Sustaining quality of life

The Hospice program includes medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support for terminally ill patients and their families and loved ones. Caregivers work with families to develop and implement a care plan and foster an atmosphere of dignity and peace as patients live out their final days with their loved ones at home. There are no age restrictions or diagnosis limitations.

Hospice helps preserve patients’ dignity, shows them the respect they richly deserve, and provides compassionate care. Caregivers help manage pain and symptoms, enabling patients to live their lives as fully and comfortably as possible. Social workers and spiritual counselors create a comforting environment in which patients and families can share their thoughts, hopes, and concerns. Special bereavement
programs provide emotional support to patients and families who need help coping.

The goal of Hospice care is to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life. Hospice care is appropriate when there is a life expectancy of six months or less. When curative treatments are no longer working and/or a patient no longer desires to continue them, Hospice becomes the care of choice. Traditional palliative care is also available through CRMC and can be given at any time during an illness.

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When to Contact Hospice

A patient is ready for hospice when they have decided to pursue treatments meant only to promote comfort, not cure the illness. Those treatments may include medications to relieve pain, nausea, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, itching, hiccups, and many more.

Hospice will assess patient needs, recommend any equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain any necessary equipment. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses. In general, hospice will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient and safe as possible.

In the early weeks of care, it’s usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends do deliver most of the care, we have volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for primary caregivers.

Services Provided

Services provided by hospice are the same whether care is covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Coverage by insurance companies may vary. Typical hospice services include:

  • Nursing services - A patient is assigned a case manager nurse. Hospice nurses will visit depending on patient needs; typically, visits are one to three days a week. Patients and their caregivers also have access to 24-hour on-call nurses.
  • Physician participation - Patients are often cared for by their regular physician in cooperation with a hospice medical director.
  • Medical social services - Patients are assigned a social worker to assist them with emotional and social needs.
  • Counseling Services - Pastoral or spiritual support, and bereavement counseling for family and caregivers are provided up to one year after the patient’s death.
  • Home health aide services - Aides help patients with their personal care.
  • Medications – Hospice through Medicare and Medicaid covers most medications that are related to the hospice diagnosis and those that are intended to alleviate symptoms.
  • Medical equipment - Equipment that is necessary for providing safe, comfortable care in the patient’s home environment is supplied by hospice. This may include a hospital bed, wheelchair, and oxygen.
  • Laboratory and other diagnostic studies that are related to the terminal illness
  • Therapists as appropriate, which may include:
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy

For more information call 218-546-2311,
toll free at 833-731-1205.

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