Does hospice mean "giving up"?
Not at all. Hospice is a different kind of "hope". It is hope that tomorrow will be better than today by providing peace, comfort and dignity. No one knows with certainty how much time one has but statistics show that the average hospice patient lives 26 days longer than patients that do not receive hospice support. Stress, worry and pain are heavy burdens to bear; hospice care helps lessen that burden.
When is Hospice care appropriate?
Hospice care is appropriate when the primary goal of care becomes comfort and relief of symptoms rather than a cure for terminal illness. Patients are admitted based on guidelines provided by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. If a patient's diagnosis meets the guidelines, the professional opinion is that if the illness follows the normal pattern the patient's life expectancy is 6 months or less. The greatest benefits are gained by being in hospice care more than just a few days or weeks. But, statistically most patients are referred much later and on average receive care for a shorter period of time. The most common comment we receive from families is "we wish we'd had hospice earlier."
What specific services does Hospice of the Valley provide?
Hospice of the Valley patients are cared for by a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains, therapists, and volunteers. Each provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, Hospice of the Valley provides medications, supplies, equipment, and hospital services related to the admission diagnosis.
Does a patient have to live at home to receive Hospice care?
No. In addition to the patient's home, Hospice care can be provided in a nursing home, an assisted living facility or the hospital when necessary.
If the patient wants to be at home, how can the family care for them?
There are many needs that are things the family members can easily do. For other things, our staff provides visits several times a week, more if needed, to provide care and education. The staff help the family become more confident in providing for patient's needs, give medications, and recognize problems. Staff is available 24 hours a day to help answer questions or visit to evaluate changes in the patient's condition. One of the frequent comments we receive from families is that they appreciated the information as much as the care, families comment, "they answered questions I didn't know I had or didn't know how to ask, and showed me what I could do to help."
Can the patient's physician continue to be involved?
Yes. Hospice of the Valley does not take the place of a patient's primary physician. Our team works closely with each patient, their physician, and their family to determine what level of care is needed. However, our nurse practitioner and medical director can provide oversight if requested.
How is Hospice paid for?
Most private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid pay hospice benefits. However, Hospice of the Valley accepts patients based on need, not their ability to pay.
Is Hospice care only for elderly patients?
No. Hospice of the Valley provides quality end-of-life care to people of all ages. Our patients range from newborns to children to the elderly.
Is Hospice care only for cancer patients?
No. Hospice care is available for anyone diagnosed by his or her physician with a life-limiting illness. This could include such diseases as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Stroke, Kidney Failure, Leukemia, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's and others.
What kind of volunteer services are available?
There are over 150 volunteers that work with Hospice of the Valley to provide day-to-day needs as simple as visiting with a patient or delivering a balloon bouquet. Our volunteers provide much-needed relief for busy caregivers by offering to run errands, reading to a patient, creating life review DVDs, and in many other ways. Some patients may also receive music, pet, or therapy.
When are services available?
Hospice of the Valley offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, nursing services are available 24 hours a day/7days a week.
Can a Hospice patient return to regular medical treatment if they improve?
Yes. If the patient's condition improves, or their disease goes into remission, they may choose to discontinue hospice care. If the patient should later need to return, they may do so at any time.