Hospice Care 

Hospice Care

Hospice Care

Hospice FAQs

 

 

What is hospice care and how does it work? Most people have heard the term but don’t know how it work. VNA has compiled a list below, of our most frequently asked questions.

1. WHAT IS HOSPICE CARE?

Hospice care is end-of-life medical and emotional care for patients faced with terminal illnesses and help and support for their caregivers.

2. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN HOSPICE CARE IS RIGHT FOR A LOVED ONE?

  • When a person has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and they no longer want to seek curative measures, they are ready for hospice.

  • The benefit is structured for 6 months, but the national average for a person to be on hospice is 54 days.

3. HOW DOES IT WORK? WHO BENEFITS FROM THE CARE?


 While under hospice care from VNA, a patient receives:

  • A specially trained staff to deal with the symptoms and emotional needs at end of life.

  • Medications and medical equipment.

  • Volunteers, both people and pets, to help with stress and loneliness.

  • Physician guided care and ease of obtaining needed medications.

  • Bereavement care for 13 months following the death of a loved one.

  • RN care available 24 hours per day by phone and by visit if needed.

4. WHAT IS THE COST? WHO PAYS FOR HOSPICE CARE?

Medicare and Medicaid cover 100% of hospice. Private insurances usually cover hospice, but each plan is individual to the company offering the benefit.

 

5. DOES HOSPICE ARE MEAN LOSING CURRENT DOCTOR(S)?

  • No, a patient won’t lose their current primary care physician.

  • Patients are allowed and encouraged to continue to use  their own physician.

  • The patient chooses the doctor that will act as the attending physician in guiding the care. (This may be the primary care physician, an oncologist, a specialist or the hospice medical director.)

  • A patient does not lose their Medicare Advantage Plan benefits (like an HMO or PPO) or other Medicare health plans.

 

6. ARE CHANGES MADE TO MEDICATION IN HOSPICE CARE?

  • No, a patient’s medications will not be stopped.

  • Hospice nurses never make the decision on their own to stop a patient’s medication.

  • Medication changes are discussed with the patient and family.

  • Hospice only eliminates medication that may not be effective at this point in the disease process.

  • New medications may be added at appropriate time(s).

  • The hospice pharmacy supplies the medications, and they are delivered directly to the home.

  • Medications may be adjusted frequently to manage uncomfortable symptoms.

7. WHO IS PART OF THE CARE TEAM?

Hospice care is provided by an interdisciplinary team that includes:

  • Nurses

  • Personal Care Aides

  • Chaplains

  • Social Workers

  • Physicians

  • Volunteers

 

8. WHERE CAN HOSPICE CARE OCCUR? 

  • Hospice care is available in any place the patient calls home.

 

9. HOW LONG IN THE TYPICAL NURSE VISIT? 

A nurse visit can be from 15 minutes to one and a half hours. It depends on the patient's condition, their needs, what does the nurse need to discuss with the patient or their caregiver, etc. The visit is tailored to meet those needs.  During a visit a nurse will:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the medications.

  • Determine if there are any new symptoms that need to be treated.

  • Inquire about the emotional wellbeing of the patient and the family.

  • Perform any medical procedures as needed.

  • Re-fill any medications, medical supplies as needed.

  • Order equipment if needed.

  • Convey information to the physician.

  • Teach family how to care for the patient.

10. ARE NURSES ON CALL?

Nurses are on call for emergencies 24 hours per day seven days per week.

 

11. WHAT ARE BEREAVEMENT SERVICES? 

At VNA, bereavement services are offered to loved ones for 13 months following death.

  • This may be written information, phone calls, visits and support groups, if needed.

  • At the time of death, the hospice team determines how often to contact the bereaved person depending on their needs. (Some people are more ready for the death than others. Some people have complicated grief brought on by multiple losses, a lack of coping skills, financial issues, poor health etc.)

  • VNA works with caregivers every step of the way and tries hard to make sure a caregiver is never alone in facing the death of a loved one. 

 

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