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Choosing Hospice Care

   

"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.

Hospice is a philosophy of care for the individual. It emphasizes compassionate care, quality of life and choices. Hospice affirms life, neither hastening nor postponing death, but rather recognizing that death is the final stage of life. The hospice philosophy is based on the hope and belief that through appropriate pain and symptom control, that individuals with life limiting illness can be cared for safely and comfortably by family and friends with the help and guidance of the hospice team.

A cancer diagnosis no longer makes up the majority of our patients.  Individuals with end stage diseases such as renal, lung, heart, Altzheimers and liver also qualify for hospice care.

Hospice care is available to anyone who:

  • In consultation with his/her physician, chooses to cease curative treatments
  • Has a limited life expectancy of approximately six months or less, as certified by a physician
  • Signs a consent agreeing to comfort care and hospice philosophy

Things to note:

Hospice services, most medications for pain, as well as, most supplies and equipment necessary for a patient's comfort and safety are reimbursable by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.

Friends, family members, heath care workers or patients themselves may request hospice services.  Physician approval must be obtained prior to providing services. Once a patient has made the decision to no longer seek curative care, Adventist St. Thomas Hospice can be contacted as soon as possible.  An initial meeting with a hospice staff member can be set up within 24 hours of the request.  This initial call can significantly lessen anxiety and maximize the patient's remaining quality of life.

Quotes from Families

"There is no way we could have made it through the 7 days we were with my mother in the hospital...excellent care for my mother was given by the superb hospice team.  Truly all involved were angels and blessings.  They helped my mother go peacefully and restfully.  Thank you again a million times."  -D.M., daughter of a patient.

"Although Don's time is hospice was short, he was treated beautifully and passed away quietly surrounded by family.  Your care was beyond excellent."  -C.M., spouse of a patient.

"Hospice provided us with the confidence to provide excellent care to my husband."  -P.O., wife of a patient.

"Every time I had fears or questions about my husband's care, someone was available in person or by phone."  -J.G., wife of a patient.

Adventist St. Thomas Hospice
119 E. Ogden Ave. Suite 111
Hinsdale, IL  60521
630-856-6990

 
   

Importance of Early Referrals

A frequent recommendation from families when surveyed about what could have been improved in regards to hospice care is better tools and resources about their options for their loved one. Many believe this information would enhance their ability to make crucial decisions regarding their loved one’s care, including admittance to a hospice program. "I didn’t realize how close my mother was to death, so I didn’t call hospice in soon enough. Some help with recognizing the urgency would have been helpful," said a former St. Thomas Hospice patient’s family member.

Deciding on hospice care for a loved one can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process, as most individuals are. Our intake nurses often receive phone calls from individuals who just want to know more information, even at an early stage in their loved one's disease process. Those who look to gather information and resources about hospice at this time seem to benefit the most from hospice care. In fact, St. Thomas Hospice offers a service called an ‘Explanation of Benefits.’ This service entails a hospice nurse meeting with a family to explain in detail about hospice care with no requirement to obtain services.

While many individuals remain in hospice care for weeks, if not months, the median length of stay in a hospice program is only two weeks, with a large proportion of individuals being admitted for only a few days.

An increase in early referrals would result in better symptom management, more comprehensive support for family members and ultimately a more comfortable and peaceful death. To find out more about hospice care, contact your local area hospice or visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Web site at http://www.nhpco.org/.

 

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