“Home Health Care Consultants | When Is Hospice Care Needed?” is part of the prototype Home Health Care Consultants series, focusing on players in the industry.
As a result of this compilation, anyone can have more clarity on the roles of key players. Its main purpose, however, is to shed light on the role of a home health care organization.
My hope is that organizations will see the need to merge ecosystems with other key players. In this way, they will be equipped to offer a more comprehensive service to a wider range of clients.
For example, a nutritionist may not be a part of a home health care organization. But do you see how integral this would be in educating clients on the importance of proper nutrition?
More organizations can benefit from this kind of reciprocal collaboration. Everyone wins.
Home Health Care | What Is Hospice Care?
Let’s take a look at the role of hospice care in the home health care setting. Who do they merge ecosystems with?
It’s time for the public to understand what this group of health care providers offer. This doesn’t mean it’s the right solution for everyone who may qualify to use this service. So, what is hospice care?
First of all, hospice comprises several medical and non-medical professionals providing palliative and supportive care. Individuals who are facing terminal illnesses will more than likely be recommended for this kind of help.
Furthermore, they offer support not only to the patients, but also to family members. It’s understandable many relatives, caregivers, and friends will have no clue how to manage during this time.
It also makes sense for hospice to offer counseling from the outset. People tend to fall apart as soon as they realize their loved ones have made a turn for the worst.
Oftentimes, they are in the same home and see the decline on a daily basis. And they may not have a support system in place. Nevertheless, even a strong support system could use the help.
An example of the key players include: doctors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, clinical and social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors, and others.
These individuals visit the homes according to an agreed-on schedule and carry out their individual roles. There are also hospice facilities where patients can stay.
Additionally, respite care may be provided to give caregivers a break for a few days at a time. Bear in mind, though, that each state and organization will have their own guidelines.
Hospice | Where to Find Further Resources
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) answers the question, “What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?” at caringinfo.org.
“Palliative care and hospice care are similar, but there are some key differences. Both palliative care and hospice care are focused on the needs of the patient and their quality of life.
Palliative care focuses on maintaining the highest quality of life while managing treatment and other needs. Hospice care specifically focuses on the period closest to death.”
They also answered the question, “Who pays for this kind of care?”
“Hospice care is most often paid for as a benefit of Medicare. Hospice may also be paid for as part of a Medicare Advantage plan, by state Medicaid plans, or by private insurance.
Discuss the source of payment and services covered with your hospice team.”
They further addressed, “How long can I receive this type of care?”
“Sometimes, people receiving hospice care live longer than six months and the care can be extended. You can get hospice care for two 90-day benefit periods, followed by an unlimited number of 60-day benefit periods.
It is also possible to leave hospice care if a patient’s condition improves or they decide they wish to resume curative care and return to hospice care later.”
Hospice Health Care | Equipment and Supplies
Hospice care goes beyond services. They also provide equipment and supplies.
- Hospital bed
- Patient lift
- Bedside table
- Wash basin
- Disposable bed pads
- Incontinent briefs
- Body wash
- Protective cream
- Non-skid socks
This list doesn’t cover everything, nor is it a representation of every hospice organization. I’ve included these based on my personal experience as a caregiver.
Hospice Care | When Is it the Right Time?
Home health care organizations, along with the clients’ primary care team, work side by side to provide the best possible care for them. And, hospice care is sometimes a topic for discussion and implementation.
Some illnesses are life-limiting at some point. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases
- Congestive heart failure and other heart diseases
- Parkinson’s disease
- and Stroke, to name a few
Hospice may come on board at some stage of the disease, especially if the time they’re expected to live is six months or less. However, this doesn’t mean a patient who exceeds this time frame has to stop the service.
They will do an assessment at intervals to determine if the patient needs additional care from hospice. Some patients can actually improve during this time.
Subsequently, they can reenter the program if their condition worsen. Bear in mind that they may have to resign all documents. Be sure to find out if that is the case.
When Health Declines | Comfort and Dignity
“Hospice care,” according to a handbook from a hospice organization, “will focus on comfort, quality of care, and relieving the suffering of patients and their families during this very stressful time of life.”
Dignity is one thing all areas of the medical profession emphasizes. Comfort, on the other hand, is more critical for the end-of-life patient.
Comfort and dignity take top priority if nothing else can be done to prolong the life of an individual. Of course, everyone needs comfort, but all needs are not comparable.
For instance, someone who is otherwise healthy may have the need for medical care at home or in the hospital. Although their comfort and dignity are taken into consideration, their comfort is monitored differently.
So, when someone declines to the point where the prognosis is bleak, hospice care is more focused on making their transition less painful.
Their recovery doesn’t seem likely. In contrast, palliative care is geared towards relieving symptoms while on the road to recovery.
Final Health Decisions | Is This the End?
The hospice team will put a detailed care plan in place once they are assigned. This is where all the elements of the patient’s or family members’ wishes and expectations are put into force.
They will review and sign several documents pertaining to consent for service, safety measures, advance directive, living will, power of attorney, stopping and starting service if necessary.
Hospice provides all the relevant information that clients need to know. They’re usually willing to make referrals in the event something is out of their scope.
If a patient decides to go into the hospital, services would be terminated and a new contract restarted later. However, the client may choose to pay out of pocket for hospital care at this time.
This would eliminate the need to start the process from scratch if this is a requirement. And it may be depending on the organization and the state.
Another thing to note is that former primary care providers will continue to be on board with the patient. However, there may come a time when hospice will take over full care.
All the signs may seem apparent, but is this the end?
Hospice Home Health Care | Conclusion
As the saying goes, “it’s not over until it’s over.” No one knows for sure when an individual’s life will end naturally. Of course, there are certain signs that indicate the end is near.
However, many people have defied all odds and outlived others’ expectations, and even their own. Although death is certain at some point or the other, the time of the last breath can be evasive.
As a result, we must be thankful for and cherish the time we have with our loved ones. The present moment is all we are certain of, and we cannot relive times that have gone by, except in our memories.
Hospice care, provided by an organization of compassionate professionals, may be the way to go. But, take time out to talk with your loved ones while they’re capable of making their wishes known.
In the event this isn’t possible, do the research for yourself. And make sure you have a good understanding of what you’re signing up for. It will be in your best interest.
Misunderstandings can lead to labeling people and organizations wrongly even when they have your best interest at heart. Most importantly, make your wishes crystal clear so everyone is on the same page.
I hope this article, “Home Health Care Consultants | When Is Hospice Care Needed?” has shed some light on the subject. It is my pleasure to pass on useful information to my readers.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I will be more than happy to assist you.