What is hospice?
Hospice is care for persons with a terminal illness. Hospice supports the patient’s primary caregiver, who is often a family member or friend. A team of professionals that can include physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers make periodic visits to the home, or as needed. A ‘plan of care’ is personalized for each patient and family. Hospice care can be provided in the private home or long-term care facility (nursing home, assisted living center), wherever the patient calls ‘home’.
When is it time for hospice?
Each individual must choose whether and when hospice is right. It is time to consider hospice when you or someone close to you:
- has a life-limiting illness for which there is no cure,
- has reached a point where treatment doesn’t seem to be working and there are more ‘down’ days than ‘up’,
- believes that less pain has become the important factor,
- has begun to feel that hospital and emergency room visits are too wearing and overwhelming,
- has a family caregiver who feels that quality care has become more than they can do alone, and they need more support.
In order to qualify for hospice, a physician must certify that in his/her opinion the patient is appropriate for hospice care and that the person’s life expectancy is six months or less. This time frame is somewhat flexible and care can, in some cases, be extended beyond six months. If you want to talk with someone about whether or not hospice care is appropriate now, please contact our hospice staff.
Who is eligible?
Heavenly Hospice of Oklahoma provides services to those who:
- Have a life limiting illness, as certified by a physician; View When is it time for hospice?
- Understand and agree with basic concepts of hospice, including no longer wishing to seek curative path for the illness
- Have a primary care physician who agrees to follow or coordinate patient care or releases patient to hospice medical director’s care
- Reside within one of our service regions. View Service Map Area.
How do I pay for hospice?
Medicare and some insurance plans cover hospice care including medical equipment and medications related to the diagnosis. Patients do not have to pay costs out of pocket, nor will they be billed. Heavenly Hospice provides quality care and services to patients regardless of ability to pay.
Please know that Medicare does not cover while under hospice care:
- Treatment or prescription drugs intended to cure the terminal illness
- Room and board
- Care in an emergency room, inpatient facility care, or ambulance transportation, unless it’s either arranged by the hospice medical team or is unrelated to the terminal illness
What are the 4 levels of hospice care?
At Heavenly Hospice we realize every patient and family have unique needs. The hospice benefit provides 4 different levels of care to allow us to meet your needs:
- Routine Home Care focuses on addressing the needs identified in the patient’s plan of care.
- Inpatient Care is short-term care provided when symptoms require medical attention that cannot be managed in a residential setting.
- Respite Care offers the patient’s caregivers short-term relief from daily care responsibilities by offering placement in a skilled nursing facility.
- Continuous Care maybe be provided when the patient requires intensive nursing care with a goal of keeping the patient in their home.
How does Heavenly Hospice address Continuous Care?
As short term care that is provided when symptoms cannot be managed by the regular caregivers. Heavenly Hospice addresses this need initially with a hospice RN assessment. Under some health insurance plans, between 8 and 24 hours of nursing support for crisis care can be provided each day for a limited number of days. This intensive hospice support is provided by our team of experienced and compassionate medical professionals, addressing patients and family members at bedside during a crisis in which the patient requires predominately nursing care to achieve palliation or management of acute medical problems. Here are examples of conditions that may require Continuous Care:
- uncontrolled pain
- uncontrolled agitation/anxiety
- uncontrolled respiratory distress
- uncontrolled nausea and vomiting
- family/caregiver crisis
What is Heavenly Hospice Companion Care?
Sometimes caregivers require additional support as signs and symptoms appear to signal end of life. Companion Care is bedside vigil companionship provided by rotating ’11th hour’ volunteers trained to be a comforting presence for patients and caregivers in the last hours. This team effectively communicates patient and family needs to hospice clinical staff and/or care staff facility and can help ease fear and anxiety.