There is nothing else we can do for you….
You are sitting in the cold doctor’s office in a paper gown on an exam table waiting to find out the results of your most recent tests. The doctor comes in and tells you that dreadful comment…there is nothing else we can do for you. WHAT, how can there be nothing more that can be done??? How can our advance society not have anything other options? A new treatment, experiment or medicine. Then the doctor says the word HOSPICE.
Hospice Care is the something else. Allowing you to spend the rest of your life at home with your loved ones, providing quality of life versus quantity.
You have never heard of hospice. You have heard that all hospice does is come in and kill you or your loved one. Well, I am here to tell you that Hospice Care is so much more, we will all get the opportunity to die (this is a given upon birth) but with Hospice Care you get to be in charge and have a peaceful death with symptom control.
Where is Hospice Performed?
Hospice Care is performed in your home where ever that might be: home, nursing home, assisted living, RV or beach house. Hospice facilities are for people with uncontrolled symptoms (there is usually with 2 weeks or less of life). Most hospice is done in the home so that you can stay in your comfort zone surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. Hospice is not just a nurse but a whole team that teaches and supports your family so that everyone is understanding, comfortable and prepared.
The hospice team is you and your family, your doctor, a nurse, a home health aide, a social worker, a chaplain, and volunteers. In order to honor your wishes, a Plan of Care (which dictates how you are cared for) is created with you and the hospice team. This team meets about every 2 weeks to review your medical status, medications, symptoms and family aspects to make sure you are getting the best care possible.
How is Hospice Paid?
Medicare and some insurance policies pay for hospice. A doctor must determine that you have 6 months or less to live if your qualifying disease progresses as to be expected. This does not mean you will die in 6 months because of each disease effects everyone differently. Improving health can constitute a discharge.
How do I qualify for Hospice?
Just because you are sick long term, old or dying does not mean you qualify for Hospice Care. There are only certain disease that qualifies for hospice care:
- Cancer (not taking treatment of any kind)
- Heart Failure
- Liver Disease
- Stroke or CVA
- Renal Failure (not taking dialysis)
- Dementia (Alzheimer’s)
- End-stage respiratory disease
You get to choose which company you wish to use. Every hospice company must follow the same rules and regulations when providing care. I would suggest interviewing several companies and going with the one you love to feel more comfortable during the interview process.
What does Hospice provide?
Throughout your Hospice experience, you will have the support and knowledge of your team. Your hospice team will guide you as your disease progresses with the normal signs and symptoms you will encounter. They will help you with symptom control such as: pain, nausea, anxiety, anticipatory grief and personal care.
Hospice will provide medications for comfort and medical equipment you might need such as: hospital bed, oxygen, wheelchair and more.
What happens when I die?
At your time of death, your loved one will call hospice. The hospice nurse will come and pronounce (marking the official time of death). Once your family is ready the nurse will call the funeral home. The funeral home will then pick up your body and proceed with your planned funeral arrangements.
Hospice will follow up with your loved one for 12 months under the bereavement program. The bereavement program is to help your loved one go through the normal stages of grief. The care is tailored to each person this can include phone calls, mailings, grief meetings or personal visits.
Hospice is a wonderful program that allows you and your family to be in control of your death.
Please share your experience with hospice (good or bad) as I would like to make this a more known benefit.