Before we begin to explain the hospice concept and the philosophies that guide it, we just want to say that we understand how difficult of a decision it can be to utilize a hospice service for a family member or loved one, and possibly even to finish reading this article. However, please understand that hospice care is not about dying, but rather the quality of living before we die, not only for the hospice patient but sometimes more importantly for the extended family and friends that are almost always involved. Our concept of care recognizes that the entire family is affected by one person’s illness. This is why Paramount Hospice attends to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of both hospice patient, and the patients’ family.
How do we do this?
From the moment that you select Paramount Hospice, your loved one is surrounded by a team of professionals that are dedicated to the very finest in hospice care. This team, made up of physicians, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, licensed therapists, social workers, spiritual counselors, and trained volunteers, offer their on- call services around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We focus on providing our patients with the maximum level of comfort available, by allowing patients to live each day to its fullest surrounded by the comforts of home, family and friends. Hospice care, is a family centered care, and involves the patient as well as the patients’ family in making decisions.
This hospice care, is a service that can be given in a patients’ home, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, etc. The earlier a patient is referred, the more we can do to help. Sadly, many people believe that hospice care is unavailable or inappropriate until literally, the last days of a person’s life. A great deal can be done, however, many months earlier, to improve quality of life. With an earlier referral, the patient enjoys better quality of life, resulting in more presence of mind with which to consider difficult choices and making wishes known to loved ones. This relieves the family from having to struggle with difficult decisions on their own.
Hospice affirms life and does not hasten or postpone death. Hospice care treats the person rather than the disease; it focuses on quality rather than length of time. However, an admission to hospice does not mean that a patient will have a certain amount of time to live. If a patient makes a recovery from an illness, he/she can be removed from the hospice service and continue if need be, at a later time.
Who is eligible to receive this hospice care?
- Patients referred to hospice when life expectancy is approximately six months benefit most from hospice care. While patients must have a doctor's referral to enter hospice, the patient, family and friends can initiate the process by contacting a local hospice program.
- Patients can receive hospice care for 2 periods of 90 days and an unlimited number of 60 day periods. The hospice medical director must recertify the patient to receive hospice care for each subsequent period.
- If a patient's life expectancy exceeds the six month period(s), hospice care can still be provided as long as he or she is recertified as having a terminal illness.
- Before providing care, hospice staff meets with the patient's personal physician(s) and a hospice physician to discuss patient history, current physical symptoms and life expectancy.
- After an initial meeting with physicians, hospice staff meets with both the patient and their family. They discuss the hospice philosophy, available services and expectations.
- The patient or the patient's legal guardian must sign a statement stating that he or she elects the hospice benefit and waive all rights to Medicare payments for services for the terminal illness and related conditions. The patient will continue to receive Medicare benefits that are not related to their terminal illness.
- Prior to service, staff and patients also discuss pain and comfort levels, support systems, financial and insurance resources, medications and equipment needs.
- A "plan of care" is developed for the patient. This plan is regularly reviewed and revised according to the patient's condition.
- Bereavement services and counseling are available to loved ones for a year after the patient's death.
What expenses are covered by the hospice benefit?
Hospice Care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. Here are some of the services covered by Medicare.
- Durable Medical Equipment such as: Hospital Beds, Wheelchairs, Walkers, Bedside Commode, etc
- All Medications Relating to the Hospice Diagnosis
- Physician Visits
- Skilled Nursing Visits and Home Health Aide Visits
- Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapies as needed
- Short -Term Inpatient Respite Care
- Spiritual Counseling and Bereavement Counseling
- Social Service Visits
It would be impossible for us to sum up in two pages, all of the wonderful benefits as well as the comfort and relief that are derived from this hospice service. As I mentioned in the beginning, we understand how difficult and emotional of a time this can be on families, a true test of faith and courage. Paramount Hospice is the very best in what we do, not only because of our tried and true medical model, or our commitment to excellence, or our outstanding track record, but because some of us have been through some of the very same experiences, had to make similar decisions that you have had to make, and coped through the same eventualities. To do this alone is a heavy burden on the heart and mind. Please allow Paramount Hospice the honor, to get to know your loved one. We want to do all that we can to comfort both patient and family in this time of need, and to provide the absolute finest in Hospice Care.