Frequently Asked Questions
Hospice care is a palliative approach to care for the terminally ill, emphasizing pain control and emotional support for the client and family. Hospice care does not mean “giving up” on life, but rather focusing on comfort and quality of life. Each client under hospice care receives an individualized plan of care, focusing on physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social needs.
Hospice care is provided to clients of all ages. There are many diagnoses that qualify a client for hospice care. The client’s primary physician, along with the hospice medical director, certify that the client is terminally ill, with a life expectancy of 6 months or less. However, this does NOT mean the client will die within 6 months. Hospice care can be provided for longer than 6 months as long as the client continues to show signs of decline and disease progression. Hospice has “certification periods”, in which the client’s primary physician will evaluate disease progression and determine qualification. Once admitted into hospice care, the goal is to focus on quality of life and comfort. Hospice care does not focus on curing the disease; however, at times a client may begin to improve and at any time may choose to revoke services and seek a curative approach. A client may also graduate from hospice care (no longer qualify) if the terminal diagnosis does not take its anticipated course of decline. This will be discussed in depth with the client and his/her family/caregivers to ensure appropriateness for hospice care.
For after-hours crisis situations and emergencies, hospice care is available 24/7 for all services. Hospice care is a supplemental service and is NOT meant to be provided 24 hours a day. All clients will receive an individualized plan of care based on their needs and wishes. Typically, the client is seen multiple times per week by numerous hospice staff. Each client has unique needs that can change quickly. Our team will assess how often each team member should be visiting and will make appropriate changes as needed or requested.
Hospice care is provided in all settings. Our care team travels to wherever the client lives, including but not limited to, in their home, assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and apartment complexes.
The interdisciplinary team works collaboratively to provide individualized client care and ensure all members are on the same page regarding the client’s care. The team includes nursing, hospice aides, social work, chaplain, dietary consultant, volunteers, physicians, bereavement, PT/OT/Speech Therapy, pharmacy and all holistic services. The team meets weekly to discuss each client’s needs, goals and interventions, and to make appropriate recommendations to ensure the client’s needs are being met in accordance with his/her wishes.
Medications are NOT automatically discontinued. When admitted onto Peaceful Hearts Hospice, a nurse, along with the client’s physician, will review all medications and make recommendations on any changes. These changes will always be discussed with the client and his/her family/caregivers and education will be provided on why these changes are recommended before approval. It is ultimately the client’s choice on which medications are discontinued. Medications related to the hospice diagnosis are paid for by hospice. If a client wishes to continue a medication that is not approved by the Hospice Medicare Benefit, the client will be required to pay for this medication out of pocket OR insurance may continue to cover this medication if it is not related to the hospice diagnosis. Medication coverage will be thoroughly discussed upon hospice admission.
Hospice care is covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, as well as most Medicaid plans, Veteran Affairs, and private insurance companies. Peaceful Hearts Hospice will provide hospice care to all eligible clients regardless of the client’s ability to pay. At Peaceful Hearts Hospice, we believe all clients eligible for hospice care deserve to be cared for, and we are humbled to provide hospice services to those nearing the end of life.
Choosing hospice care can be an extremely difficult decision. Our team recognizes the emotional struggle this can bring to the client and his/her loved ones. Hospice care revolves around providing quality and comfort at end of life, while empowering clients to remain involved in their care by offering many choices. Hospice care provides multiple team members who visit frequently to help with all areas of care. We focus on both medical needs and family support, so you can focus on what matters most to you. Hospice care provides medication management, symptom management, physician availability, durable medical equipment, and medical supplies. Many medications are covered under the hospice benefit as well.
Once a client is believed to have died, the first step is calling the hospice team. As stated prior, hospice is available 24/7. A registered nurse will make a visit to the client’s place of residence to pronounce death and, depending on the county, a sheriff may also be notified and come to the home. All other staff members are also available to assist at the request of the nurse or family, including but not limited to hospice aide, social work, and chaplain. The hospice nurse will notify all physicians and other team members involved in the clients’ care after death occurs. The hospice nurse will provide postmortem care and properly cleanse the body. While allowing the family space and an opportunity to grieve, the hospice nurse will provide emotional support and allow the family as much time as necessary before calling the mortuary of choice. The hospice nurse will stay with the client until the mortuary takes the body to the funeral home.
We honor our Veterans!
We are partnered with Peaceful Hearts
Holistic Foundation to provide holistic
interventions to those at end-of-life.