What is hospice? Hospice is a compassionate approach to end-of-life care. The goal of hospice is to help people with serious illness live life fully, maintain their dignity and keep personal control over their lives. Hospice provides palliative care management, which includes: emotional and spiritual support to patients and their families who are facing life-limiting illness in homes, hospitals and nursing homes. Hospice is available to anyone with an illness whose life expectancy is measured in months, rather than years.
Why hospice? Unique physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial needs occur during each phase of a terminal illness. Hospice provides experienced and skilled specialists who understand the help and support that is needed during this difficult time. The hospice team works with the attending physician and family to develop the plan of care, which meets the patient and family needs and wishes.
Who uses hospice care? Hospice serves individuals of any age and with any terminal illness, including cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, neurological illnesses, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Alzheimer’s disease, cirrhosis, leukemia, and many others.
When is the right time to contact hospice? At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient's care options, including hospice. When curative treatments are no longer effective, hospice care is appropriate. Federal law requires a doctor to certify that the patient’s life expectancy is six months or less.
Will my doctor tell me when hospice is appropriate for me or my loved one? Sometimes, but not always. Many times it may be up to the patient or family member to start the discussion about hospice. You are free to contact us to help determine if hospice care may be appropriate and whether to discuss it with your doctor.
What exactly is provided? The specific Hospice services offered by Intermountain Homecare include: registered nurses, consultant physician, nursing assistants, chaplain services, social work services, therapies (physical, occupational, speech), dietary counseling, medications, medical supplies and equipment related to the life-limiting illness, short-term inpatient care, respite care, trained volunteers, and bereavement support.
How do I get involved with hospice services? There are two ways. Your doctor or hospital case manager may call, or you may call us directly. If you or someone from your family calls, we will contact your doctor to discuss the illness and verify that hospice is medically appropriate. The patient is admitted to Intermountain Homecare Hospice Services by signing a consent form electing hospice care.
Can a hospice patient continue with his or her own doctor? Yes. Hospice nurses will work with the patient's doctor on all aspects of care. The local Intermountain Homecare Hospice Medical Director is available for consultation with the patient's doctor.
Is Hospice care available 24-hours a day? The Hospice nurse is available 24 hours a day by phone to assist with questions or emergencies and can make a home visit if needed. Hospice pharmacies are available off-hours to ensure that changing medication needs can be met at any time.
Who pays for Hospice? Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance plans and HMOs. Patients without adequate insurance or limited resources can apply for special financial assistance, which is supported by donations to Intermountain Homecare.
Is caring for the patient at home the only place hospice care is offered? The majority of Hospice care is provided to patients at home (personal residence, assisted living, or long term care facilities). Some patients receive services in hospitals.
What is bereavement support? Bereavement refers to the process of grieving and mourning and is associated with a deep sense of loss and sadness. Bereavement services are provided to surviving family for at least one year after the death of a patient. Bereavement services include ongoing contact with family members/caregivers, bereavement support groups, written educational materials for coping with grief that are mailed, and referral to outside counseling as needed for those experiencing complicated grief. Intermountain Homecare provides the following bereavement support services:
- Follow-up supportive services to bereaved family members for twelve months.
- Mailing of educational materials and intermittent follow-up contact and support.
- Bereavement support groups are facilitated by specially trained clinicians. Support groups are offered free of charge and are open to the general public.
- Referrals to community services.
How can I learn more about Hospice? To obtain further information, to apply to be a volunteer, or to inquire about Hospice community speakers, please call the nearest Intermountain Homecare office.