WHAT IS HOSPICE?
A special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life limiting illness no longer responds to cure oriented treatments. Hospice care neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers offer specialized knowledge of medical care, including pain management. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's last days by offering comfort and dignity. Care is provided by a team of specially trained professionals, volunteers and family members. Hospice deals with the physical, emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient’s family and friends. Hospice offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families. Patients and families who choose hospice are the core of the hospice team and are at the center of all decision making.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR HOSPICE?
A person whose physician certifies the natural course of their illness and with no treatment toward cure will likely have a life expectancy of 6 months or less.
HOW IS HOSPICE PAID FOR?
Most health insurance plans, including Medicare Part A, Medicare HMO, Medicaid, Medicaid HMO/PPO's, senior health plans and private insurances, offer some level of hospice care benefit.
H.O.M.E. bills the patient's insurance carrier directly for hospice services.
ARE THERE OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES?
The cost of hospice care is virtually non existent. Some hospices may charge co-pays but Hospice of Metropolitan Erie has a policy to not charge patients.
WHAT KINDS OF INSURANCE DO YOU ACCEPT?
We will participate with an insurance company willing to sign a contract with us; however, if no contract is signed, we never turn a patient away from our services.
WHEN DOES HOSPICE CARE BEGIN?
Hospice care begins as soon as a formal request or a 'referral' is made, usually meaning a relative or spouse of the patient will set up an appointment. Within 48 hours of the referral, pending the physician's approval, a hospice representative from our team will visit the patient. The visit must meet the needs and schedule of the patient and family/primary caregiver.
In urgent situations, hospice services may begin sooner.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM HOSPICE SERVICES?
Hospice services include visits by our hospice team, medications related to the hospice diagnosis (i.e. symptom control and pain relief), medical equipment, medical supplies, respite care, inpatient care, continuous/crisis care, bereavement services, and physical, speech and occupational therapy.
WHAT IS RESPITE CARE?
Respite care is giving the primary caregiver a short break whether it's for a few hours a week or a few weeks a year. Respite care reduces stress, restores energy and maintains balance in the primary caregiver's life.
WHAT IS PALLIATIVE CARE?
Please understand the difference between hospice care and palliative. Both are comfort care; however, palliative care focuses on managing the physical and emotional impact of serious illness.
It is important to know that you DO NOT have to forgo curative treatment or have a terminal diagnosis to receive palliative care; however, with hospice care the patient must forgo any and all curative treatments.
WHAT DO I LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING HOSPICE?
Choosing a hospice provider is very important because different patients have different needs, therefore, always ask questions, such as, is the hospice licensed, what types of services are provided, what kind of support is available, what role do the physicians and hospice play, what does the hospice volunteer do, how does hospice keep the patient comfortable, how are service hours provided, how and where does hospice provide short term inpatient care, and can hospice provide in a nursing home or long term care facility?
IS HOSPICE A PLACE?
Hospice is NOT a place. Hospice care services can be provided to an individual with limited life expectancy wherever they live whether it be at home, a nursing facility, long-term care facility, family member's residence, and/or prisons.