Who’s Involved in Hospice Care?

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Typically, hospice teams work alongside your caregivers to develop an individualized comprehensive care program.  The hospice team usually consists of:

RN Case Manager

This is the person who will coordinate the various elements of your care. Their goal is to coordinate care in the most effective way possible for each individual, and their family.

Hospice Aide

This person can provide care in the home, community or hospital. This can include overnight stays, bathing, and other care to ensure that the individual, and their family, is comfortable.

Social Worker

Social workers often start by assessing the situation. They determine the wants and needs of the families we serve. They also educate individuals and give advice on the dying process. But, they also advocate for the patient’s final wishes.

Spiritual Counselor

Spiritual care can be an important aspect to emotional support. The spiritual counselor is there to develop a plan for each person’s beliefs. Then, they act as resource to carry out this plan.

Medical Director

Any medical needs will be handled by the medical director, in collaboration with the individuals’ physician. This person will ensure that the medical wishes are fulfilled for each person. But, this person’s duties may also extend to the families, and/or caregivers.

Volunteer Coordinator

This person coordinates the volunteer schedule. They match volunteers where with the people they believe they will work best with.

Bereavement Coordinator

This person provides counseling services to those who have been affected by a death.

Volunteers

Hospice volunteers are an important part of the hospice team. They are there to provide a helping hand, support and compassion to the people served. The volunteers may provide transportation, preform household chores, and prepare meals.

Administrative and Support Staff

The administrative and support staff is there as a resource if families need any assistance, or if they have any concerns. These are typically the people to call if you have general questions about insurance coverage, or services.

Hospice care requires a full team working toward a common goal. All of these people are equally important to providing quality hospice care.

How to Keep Your Loved One Comfortable in Their Last Days

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When your loved one has been diagnosed with a life limiting illness it’s important to understand their wishes. One of these wishes may be where they would like to spend their last days. For many people, this is at home or at a close family members house. But, this can be a challenge when it comes to care.

If they wish to be at your home, many challenges present themselves. Even though you would love to, you may find yourself asking, “how am I supposed to take in a family member when I have my own emotions and responsibilities to deal with?” And, this is a completely common and valid response. It can be hard enough to raise a family and continue working, knowing your loved one has a life limiting illness. And, even if they are comfortable in their own home, care is probably necessary.

But, don’t worry. Hospice Care can help. Hospice Care allows individuals with a life limiting illness to stay happily where they are comfortable, while obtaining care. This often takes a weight off family and friends who are already battling the emotions of the situation.

Hospice Care is often available 24-hours and, Hospice Care can visit homes, hospitals, and nursing facilities. Often, Hospice finds that people want to stay where they are comfortable. This could be the retirement community they have lived at for 5 years, your home or their own home. But, no matter the situation, Hospice Care should be considered to help keep your loved one comfortable, and you at peace.

When You Should Start Thinking About Hospice Care

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It’s never too early to begin thinking about end-of-life (EOL) care. Delaying the conversation means that families must make heart-wrenching decisions during a time when the stress may be too much to bear. Starting the conversation about hospice care begins with knowing what hospice care offers and dispelling the myths about what happens when a person is under hospice care. Here are a few tips to help you begin your discussion.

First, it helps to know how hospice works. Hospice uses a team approach that includes doctors, nurses, social workers and others to provide comprehensive care to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. There are hospice care services that are available in health care communities, or in the home. The purpose of hospice is not to cure an illness, but to provide pain management and compassionate care that allows the individual who is ill to die with dignity.

Thinking about hospice care before you need to can make EOL planning easier. If you or a loved one should develop a life-limiting condition, and a physician tells you that there is no cure, you will already know what to expect from hospice care. It’s also important to note that hospice care is covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Many private insurances also cover hospice care.

Hospice has been beneficial for many families.  It’s not unusual to hear families praise hospice. Hospice staff will go the extra mile to take care of the ill person and provide supportive services for the family. Hospice volunteers help with everything from sitting with a patient while the family takes a much-needed break, to running errands.

Learn all you can about hospice programs in your area. Share the information with your family. Have the discussion about hospice now. When a family member needs it, all a doctor will have to do is make a referral for hospice care, and everything else will be in place.

Understanding How Our Hospice Care Works

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If you have a family member who has been referred for hospice care, it’s important to have a good understanding of how this important end of life (EOL) service can help the patient as well as their family. We’re here to provide quality care designed to ensure your loved one’s final days are as comfortable as possible.

We offer compassionate EOL services in Columbus, as well as in communities throughout Central Ohio. Patients will receive emotional support and the important medical care and pain management they need during their final days and weeks. Additionally, making sure that patients get the spiritual comfort and help they need, regardless of faith, is something we take very seriously.

We offer quality EOL services for patients age 18 and above who have been certified by their doctor as having a life expectancy of 6 months or less. We have an experienced team of hospice professionals who will work closely with doctors and caregivers in order to develop a personalized care program. We also strive to make sure that the entire family will receive the support and help they need through this emotional and challenging time.

Your hospice care team will generally consist of a medical director, social worker, RN case manager, spiritual counselor, bereavement coordinator, administrative staff, hospice aid and volunteer coordinator. This caring team will work to keep the patient comfortable during their final days.

Whether your loved one is at home or in a care facility, quality hospice care can help them during their last months, weeks or days. We concentrate on ensuring quality of life during the final stages of your loved one’s life. Hospice care can also help caregivers and other family members manage the emotional challenges that are common when dealing with caring for a loved one who is dying.

Things to Know Before You Look for Hospice Care

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When an individual is seriously ill or unable to provide self-care, nothing is more comforting that having a caregiver who is patient, loving, and who has the care recipient’s best interest in mind. However, most people would agree that caring for an ill person for an extended period can result in a caregiver neglecting his or her own care. Family caregivers often experience stress, illness, and burnout after months or years of self-neglect, which is why hospice care is such an important service for families.

When should families consider hospice care?

Hospice care may be an appropriate option when a life-limiting illness results in multiple hospitalizations, or when a health care provider has told you or a loved one that a condition is progressing, and there is no cure.  Hospice care should be considered when caregiver burnout or declining health means that an individual can no longer provide effective care for a terminally-ill loved one.

What you should know before you look for hospice care?

It’s not difficult to set up hospice care, once the physician makes a referral for hospice care. Care begins within a day or two after the referral.

Hospice agencies offer care at home, in long-term care facilities, and at hospice centers.

Hospice care is typically covered by Medicaid and Medicare.  Most private insurances also cover hospice care.

Hospice care is not meant to cure the person receiving care. Hospice provides compassionate care and pain management that enables families and their ill loved ones to make the most of their time together.

Hospice also cares for the family. Hospice staff and volunteers can offer tips for reducing stress, link families to resources, and provide bereavement counseling.

Our hospice service offers on-call care 24 hours-a-day. A nurse can visit the home to provide assistance with medical issues, and volunteers are available to sit with a loved one while family members run errands or take needed breaks.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Hospice Care Center

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Many people don’t fully understand hospice services. In fact, to some people, hospice means a place that people go to die.  Rather than a place, think of hospice is a system of compassionate and comprehensive care for people with life-limiting illness and their loved ones. Services may be provided at a hospice center, health care facility or in the home.

Hospice is not only for the individual who is ill; a hospice medical team creates an environment that helps families and seriously ill loved ones make the most of their time together.

Hospice provides supportive counseling for families and links them to needed resources. Hospice also reduces the financial burden for families. Both Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage for hospice care and most private insurances cover hospice services.

Even if hospice care is not an immediate need for you or your family, it is never too early to discuss future care needs. It helps to know if hospice may be the solution if you or a loved require care for a life-limiting illness before the need arises. Therefore, consider the following tips for questions to ask about a hospice center:

Will the hospice center provide care for me or my family member at home?

If receiving care at home, will I or my family s be able to contact hospice staff for in-home assistance if there is a 3:00 a.m. emergency?

How is the cost of care covered?

When hospice provides care at a facility what types of care will the patient receive?

What is expected of family members when hospice care is provided in the home?

In addition to these questions, you will want to know if the center has a good reputation. The hospice care center you choose should be able to provide references from families who have used the center’s services.

 

Hospice Scams to Watch Out For

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An important part of researching quality hospice care, is to make sure that your loved one isn’t the victim of a scam. Unfortunately, scams are prevalent when it comes to end of life services. But we have helpful tips, so you’ll know exactly what to look for in a hospice provider.

An easy way for a provider to scam patients is to simply cut back on services. This can be by reducing the number of visits by a home health care aide, or the RN case manager. In some cases, the RN will simply call the patient or the patient’s family to get an update. This is in no way an acceptable substitution for an in-person visit. A hospice provider might also reduce other important services, such as the availability of counselors, bereavement staff, chaplains and social workers in an effort to reduce costs and make greater profits.

Another troubling way that some providers scam their clients is by cutting back on medications. Pain medications can be very expensive, and by not providing the amount of medication prescribed by the doctor, unscrupulous providers can pocket a lot of money. The same is true with oxygen, by limiting the patient’s access to oxygen, the provider can save money.

Sometimes, an unethical hospice will refuse to provide round the clock care for patients who are in crisis. Your loved one deserves compassionate care by a hospice provider that is committed to ensuring quality end of life services. Be sure to ask questions relating to these scams to protect the people close to you.

Grieving Tips for Your Family

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When you have a loved one who is approaching the end of their life, helping them to remain comfortable and pain free is often all that you can do. For many family members, they throw themselves into the role of caretaker and try not to think about how they will grieve. While dwelling on the final days is not necessary, it can be helpful to learn some grieving tips to help your family when the time comes.

Our hospice service not only offers quality hospice care for our patients, but we also want to make sure that the entire family is able to find peace and comfort once their loved one is gone. Understanding the grieving process can help you through this difficult time.

While every individual will go through the grieving process in their own unique way, there are some aspects of grief that are universal. For example, almost everyone experiences a sense of shock or numbness following the loss of a loved one. This is a difficult time and family care should include allowing individuals to process this grief in their own way.

There is no set time period that one must meet in order to progress through the grieving process. Grieving will take as long as necessary and is a very personal and individual matter. Many people find it helpful to discuss their grief with a close friend or even a family therapist, while others find comfort in quiet contemplation.

It can be very helpful to try and focus on pleasant memories rather, than dwelling on things that you could have done differently. Others might tell you to cheer up, or that it’s time to move on, but you need to grieve in your own way. During the grieving process, allow yourself to have your feelings.  It’s also important to keep in mind that you’ll likely experience setbacks. Understanding and accepting that these feelings are normal is key to finding peace in this difficult time.

Grief and Counseling Recommendations

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Having a loved one in hospice care can certainly be an emotional time. It’s hard to accept that they’re nearing the end of their life, and seeing them struggle can bring up many painful thoughts. One of the tips that our service often offers is for family members get support to handle the stress they’re likely to feel.

Whether it’s grief counseling to help you work through your feelings, or you choose to take some time to reflect on the good memories, it’s important to let yourself grieve in your own way. Counseling can help you maintain a level of perspective and may help you identify some of the things you’re feeling; however, there is no one set pattern for grieving that’s going to fit every individual.

A support group is an excellent way to surround yourself with others who are experiencing a similar loss. It can be lonely trying to handle the death of a loved one, but with a good support group, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your feelings. And, you may even pick up some strategies that others have used to manage their grief. Again, no two people are going to grieve in the same way, but it can be helpful to hear how others are coping and to use some of their tips to help you through your grieving process.

Even before the death of your loved one, a support group can provide the emotional support you need at this very trying time. Talking with others, and taking a moment away from the challenges of caring for someone you love, can give you a new perspective. Take each day as it comes and look for tips on how to manage stress.

Family Tips for Preparing for Hospice Care

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An important part of hospice care is helping patients and families develop an understanding of hospice and how it can help them meet the challenges of this difficult time. It is extremely important to understand how each member of the hospice team will work together to develop a comprehensive end of life plan that meets the individual needs of the patient. Whether it’s visits from clergy, managing pain or providing some much needed emotional support, our trained hospice staff are dedicated to ensuring each patient gets the highest quality care possible.

End of life decisions can be difficult for most people; however, it’s important that these discussions take place. When you have a loved one who has been referred for hospice care, it’s important for the patient as well as the family to prepare for this time. For example, examining personal beliefs can help you make decisions regarding EOL care.

Other helpful tips that can make hospice easier for patients and their family members include learning about the services that are available and making sure you reach out for the help you need. Many times, hospice care takes place in the patient’s home. The primary caregiver is often overwhelmed with managing patient care as well as their own feelings of sadness and loss. We can help with patient care by providing caregiver relief and patient companionship.

When preparing for hospice care, be sure to keep in mind that there will be times when family care is also necessary. It’s important to make sure that you take care of yourself. Consider stress relievers such as yoga, or a support group. Additionally, it can be helpful to make use of routine home care by the experienced hospice team to help the family manage during the final weeks and days of a loved one’s life. Maintaining a routine as much as possible can help you feel more in control.