Compassion Hospice » Hospice in Southeast Texas

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Our new commercial, featuring our Medical Director Dr Maria Blahey, has been playing for the past few days – it’s a great summation of our excellent team’s goals for comfort, dignity, and respect.

If you, or a loved one, needs help, please give us a call at 835-8357.

As your loved one reaches the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the care needed intensifies. At this point, your loved one will be totally dependent on you for care and unable to remember much of their life. You’ve heard people talk about hospice care, but may not know exactly what it all entails, and how it relates to Alzheimer’s patients.

When Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, everyone realizes that there is no cure — but the end of life still may be years away. Sometimes it is referred to as “the long goodbye” because people who have Alzheimer’s live with the disease for years. This leaves caregivers to wonder how to know when it would be time to call for hospice care.

Your loved one is experiencing a loss of memory and will eventually lose the ability to communicate and to do activities of daily living. If your loved one has trouble swallowing, no appetite, multiple episodes with pneumonia or another opportunistic infection, chances are, he or she has reached the end stage of the disease.

To qualify for hospice care, you loved one’s physician will need to certify that patient is expected to live less than six months if the current illness runs its normal course.

Hospice is an approach to care that strives to give the patient the utmost in comfort, freedom from pain and dignity. Once your loved one begins hospice care, you will be introduced to a team of people – physicians, nurses, social workers, and trained volunteers – to help your loved one live his/her final days to the fullest possible in terms of comfort. Most people continue to live at home during the end of life stage

Hospice professionals understand the dying process and can help families understand what is happening to their loved ones. End-of-life caregiving is extremely stressful and tiresome for family caregivers. Most hospice services provide respite services. It can be very sad and difficult for the caregiver to realize that the end is near, and the hospice team will also provide support and counseling for the family caregivers.

Hospice professionals understand the dying process. Their dual purposes are to provide comfort care to the patient and loved ones and to help families understand what is happening to their loved ones. Caregivers and families also need special care during this process. End-of-life caregiving is extremely stressful and tiresome for family caregivers. Most hospice services provide rese se and other supports and counseling for the family.

Hospice care, as long as it’s within the last six months of life with the illness, is most often covered by Medicare.

 

– See more at: http://www.benrose.org/Resources/article-alzheimers-hospice.cfm#sthash.ubj4jlkn.dpuf

Hospice- What is it?

Definition:

  • Hospice is a philosophy of how to care for dying patients.
  • Hospice can be a building where care is provided to terminally ill patients.
  • Hospice may be an organization or business that provides care based on the hospice philosophy to dying patients and their families .

The hospice philosophy of care centers on providing holistic care to dying patients and their loved ones. Hospice care doesn’t try to cure a patient’s terminal illness. Instead, it tries to limit or manage the symptoms of that disease so the patient can be comfortable despite his or her terminal illness.

Hospice is for the dying, but about living well in the last part of life

The goal of hospice care is to enable the patient to live the best life he or she can possibly live in the time that remains. It doesn’t try to postpone death, or to make death happen more quickly. Rather, it allows the patient’s terminal disease to progress at a natural rate while aggressively working to prevent uncomfortable symptoms or to treat those symptoms when they arise.

Hospice healthcare professionals attempt to control or eliminate pain, nausea, breathing difficulties, and other symptoms brought about by the patient’s disease or the dying process. Relieving the patient of these symptoms allows him or her to focus on living well rather than on those uncomfortable symptoms.

Patients who choose to receive hospice care aren’t “giving up”. They haven’t lost hope. Rather, the focus of their hope and energy has shifted. While they may still hope for a cure, rather than expending their energy pursuing a cure, they’re choosing to spend their energy toward the fulfillment of other hopes.

They may hope to mend a relationship, to resolve an internal conflict, to provide as smooth a transition as possible for a loved one, or to accomplish a specific goal. But, almost universally, hospice patients hope to maximize their enjoyment of each and every precious remaining moment.

Hospice isn’t just for the patient

According to hospice philosophy, in order to provide the best care for the patient, you must also provide emotional, psychological, and spiritual care for the patient’s loved ones. Hospice doesn’t usually espouse a particular religion or spiritual practice, but will support the existing spiritual beliefs of the patient or loved one.

Hospice care provided to a patient’s loved ones usually extends for months beyond the death of the patient. Grief support services include counseling, support groups, and follow up to help loved ones cope with their grief and adjust to changes in their lives brought about by the patient’s death.

Where does hospice care take place?

Many hospice organizations provide hospice care in the patient’s home. However, there are also hospice programs that provide a place for hospice patients to live while receiving hospice services. This may be a freestanding building used exclusively for hospice patients. Or, it could be an area within a hospital or nursing home.

Paying for hospice care

In the United States, Medicare pays for hospice services via the Hospice Medicare Benefit. Most, but not all, state Medicaid programs also cover hospice services. Private and job-based health insurance plans may or may not specifically include hospice coverage, but most do.

Many non-profit and charitable hospice organizations provide hospice care for free to dying patients who can’t afford to pay for it, and who don’t have health insurance coverage for hospice services.

Pronunciation:

hŏs’pĭs

Pronounce the “hos” part of the word just like you pronounce it in the words hospital and hostel. Pronounce the end of the word so that it rhymes with kiss. The accent is on the first syllable.

 

One of the most difficult decisions we make as we care for an elderly loved one is deciding if nursing home care is right for them.

While we have several good nursing homes in Southeast Texas, making the best choice for your loved one can be tough – there is a website by Medicare to help: Nursing Home Compare , tho some of the information found is self-reported and not verified by 3rd party interviews. As reported recently: “many other top-ranked nursing homes have been given a seal of approval that is based on incomplete information and that can seriously mislead consumers, investors and others about conditions at the homes.” (NYT).
NursingHome

There is a more in-depth site provided to Texas Residents by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS): Long Term Care Quality Reporting System. By entering your desired zip code or county name, you can review Potential Advantages, Disadvantages, Inspection reports, any violations of rules, life safety reports and health reports – critical information to make an informed decision for sure. Keep in mind some nursing homes may have had issues in the past and have made changes to correct those.

The Long Term Care Quality Reporting System also allows you to search for quality in Assisted Living Facilities, Adult Day Care, and Home Health Care. There’s not one yet available for hospice care, though the pieces are being put into place for inclusion soon. We’ll be posting links to the site as soon as it’s available.

 

4 Hospice Myths

The Truth about Hospice

Updated May 22, 2014.

Despite recent growths in hospice awareness, access, and utilization, myths about hospice are still prevalent in our culture. These misconceptions contribute to the under-utilization of hospice services. Only 36% of people who died in 2006 died on hospice care.

This is unfortunate, since so many patients who are in need of expert pain and symptoms control, as well as emotional, social, and spiritual support, don’t receive them.

What are these myths that are so detrimental to the care of the dying?

Myth #1: Hospice Care Means Giving Up Hope

Choosing hospice care in no way means a patient is giving up hope. It may mean redefining hope. Where a patient once hoped for a cure they may now hope to be pain-free. Hope for a patient may mean seeing a distant friend or relative one last time or taking the trip to the beach. Hope could be as simple as wanting to spend as much time with loved ones as possible, or remaining at home rather than having to go to the hospital or a nursing home.

Hope looks different in hospice care but it is certainly not lost. The hospice team can help patients accomplish tasks, fulfill wishes, and maintain hope.

Myth #2: Hospice Means That I Have To Sign a DNR

Having a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) in place is not a requirement to receive hospice care. Signing a DNR means that you do not want to be resuscitated with CPR or other means should your breathing or heart stop. While many patients on hospice elect to have a DNR in place, it is not the right choice for everyone. The goal of hospice is patient comfort with the patient directing care. No decisions should ever be forced upon patients, including hospice patients.

Myth #3: Hospice Is Only for Cancer Patients

In reality, 51% of hospice patients are admitted to hospice with chronic, non-cancer diagnoses. That means just under half of hospice patients have cancer. Some of the most common non-cancer diagnoses in hospice are heart disease, dementia, lung disease, kidney disease, and liver disease. The hospice team is very skilled at managing symptoms of cancer and equally skilled at managing symptoms of many other chronic illness.

Myth #4: Hospice Is Only for Patients who Are Close to Death or Actively Dying

If there is one myth that bothers me most, it’s this one. Because of the highly skilled care that hospice workers can provide to their patients, hospice works best when the team has time to deliver it. The dying process takes time. Patients and their loved ones need support, information, and medical care. Social workers and chaplains need time to work with patients and their loved ones to bring them to a place of acceptance. Nurses and doctors need time to get the patient’s symptoms optimally managed.

The work of the dying takes more time than the average length a patient is on hospice. Currently, the average length of stay on hospice is only 14-20 days. It saddens me to think of all the care those patients missed out on.

Removing the stigma of hospice and redefining end-of-life care is essential to the future of health care. The population of seniors in the U.S. is expected to double in the next 30 years. That means more people will be living with chronic, life-limiting illness that need expert end-of-life care. Dispelling these myths about hospice can bring us one step closer to providing quality, highly skilled care to patients at the end of life.

 

http://dying.about.com/od/whatishospice/a/hospicemyths.htm