When Considering Hospice
Your Doctor: As a Hospice patient, you can keep your regular doctor and can visit him/her as you wish. All of the Hospice Team orders come from your doctor, including all medications and treatments. The Hospice Team regularly reports to your doctor on how you are doing and what your needs are.
Your Medications: As a Hospice patient, you can continue to take any medications that your doctor has ordered. Hospice will pay for only those medications that are directly related to your terminal illness and that are for comfort. The medications Hospice pays for will be from the pharmacy in your area that Hospice contracts with. The rest of your medications you can purchase from the pharmacy of your choice.
Your Activities: As a Hospice patient, you can be as active and go places as you wish. There are no restrictions on activity. You do not have to be homebound. You can continue to work, exercise, travel, go to school, etc.
Labs/X-rays/other tests: As a Hospice patient, the focus of your care is comfort rather than cure. Labs and other tests are not done as a check up but only when needed to control pain or other symptoms or to monitor some medications. Your insurance may not cover these tests if you are on Hospice. If you have questions about specific tests, talk this over with a Hospice Nurse to find out if it is paid for by Hospice or by your insurance.
Hospice Charges: Medicare and Medicaid and many private insurances pay for Hospice. No one is denied Hospice care due to insurance coverage or inability to pay.
Hospice Care is Provided: In your home, nursing home, or assisted living facility.
- Visits by professionally trained nurses, social workers, chaplain, home health aides, and other professionals as needed and as desired by the patient and/or caregivers. The nurses are on call 24 hours a day for after hours questions or needs.
- Trained volunteers to give breaks to the caregiver for short periods, run errands, and many other things. Volunteers are NOT allowed to provide hands-on care.
- Hospice pays for medications and medical equipment and supplies related to the terminal illness.
- Meadowlark Hospice provides Bereavement Care to the family or caregivers for 12 months.
The Hospice Team, with direction from your doctor, and the Hospice Medical Director, focuses on managing pain and other symptoms, and offering psychosocial and spiritual support to you and your family to help you live as comfortably as possible. Hospice cares for people of all ages and all diseases, not just cancer.
There continue to be many myths about the compassionate care provided by hospice.
Myth: Hospice is where you go when there is nothing more a doctor can do.
Reality: Hospice is a service, which is comprehensive in all aspects of caring for someone who is living with a life-limiting illness. It’s important to emphasize the quality of life rather than the length of life, so that their final days may be spent with dignity and a degree of independence.
Myth: Quality care at the end of life is very expensive.
Reality: Medicare has a Hospice benefit, which does not cost the patient anything. Medicaid is also accepted. Most private insurances have some type of hospice benefit.
Myth: If I choose hospice care, I have to leave my home.
Reality: Hospice care is provided wherever the patient may be: in their home or home-like setting, including nursing facilities and assisted living.
Myth: Families are not able to care for people with life-limiting illnesses.
Reality: Family members are encouraged, supported and trained by hospice professionals to care for their loved ones.
Myth: Hospice care is only for cancer or AIDS patients.
Reality: The top five diagnoses seen in hospice care for 2006 were: Cancer 44.1%, Heart Disease 12.2%, Debility 11.8%, Dementia 10% and Lung Disease 7.7%.
Myth: Hospice is just for the elderly.
Reality: Hospice is for anyone facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of age.
Myth: After the patient’s death, hospice care ends. Reality: Bereavement services and grief support are available to the caregivers or family members for 12-18 months following the patient’s death.
The Gift of Time
Many people are afraid of death and all that it encompasses; talking about it, grieving for the anticipated loss, preparing for it or making funeral arrangements. When a physician tells you or your loved one that treatment is no longer an option or that you or your loved one has a life-limiting illness, something good can come of this.
You have been given a gift- the gift of time!
How we choose to use that time is very important. Do and say what you want to do and say every day.
If you do not want to go to a meeting one afternoon but would prefer to stay home and rest or spend time with family that is OK.
Conserve your energy for priorities.
Decide what is important for you to do and rest prior to and after if necessary.
Relationships with others are one of the most important things in life. If you need to resolve any misunderstandings, it is never too late to start. Ask for help when you need it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength- the strength of knowing what you need and knowing how to get it.
Individuals who have a life-limiting illness, often have a lot of living left to do. It is healthy to continue to focus on living.
Meadowlark Hospice focuses on living, and our goal is for individuals to have the best quality of life possible. Hospice is a service that deals with pain and symptom management, end of life situations, and emotional and spiritual stresses that may arise. When the understanding is reached that everyone dies, hopefully, we can accept our gift of time. Focus each day on what has real significance in your life for you.