When should hospice start?
Once a person who is suffering from an advanced, life-limiting or terminal illness reaches the point at which treatments and curative measures are no longer a viable option, his or her doctor will typically make the recommendation and referral to hospice. Generally speaking, the sooner hospice care is initiated, the better, as it is designed to provide much-needed physical, emotional and spiritual support to the patient as well as his or her loved ones.
Are only the elderly eligible?
Most hospices will take only adults, but Hospice Care of the Lowcountry offers a special program for children called “Kids Path” which offers physical, emotional and spiritual care to both the individual and family.
What are my options?
Hospice patients and their loved ones have the ability to choose when and where to receive care. Some end of life patients choose to remain in the hospital or other health care facility in which they were previously receiving medical treatments for their illness. Others prefer to transition back into their home environment, where they can receive personal care in a place in which they feel most comfortable and at ease, surrounded by those they love.
Hospice care also includes a wide variety of options in terms of the types of services available. Depending on the patient’s needs and desires, care can include everything from pain management and physical therapy to spiritual counseling and nutritional guidance. The comprehensive services available at Hospice Care of the Lowcountry also include a number of enrichment options, such as music and pet therapy.
We customize every care plan we develop to meet the unique needs and preferences of each individual patient.
What are the benefits of hospice?
The advantages of hospice are many, and are often as unique as each patient receiving the care provided. Generally speaking, the most commonly cited benefits of hospice end of life care include:
- The ability to remain in a comfortable, familiar environment
- Personalized care from experienced, compassionate professionals
- Care that covers all areas of need – physical, emotional and spiritual
- Access to necessary equipment and supplies
- Pain management to maximize patient comfort
- Support for loved ones throughout the entire process (including bereavement)
- Customized plans that respect the wishes of the patient
- Sense of control to navigate the end-of-life journey with dignity
How do I get started with hospice?
Having a discussion about end of life care is never easy, but it’s something that can provide unexpected relief, both to the patient and his or her loved ones. The first step in determining whether hospice care is the right option is to start a conversation. This includes consulting with your primary health care professional to discuss diagnosis and whether treatments are still worth pursuing and also talking things over with those who are most important in your life.
It can also involve a discussion with one of our compassionate community hospice team members. If you’re considering taking that first step toward entering hospice, we invite you to pick up the phone and contact us today at 843.706.2296. We can discuss your options, answer any questions you may have and set your mind at ease.
The decision to enter hospice is not an easy one. We’re here to make this challenging time just a little bit easier.
Can a hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?
Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice.
What does hospice care cost?
If a person does not have any type of coverage, Hospice Care of the Lowcountry is guided by its mission to care for anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay. Hospice Care is covered 100% by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans.
How can I plan ahead?
An important part of the hospice process involves planning ahead for what will occur once the patient’s end of life journey has come to a close. Thinking of these things is never easy, but doing so – and taking the necessary steps to ensure that the patient’s wishes are honored – can provide much-needed peace of mind during this challenging time. Some of the things to consider when planning for the next step in the process include:
Health Care Proxy / Durable Power of Attorney – This is the person whom a patient designates to become their “surrogate” in the event that the patient is no longer capable of making medical decisions, either due to physical limitations or a mental state that lacks legal capacity to make decisions. Many hospice patients choose to appoint someone whom they trust to step in and use their authority to make the necessary medical decisions when the time comes.
Health Directives – This includes written documentation containing a person’s specific preferences that are to be carried out in the event in which that person is unable to communicate those wishes directly. By expressing such preferences in a written legal document, the patient ensures that his or her wishes are known and will be abided by when the time comes.
Wills/Trusts – The end of life process often involves more than just the present and near future. In many cases, patients are also concerned about what will happen to their loved ones once they’ve passed on. Wills and trusts provide the ability to specify precisely what actions will be carried out following death, such as the distribution of financial assets and other specified instructions.
Advanced Directives – This is the overall blanket term that covers the above documentation as it relates to medical care, including a living will and a health care power of attorney. Specifically, advanced directives allow a patient to document his or her wishes concerning medical treatment administered at the end of life.
The Hospice Care of the Lowcountry team is made up of hundreds of compassionate volunteers, many of whom specialize in this type of contingency planning and can gladly help make the process of planning ahead go as smoothly and stress-free as possible.
If you have any additional questions regarding our services, Hospice Care of the Lowcountry is available 24/7 and we welcome you to contact us: 843.706.2296