Hospice Care: A Promise of Comfort
Centuries ago, hospice meant a place of shelter for those on a long journey. Hospice now refers to a philosophy of care provided for patients with a life-limiting illness. At Supportive Care of Orleans, our goal is to help patients realize that the pathway to the end of their life can include hope, family, friends, and laughter.
Making the Decision to Enter Hospice
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law, the decision to enter hospice belongs to the patient.
Entering hospice is very simple. All you need is a physician’s signature, and you or your loved one can be admitted the same day. The patient will then be asked to sign consent and appropriate admissions paperwork.
For a patient to enter Orleans' Supportive Care hospice services, they need:
• A desire for palliative rather than curative care
• A limited life expectancy
• A physician's approval
• To be residing in Orleans County, New York.
What does Hospice care look like?
Supportive Care of Orleans provides Hospice care to patients wherever they are, whether that is a private home, nursing home, assisted living, or hospital inpatient setting. Our patients always come first, and our staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hospice patients are cared for by a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, hospice certified nursing assistants, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Hospice provides medications, supplies, equipment, and hospital services related to the terminal illness and additional helpers in the home, if and when needed.
How much does Hospice care cost?
Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medicaid in New York State, and by most private insurance providers. To be sure of coverage, families should check with their employer or health insurance provider. Supportive Care of Orleans currently does not require a copayment.
Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
Certainly! If the patient’s condition improves, and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on with their daily life. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance will allow additional coverage for this purpose.
What is hospice’s success rate in pain management?
Very high. Using various combinations of medications, counseling, and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.
Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy, or friends.