days or the last two weeks. Hospice is designed to care for the patient and family during the last months of life.  Hospice is not a “crisis” service.  Patients and families should ask their doctor whether curative treatment will work, and what burden it will place on the patient.  An early hospice admission helps the patient and family get full benefit of hospice services, including emotional support and family services.
  • You may continue to see your own doctors, whether for your terminal illness or other illnesses.
  • Hospice is not just for the elderly or just for Medicare patients. Hospice serves adults of all ages.
  • Hospice does not conflict with the beliefs of any major religion. All faiths recognize the value of spiritual support, pain relief, symptom management and counseling during the final phase of life.
  • You need not be homebound to receive hospice care. Many patients are out-and-about at times, and some make trips while under hospice care.
  • You may leave hospice care at any time. If you would like to return to curative treatment, discuss it with your hospice team. You will be eligible to re-enter hospice at any time without penalty.

To have all your questions and concerns answered about hospice care and who qualifies for services, call Kenya George at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare today at 614-705-0892 or email her at kgeorge@mecsrc.com.  Don’t allow unanswered questions to keep you or a loved one from services that are available through hospice that could help your quality of life.


Hospice is Not a Place. It is High Quality Care.

When you hear the word hospice, what is your first thought? Before my family needed the services hospice offers, I thought it was a service offered in a hospital setting. It was recommended for my mother, and we were given the option to keep her at home, which made her feel more comfortable being in her own surroundings.

Many people have the wrong idea about hospice care. Hospice helps people with a life-limiting illness focus on living as fully as possible for as long as possible.

The hospice philosophy focuses on providing comfort and compassionate care not only to the patient, but also their loved ones by meeting their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice is not a place; it is a service and a philosophy of care recognizing death as the final stage of life.

Here are some hospice myths and realities that may help if you or a loved one is trying to decide whether hospice is the best option for you.

Myth: Hospice means that the patient will soon die.

Reality: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize a patient’s medical condition and address other needs.

Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.

Reality: A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, chronic lung disease, or other conditions.

Myth: Patients can only receive hospice care for a limited amount of time.

Reality: The Medicare benefit, Medicaid and most private insurances, pay for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meet the necessary criteria. Patients may come off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed.

Myth: Hospice provides 24-hour care.

Reality: The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors) visits patients intermittently, and is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week for support and care.

Myth: All hospice programs are the same.

Reality: All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs may differ. In addition, hospice programs and operating styles may vary from state to state depending on state laws and regulations. Like other medical care providers, business models differ. Some programs are not-for-profit and some hospices are for-profit.

Myth: Hospice is just for the patient.

Reality: Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity, and emotional support. The quality of life for the patient, and also family members and others, who are caregivers, is the highest priority.

Research has shown people receiving hospice care can live longer than similar patients who do not opt for hospice. If this information about hospice surprises you, take the time to find out more by calling one of our hospice specialists at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare at 614-705-0840.


Choosing a Quality Hospice for You or Your Loved Ones

Depending on where you live there could be one or several hospice organizations serving your community. If there are multiple hospices in your area, you can decide which hospice you want to care for you or your loved one and let your physician know which one you prefer.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed some questions to help you identify factors that may be important to you and your family when selecting a hospice.

Questions & Notes

Is the Hospice Medicare Certified?

Most hospices are certified by Medicare and are therefore required to follow Medicare rules and regulations. This is
important if wish to receive hospice care as part of your Medicare/Medicaid coverage.

Has the hospice been surveyed by a state or federal oversight agency in the last five years?

Ask when the last survey was and if any deficiencies were noted and if so, have they been resolved.

Is the organization a NHPCO member and does it comply with all aspects of NHPCO’s Standards for Hospice Programs?

Ask if the hospice is a current NHPCO member, if it complies with NHPCO’s Standards and has completed the Standards Self Assessment, and if so, how recently they completed it.

Is the hospice accredited by a national organization?

Several organizations accredit hospices, surveying them to ensure they meet quality standards. Hospices are not required to be accredited but accreditation can be a reflection of its commitment to quality.

Does the hospice conduct a family evaluation survey?

Many hospices ask family members to complete a brief evaluation of their services after the death of a loved one. Ask
for their most recent scores so you can see how previous patients and family members have rated their services.
Does the hospice own or operate a care facility to provide home-like care in a hospice residence, hospital or nursing home?

This may be important to you if the care needed is complex and/or family caregivers cannot care for the person at home. Are clinical staff (physicians, nurses, social workers) certified or credentialed in hospice and palliative care?

There are several credentials that hospice professionals can achieve based on their knowledge of hospice/palliative care and their educational experience.

What services do volunteers offer, and if requested, how quickly will a volunteer be available?

Volunteers can provide a variety of services including friendly visits, light household chores, running errands, personal care, etc. If you want a hospice volunteer, be sure to ask how quickly one can be assigned and how they match volunteers to meet your needs.

Will staff come to the home if there is a crisis at any time of the day or night and on weekends? Who is available to make the home visit (nurses, doctors, social workers, chaplains)?

Hospice staff are available by phone to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, some hospices offer limited inhome support on nights and weekends, while others are able to send staff out to a patient’s home no matter when a crisis arises. Frequently a nurse is the best person to make a visit if it is a medical crisis, however, sometimes the crisis is best handled by a physician, social worker, chaplain or another member of the team. Ask if all members of the team are available in a crisis situation during nights and weekends.

If I need to go to a hospital or nursing home which ones does/doesn’t the hospice work with?

If you have a preferred hospital or know that you may need to go to a nursing home, it’s important to find out which ones the hospice has contracts with so they can continue to provide your hospice services in this different setting.

What “extra” services does the hospice offer?

All hospices provide expert medical care, emotional and spiritual care, medicines, medical supplies and equipment, volunteers and grief support after the death of a loved one. In addition to these services some hospices offer specialized programs for children, people with specific diseases, “pre-hospice” care for
individuals not yet medically-ready for hospice care and other “extra” services that may benefit your family.

How long has the hospice been operating in the community?

Again, length of time in the community may be important to you and your family.

How many patients at any one time are assigned to each hospice staff member who will be caring for the patient?

Some hospices assign a certain number of patients to each staff member and may be willing to share that information with you. That might influence your decision to receive care from a hospice.

What screening and type of training do hospice volunteers receive before they are placed with patients and families?

All volunteers must receive training or orientation on hospice care. Some hospices provide specialized training related to bereavement, pediatric care, nursing home care, etc.

How quickly can the intake/admissions staff come to begin the admissions process? Is someone available at nights or on weekends?

Some hospices are able to begin the admissions process and have someone begin hospice services at night or on weekends. If you are referred to hospice late in the day or on the weekend, a hospice’s ability to start services quickly might be very important.

What is the organization’s governance structure?

Whether or not the organization is a non-profit, for-profit, government, faith-based or part of a larger healthcare organization may be important to you and your family.

Is the hospice a We Honor Veterans Partner?

We Honor Veterans Partners have demonstrated their commitment to improving the care they provide to Veterans
and their family members.