Hospice is a way to care for people who are terminally ill by focusing on pain relief and symptom management, as well as emotional and spiritual end-of-life needs, instead of trying to cure the disease. Serenity is here to provide compassionate care for your loved one while improving their quality of life.
Hospice patients receive services from an interdisciplinary team, meaning members come from different disciplines or fields. This may include a physician, registered nurse, hospice aide, social worker, chaplain, bereavement services manager, volunteer, and other healthcare professionals.
No. When treatment options for a disease have been exhausted or no longer work, hospice provides a way for people to live in comfort and peace without curative care. Accepting the services of Serenity Hospice Care does not mean you or your family is giving up hope. Our compassionate staff help give you hope while providing quality care allowing you or your loved one to live out those final months and days making memories together in the comfort of your own home.
Hospice is a benefit covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and also by most individual insurers. Hospice pays for medications, medical equipment, and supplies that are related to the life-threatening disease.
When the burden of treatment outweighs the benefits and/or the patient has had multiple hospitalizations over the last several months, he or she might be ready for hospice. Hospice services can begin when a doctor decides the patient’s life expectancy is six months or less. Other indications include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Frequent infections
- Oxygen dependence
- Repeat trips to the emergency department
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden or progressive decline in physical functioning and eating
- Unrelieved pain
- Weight loss
Hospice care is end-of-life care for all people, not just those with cancer. In fact, most of our patients are non-cancer diagnoses. They may have Alzheimer’s, heart failure, kidney disease, lung disease, Parkinson’s, or any other life-limiting disease.
Hospice nurses and other team members provide care during their visits, and they will teach you what you need to know to provide care at home.
Hospice care is provided by a team. Each patient has a nurse case manager. You can decide if you would also like a hospice aide to give personal care, a spiritual care counselor to talk to, a social worker to assist with arranging practical and financial matters as well as offering emotional and psycho-social support, or a volunteer to keep the patient company, run errands, light housekeeping, and other various duties.
Yes. Your primary care doctor remains your doctor under hospice care. Serenity works with your physician to facilitate comfort and direction about your care.
Hospice offers many services home health care does not, such as prescriptions, medical equipment, visits from an interdisciplinary healthcare staff, and 24/7 availability. Typically, the goal of home healthcare is to help the patient become more independent, and visits decrease in frequency as the patient’s condition improves. The goal of hospice is to keep the patient comfortable as symptoms increase.
No. Hospice will pay for your medications that are related to the terminal diagnosis. If there are medications that hospice does not cover, you can continue to get them and take them as you always have.
Hospice usually treats pain aggressively. We know that pain interferes with eating, sleeping, visiting, and general quality of life. Uncontrolled pain can also shorten life. The patient and family are always in control of their care and can decide how they want to treat pain.
Not usually. Some diseases cause the patient to be less alert. If pain is severe, pain medicine may make a patient sleepier than usual for two or three days, then they will be as alert as the disease lets them be.
Hospice does not do treatments to shorten or lengthen life. Hospice tries to improve the quality of life. Research shows that with the extra care from hospice people who go on hospice usually live longer than those who do not.
Nursing homes focus on routine daily care and rehabilitation. Residents who receive hospice services get additional customized support determined by their plan of care, which focuses on the physical, emotional, and spiritual end-of-life needs of patients and their families.
If you feel you can’t care for the patient at home, the hospice social worker can help you find a skilled nursing facility or residential care facility.
Yes, you can always go to the hospital. We ask that you call hospice first. We may be able to manage your crisis at home. If not, they can arrange transportation to the hospital. There are times that the hospice may ask the patient to go to the hospital for a short stay if there is a problem that can be managed better there.
You do. Your doctor authorizes care, but you decide if you want the care or not. Sometimes the doctor calls hospice and asks us to contact you about hospice. Some families call hospice and have us call the doctor to ask for authorization. Serenity will send someone to make an informational visit so you can learn more about how you can benefit from hospice.
Hospice must periodically recertify that the patient has a prognosis of six months or less. If at each of these dates it appears that the patient has six months or less to live, then the patient can stay on hospice. If the course of the disease is slow, some people may have hospice care longer than six months.
Yes, any patient can go off hospice at any time. You can also come back on hospice if circumstances change.
A large part of hospice care is bereavement support for families and friends for at least 13 months after your loved ones passing. Serenity provides visits, phone calls, newsletters, workshops, counseling, support groups, and remembrance events for families after a death.