- When should a decision about entering hospice be made?
At any time during a life-limiting illness, its appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice.
- Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy or friends.
- Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
Yes. If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or resume daily life. If a discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurances will allow additional coverage.
- How many family members/friends does it take to care for a patient at home?
Theres no set number. One of the first things the hospice team will do is prepare an individualized care plan that will address the amount of caregiving a patient needs.
- Must someone be with the patient at all times?
Again, the hospice team will prepare an individualized care plan for each patient. In the early weeks of care, its usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, hospice generally encourages someone to be there continuously.
- What specific assistance does hospice provide patients?
Hospice patients are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, home health aides, pastoral care, therapists and volunteers. Each team member provides assistance based on their area of expertise. In addition, hospice helps provide medications, supplies, equipment, hospital services and additional help in the home, as appropriate.
- Is the home the only place hospice care can be delivered?
No. Although most hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, some patients are cared for in nursing homes or the hospital.
- Is hospice covered by insurance?
Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, Medicaid in some 47 states, and by most private health insurance policies. To be sure of coverage, families should check with their employer or health insurance provider.
- If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?
If hospice is not covered, hospice will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money raised from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.
- Does hospice provide any help the family after the patient dies?
Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for 13 months following the death of a loved one. DMH hospice also provides supportive services for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a family member, friend or loved one.
For more information, call DMH Hospice at 217-876-6770.
“You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.” -Dame Cicely Saunders, Founder of the first modern hospice in London in 1968.