THE DOCTOR RECOMMENDED HOSPICE FOR ME OR MY LOVED ONE…
When a doctor recommends hospice for you or someone you love, you may have many questions. A doctor may recommend hospice when a patient has shown significant signs of decline, when the decision has been made to stop aggressive treatments or when they are no longer available. This is when the doctor feels that you or your loved one could benefit from the extra support and care, provided by hospice, to maximize the quality of life and to make each and every day the best it possibly can be.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HOSPICE?
Hospice is a specialized type of care for those facing a life limiting illness, those no longer pursuing aggressive or experimental treatment, and those no longer benefiting from such treatments. Instead the primary focus is on maximizing comfort and quality of life. Hospice care is free to all individuals who are in need. There are never any out-of-pocket expenses for any service that we provide. Hospice Care is a Medicare benefit that is also covered by Medicaid and other commercial insurances. Under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, all medications related to the illness, as well as medical equipment (examples of: oxygen, hospital bed, specialty mattress, and wheelchair) are covered. Supplies such as disposable pads, briefs, and any other healthcare need are also covered. And of course, all services (nursing, nursing aides, etc.) are covered. Our team of the industry’s top clinicians’ goal is to maximize quality of life and to provide a special way of caring for people with a life limiting illness and for their loved ones.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL WEEK WITH HOSPICE SERVICES LIKE?
Our hospice care plans are tailored individually to each person and their family. In a typical week, you can expect a visit from your primary nurse one to three times per week, additional visits can be added as needs arise. Your nurse will always let you know the approximate time of each visit. If you or your loved one are in need of assistance with bathing, linen changes, and personal hygiene care that service will be provided two or more times per week. Our social work team will contact you to schedule a visit to provide guidance and to assist you or your family with emotional support, healthcare decisions, advance directives, legal matters and access to community resources. You can also expect a call from our chaplain who is available to you and your family in many different ways such as listener, advisor and a friend. Our Chaplain is here to provide spiritual and emotional support regardless of your denomination. As an additional layer of support that we provide is volunteer services. The volunteer coordinator will reach out to ensure that you or your loved one is safe if you or the caregiver needs to run errands, go to doctor’s appointment or just to have some rest and relaxation for a few hours. Our volunteers are available and there to support you two to three hours once or twice a week, we just ask to try to plan ahead so that we are able to make arrangements and honor your request.
HOW DOES HOSPICE AFFECT THE RELATIONSHIP WITH MY PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR?
Your existing doctor continues to play an important role in care you or your loved one’s care management. We provide regular communication and your physician will continue to prescribe medications and will be responsible for any changes in the plan of care. As an added layer of support, our medical directors work seamlessly to provide guidance and direction in times of need. DOES HOSPICE MEAN THAT I CAN NEVER RETURN TO THE HOSPITAL? Our hospice care plans are designed to help you stay comfortable in the comfort of your home by bringing the care and services to you rather than feeling the necessity of going to the hospital in the event of an emergency. Our team of clinicians are there to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, there are rare times when your comfort may require hospitalization. If this need would arise, with you or your loved one’s permission your doctor and our clinical team will make arrangements for your transfer to the hospital. It is always important to remember to call the 24/7 OnCall Hospice number in all situations rather than calling 911.
MYSELF OR MY LOVED ONE ARE IN A NURSING HOME, IS HOSPICE ABLE TO PROVIDE CARE?
The answer is yes. Research finds that there is great value and benefits along with physical and emotional benefits for patients enrolled in hospice while residing in a nursing home. Studies have shown that nursing home residents enrolled in hospice received better symptom and pain management, are less likely to be hospitalized and experienced improved quality of life.
WHO PAYS FOR ROOM AND BOARD WHEN YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE IS ON HOSPICE IN A SKILLED NURSING HOME?
If you or your loved one’s room and board is being paid for by Medicaid prior to the hospice referral, Medicaid will continue to pay for room and board. If room and board is being paid privately, you or your loved one will continue to be responsible to pay for room and board. There are cases where you or your loved one may be eligible to use the short-term level of care benefit through hospice called General Inpatient Care and under this benefit, hospice pays for room and board. To qualify for short-term General Inpatient Care through the hospice benefit of your insurance, symptoms and pain management must be at a level to where they are no longer able to be managed either in the home or in a nursing facility under routine hospice care. Once our hospice team has symptoms and pain management under control, the patient is able to return home or has the option of paying privately for the continuation of their stay at the skilled nursing home.
WHAT IS DON’T STOP DREAMIN’?
Don’t Stop Dreamin’ is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides for the fulfillment of DREAMS of Three Rivers Hospice & Quality Life Services entities. Don’t Stop Dreamin’ recognizes that many individuals have unfulfilled DREAMS and desires. One of Don’t Stop Dreamin’s mission is to maximize quality of life and provide a special way of caring for people with a life limiting illness by fulfilling their DREAMS.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT HOSPICE?
It is important for you to know: If at any point that you or your loved one decide to pursue aggressive treatment for your illness, or if you decide that hospice care is something you would like to pursue, you may elect to come off our hospice services at any time through the process of revocation. You may always elect to resume hospice care at a later date if you desire.
ABOUT THREE RIVER’S HOSPICE:
Three Rivers Hospice, a new division of Quality Life Services, has been serving patients in homes, nursing facilities, assisted and independent living facilities, and hospitals across Western Pennsylvania since 1982. We pride ourselves on being Better, Different, and Innovative. With over 35 years of Hospice Care experience, our team of the industry’s top clinicians’ goal is to maximize quality of life and provide a special way of caring for people with a life limiting illness and for their loved ones. Hospice care is free to all individuals who are in need. There are never any out-of-pocket expenses for any service that we provide. Hospice Care is a Medicare benefit that is also covered by Medicaid and other commercial insurances. It is never too late or too soon to call – Inquiries are welcome from anyone at any time. Our dedicated staff is always available to answer any questions about hospice benefits as well as eligibility for you or your loved one.