QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Who is eligible to receive hospice care?

Any patient diagnosed with a terminal illness who is not currently receiving aggressive treatment is eligible to receive hospice care.

Who should make the decision about electing hospice and when?

It may be time to consider hospice care if aggressive efforts to treat a disease are creating more distress, pain and harm than good. Patients and families can request hospice at any time as part of your care options. Your physician would then write an order for hospice services.

Who can refer a patient to the hospice program?

Physicians normally refer a patient to hospice when the prognosis or disease outcome appears poor. Families and loving caregivers are the most ideal advocates for their loved ones. Please do not hesitate to approach the option of hospice care with your physician.

What is the admission process for Lakeside Hospice?

Once a decision is reached, our hospice will work with families to immediately arrange for services. We believe it is very important for a trained nurse to visit patients and their family in the home or hospital prior to discharge. We consult with the patient’s physician to determine hospice appropriateness, evaluate the patient’s medical condition, thoroughly explain our services and completely answer any questions patients or families may have. There is some paperwork to be signed, then nursing care will be scheduled, along with delivery of medical equipment and medications.

Who pays for hospice care?

Medicare, Medicaid, HMOs, VA and most private insurance plans provide 100% coverage of all hospice related care, medications and supplies. More than 80% of hospice patients are over 65 years of age and qualify for Part A Medicare coverage. Private insurance coverage is often the same as what Medicare provides.

Can the hospice patient continue care under their own physician?

Yes. Lakeside Hospice’s Medical Director is available for consultation with the patient’s physician and the hospice nurses will work with your physician through all aspects of care.

How long does it take to receive hospice care?

Hospice care almost always starts the same day of your phone call.

How often will a Lakeside Hospice team member visit the patient?

We are committed to providing the highest level of care to our patients and their families. With that goal in mind, our nurses develop a visit schedule to meet the individual needs of your loved one. As a patient’s needs change, our nursing visits may increase.

Because changes in a patient’ s condition are expected, symptom assessment and nursing visits are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Will the same nurse and hospice aide visit regularly?

Yes. Lakeside Hospice assigns a core team to each individual patient led by the nurse case manager. These team members are your loved one’s regularly scheduled medical care providers and will also include on-call nurses for late night or weekend care.

Where does hospice care take place?

Most hospice care is provide in our patient's homes, at nursing homes or at an inpatient hospice house.

What are the differences between home health care and hospice care?

There are several differences between the two types of care:

-Home healthcare is a wonderful resource for individuals who require care after an illness. The focus of home health is to assist patients in resuming their normal activities of daily living and to restore a patient who expects to recover to a healthy functional level for the future. While hospice encourages patients to continue their daily activities, we recognize the challenges of an advancing disease can cause limitations in living a normal life. Our goal is to maximize quality of life while minimizing the impact of these limitations with proactive symptom management.

-Home health is an aggressive form of care which mainly includes nursing and physical therapies focused entirely on the patient. Hospice is a more holistic care approach by a specialized team focused on comfort and symptom control. Hospice care takes into account the care of the family and caregivers, as well as that of the patient.

Are patients confined to the home or bedbound under hospice care?

Absolutely not! Our patients are encouraged to live a full and active life as far as their disease allows.

How does hospice manage pain?

Our hospice and palliative care nurses will provide your loved one with the most effective treatments and medications for symptom management and pain control.

What is Lakeside Hospice's success rate in managing pain and controlling symptoms?

Very high. We partner with an established local pharmacy with an excellent reputation. Our nurses work closely with the pharmacy staff to make sure pain is properly managed for our patients. Medications are available in a variety of forms for the patient's comfort: oral, rectal, sublingual (under the tongue) and topical gel.

Must caregivers be family members?

Lakeside Hospice offers support to the patient and whomever the patient wants involved in their care, regardless of relationship.

Must a caregiver always remain with the hospice patient?

The need for constant caregiving may be unnecessary in the early stages of care when the patient is still ambulatory and functional. However, as the disease progresses and the patient becomes more dependent on their loved ones, more vigilant caregiving will become necessary in order to maintain patient hygiene and to monitor medication and comfort levels. Families often bond as members share shifts of time caring for their loved one. Hospice volunteers are also available for occasional caregiver respite.

Does choosing hospice mean the patient is giving up hope that there is nothing more the doctors can do to prolong life?

Physicians and patients turn to hospice when treatment for a disease is no longer effective in fighting it. Lakeside Hospice focuses on quality of life and comfort care, not curative care, emphasizing symptom management and pain control. Far from giving up hope, hospice enables patients and their families to achieve their goals and fulfill their wishes in the time they have remaining.

Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home for hospice?

Our hospice team will assess the patient's needs and arrange for any necessary equipment delivery to the home.

If I choose hospice services in the nursing home will the nursing home staff feel they were not doing a good job?

Lakeside Hospice works in close partnership with the staff at many nursing homes and has a well respected reputation within the medical community. While the nursing home staff provides ongoing expertise in geriatric and chronic illness care, hospice provides specialized pain and symptom management for the resident. Our nursing home partners appreciate the added experience and skill provided during visits by the nurse, hospice aide, social worker and chaplain. In addition, Lakeside Hospice provides emotional and bereavement support to the nursing home staff who have developed long-term relationships with their residents.

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular treatment?

Yes. If your loved one’s condition improves or the disease moves into remission, they may be discharged from hospice care and return to curative therapy. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies allow additional coverage should the patient need to return to hospice care.