Hospice is not a place but rather a type and philosophy of care. Hospice care provides comfort and support both to patients with advanced illness and also to their families. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for patients by addressing each patient’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.
Considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury, hospice and palliative care involve a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the person’s needs and wishes. Support is provided to the person’s loved ones as well.
The focus relies on the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free with dignity, and that our loved ones will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
Who can receive hospice care?
Hospice care is for anyone who has a condition that is considered terminal – the person who will live six months or less if the disease or condition runs its normal course. The patient, family and physicians understand that the focus of hospice care is on pain, symptom management and comfort and not a cure.
Where does hospice care take place?
Hospice is a philosophy of care and can be delivered in any setting. Most people receive hospice care in their homes. Hospice care can also be done in an independent living community, assisted living residence, skilled nursing home or a hospital.
Can I still use my own doctor?
Hospice physicians work closely with your doctor to determine a plan of care.
How is hospice care paid for?
Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs and other managed care organizations. Divine Mercy also has programs to care for indigent and uninsured patients.
What if I enter hospice and change my mind?
If a person changes his or her mind, he or she can be discharged from hospice and return to regular treatment and the health care system.
When should a decision be made to enter hospice – and who makes it?
At any time during a life-threatening illness when a cure is not possible, it is appropriate to discuss hospice. The decision belongs to the patient, family and the physician. Hospice care is most beneficial when there is sufficient time to manage symptoms and establish a trusting relationship.
What is Comfort Care?
Comfort Care is defined as a type of care given to those with a serious condition who have chosen to forego extraordinary or disproportionate means of preserving or prolonging life. The goal of care changes from curative treatment to a focus on maintaining comfort in all spheres of life – physical, social, spiritual, emotional. Ordinary care would be continued and individualized to the particular patient’s needs and preferences for medication, testing etc., and is intended not to accelerate or postpone death, but rather to ensure a comfortable natural end of life. For example, oral intake would be continued as possible, with medical assistance of nutrition and hydration available when not excessively burdensome.
Where is care provided?
Hospice focused on Comfort Care, not curing and, in most cases, care is provided in the person’s home.
In addition, Hospice Care is provided in freestanding hospice centers, hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Who can receive care?
Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race or illness.
What if I’m not Catholic?
Divine Mercy will accommodate the needs of people of all faiths, however, we will NEVER provide services inconsistent with the teachings and principles of the Catholic faith. If patient, or party responsible for patient requests services inconsistent with those Catholic teachings, Divine Mercy will respect the wishes of the responsible party and refer the patient to another hospice provider.