By: Tracey Mayleben-Shoop, Transitional Care Program Director for Assisted Home Care and Hospice
Hospice is comprehensive care for patients with terminal illnesses. The focus of Hospice is to provide compassionate end of life care through a team of hospice professionals, when the patient has 6 months or less to live. Hospice Care is covered thru Medicare part A and can be elected when the patient decides to not seek curative treatments for their Hospice diagnosis.
The decision to accept Hospice can sometimes be a difficult one. The true value of Hospice care is best realized when there is months left to live, not days, in order to establish an effective plan of comfort and support. But when is the right time, and what is the value to Hospice in a skilled nursing home?
A recent study funded by the NATIONAL INSTITUTE on AGING found that the addition of Hospice care at an early stage had positive effects for the patient. As certain physical processes, like digestion and breathing become difficult, additional care that can be provided by Hospice can ensure the patient experiences as little discomfort as possible. The family is usually guided by the medical director, nurse, and administration staff of the skilled nursing home, as to when is a proper time to consider Hospice.
The support from the Hospice staff is beneficial not only for the patient, but for the family members as well. The additional care that is provided to the patient can reduce the stress and anxiety many family members have at this critical time. Knowing that the patient is comfortable and has the additional support from Hospice can make this transition easier for all those involved.
If you have any questions regarding Hospice care, please contact your facility and they will refer to an appropriate agency that will offer you additional consultation.