While the professionals at Heartstrings Hospice are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for our patients, we extend that same dedication to the family members and friends who help care for them. Part of our purpose is to provide the education and support that enable those close to the patient to understand and manage the end-of-life process. Our hospice services also include bereavement counseling, both before the patient's death and up to a thirteen months afterwards.
Patients and caregivers can take comfort in the fact that our staff goes above and beyond the standard requirements for hospice providers. Our skilled registered nurses visit patients on a weekly basis and more often as needed. Having our hospice medical director board certified in hospice and located on site offers another benefit in allowing us to respond more efficiently to patient needs as they arise.
WHAT IS HOSPICE?
The hospice philosophy holds that end-of-life care should emphasize the quality of life. Our objective is to treat the whole person not just the disease. The hospice philosophy focuses on the patient/family centered care unit. An interdisciplinary group of healthcare professionals works with the family unit to develop and implement a plan of care which is unique to that family. Additionally we provide most medications, services and equipment related to the admitting hospice diagnosis life-limiting illness. Hospice care does not end with the patient's death. Bereavement counseling can continue for up to thirteen months for family and loved ones.
IS HOSPICE CARE ONLY FOR CANCER PATIENTS?
We care for patients with any life-limiting illness in which the prognosis is six months or less if the illness runs its expected course. Some patients will live beyond the six month period and criteria. In addition to cancer, HeartStrings Hospice treats patients with ALS, Dementia/Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, renal disease, HIV/AIDS, failure to thrive and unspecified debility.
DOES ELECTING HOSPICE CARE MEAN GIVING UP HOPE?
Absolutely not! Hospice care shifts the focus from aggressive medical curative treatment to care which focuses on medical comfort and the elimination of pain and other symptoms. Studies have shown that hospice patients improve physically and emotionally because their home/family situations are stabilized, their economic concerns are reduced, their pain is reduced and their care is managed.
HOW DO I PAY FOR HOSPICE?
In the majority of cases you don't. Heartstrings Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans. Medicare's Hospice Benefit of 1983 was established by congress to ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries could access high quality end-of-life care. More than 80% of hospice patients are Medicare beneficiaries.
IS HOSPICE JUST FOR THE ELDERLY?
No. Hospice is for anyone who is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and meets the hospice criteria for admission. Hospices care for every age, from young children to mature adults. There are no age limitations for hospice care.
DOES HOSPICE CARE END AFTER THE PATIENT'S DEATH?
Not necessarily. If they wish the family/caregiver can continue to receive bereavement counseling and support for up to thirteen months after the death of the patient. Hospice social workers and chaplains receive additional training in order to assist families through the period after a loved one's death.
WHERE IS HOSPICE CARE PROVIDED?
Most hospice patients are cared for in their own home or a place they call home. According to a Gallup Survey, conducted for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, nine out of ten individuals would prefer being cared for in their home when diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. Ninety-Six percent of hospice care is provided in the patient's home or the place they call home.