Sunnyvale, California (PRWEB) November 29, 2012
Most individuals know little about hospice until they need end-of-life care for a family member or close friend. Pathways Home Health & Hospice has published a Hospice Care Guide: Questions & Answers that has large-print and is easy-to-read. This informational guide is designed to help patients and their families better understand the basics of hospice.
The Pathways Hospice Care Guide provides answers to twenty-three general questions which are commonly asked by patients and families when considering end-of-life care for themselves or their loved ones. Written in understandable language, this care guide explains hospice, discusses payment for hospice care, and defines the general hospice experience, pain management, and referral process.
To download the Pathways Hospice Care Guide, go to the Pathways Home Health & Hospice website resources section, click on the brochures link and download the Hospice Care Guide: Questions & Answers.
Sample questions included in the Pathways Hospice Care Guide Questions & Answers are:
What is hospice?
In the United States, hospice is a kind of care, not a place. Hospice is provided wherever you live. It is specialized care for people whose doctors believe they probably have six months or less to live. People nearing the end of life often have many changes happening in a short period of time. There may be changes in medications, sleep habits, fatigue, diet, and family roles, to name just a few. It is the job of hospice to address each of these changes as they occur, to make the quality of life the best it can be.
Who pays for hospice?
Hospice is a benefit covered under Medicare, Medi-Cal, senior HMOs, regular HMOs and private insurance. Hospice pays for all medications, medical equipment and supplies that are related to the life ending disease.
When should we think of getting hospice help?
You can let your doctor know that you would like hospice care if it becomes appropriate. You are entitled to at least six months of care, but some doctors hesitate to talk about hospice for fear you will think they are “giving up.” Hospice is not giving up. Just like you, we hope you do well. Hospice is a way to be sure of the best care, no matter how things turn out.
Is hospice care just for people with cancer?
No. Most patients on hospice do not have cancer. They may have emphysema, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, kidney disease, Parkinson’s, or any of many other diseases. Some people do not have a certain disease, but seem to be declining from old age.
Who comes to visit us?
Hospice care is provided by a team. Each patient has a nurse case manager. You can decide if you would also like a hospice aide to give personal care, a spiritual care counselor to talk to, a social worker to assist with arranging practical matters, or a volunteer to run errands or keep the patient company.
How will hospice manage pain if it occurs?
Hospice usually treats pain aggressively. We know that pain interferes with eating, sleeping, visiting and general quality of life. Uncontrolled pain can also shorten life. The patient and family are always in control of their care and can decide how they want to treat pain.
Who decides whether we get hospice?
You do. Your doctor authorizes care, but you decide if you want this care or not. Sometimes the doctor calls hospice and asks us to contact you about hospice. Some families call hospice and have us contact the doctor to ask for authorization. Pathways will send someone, free of charge, to make an information visit if you need this.
My loved one lives in a nursing home. What can hospice do that they can’t?
Nursing homes are experts in long-term care. Hospice nurses are experts in symptom management and end-of-life care. Hospice nurses are best equipped to deal quickly with health problems that arise. Other benefits of hospice include more frequent personal care, volunteer visitors, paid medications and supplies, and bereavement follow-up for family members.
About Pathways Home Health & Hospice
Pathways Home Health & Hospice is a non-profit, community based organization celebrating its 35th anniversary. Pathways was founded in 1977 by a group of Stanford physicians who saw the community’s need for professional care at home. That year Pathways served 12 patients. Pathways now serves over 5,000 families a year in San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa Counties.
Affiliated with El Camino and Sequoia Hospitals since 1986, Pathways Home Health & Hospice is accredited by The Joint Commission, and is a member of the Visiting Nurse Association of America, California Hospice & Palliative Care Association, and the California Association of Health Services at Home.
Donations received from the community by Pathways Home Health & Hospice provide services that would otherwise not be available, including 24/7 access to a specialized team of care providers, family bereavement counseling and support, integrative therapies, caregiver support, comfort care, and funding for under- and uninsured patients.
For more information about Pathways services, holiday grief workshops, volunteering, or making a donation in support of Pathways’ families, call 1 (888) 755.7855 or visit http://www.pathwayshealth.org/