Is hospice care right for you?
We’ve collected a few answers to some commonly asked questions about hospice care.
Yes. In addition to cancer, we accept patients with many diagnoses including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), failure to thrive, chronic degenerative neurologic disease, dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, liver disease, pulmonary disease, renal failure, stroke, coma and non-specific terminal illnesses.
Ohio’s Hospice can help anyone living with a life-limiting disease. Though many hospice patients have cancer, we also have great expertise in providing comfort and symptom control for patients in the final stages of lung, heart and kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and other types of dementias, stroke, neuromuscular diseases, AIDS and many other illnesses. Hospice care can also be beneficial for those in a severe state of decline due to frailty or other disorders associated with aging.
Not always. Many physicians hesitate to broach the subject of hospice because they don’t want to take away hope. Frequently, they will continue to pursue treatment because they assume that’s what patients want. In other cases, such as congestive heart failure or COPD, it can be difficult for doctors to predict the rate of a patient’s decline. When a doctor does mention hospice, even casually, you should discuss it immediately. In fact, he or she may actually be relieved if you bring up the subject. It is important you understand the benefits of curative versus comfort care, and that you and your doctor share the same goals for maintaining quality of life.
A report in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management cites a study that concludes hospice care can extend the lives of some terminally ill patients. Longer lengths of survival were found in four of six disease categories in the study. The greatest difference was found among patients with congestive heart failure, where the average survival period jumped by 81 days. Survival periods were also significantly longer for hospice patients with lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, while marginally longer for colon cancer patients. Researchers attribute the outcomes to avoiding the risk of over treatment and improved monitoring and treatment of conditions. The interdisciplinary approach addressing emotional, spiritual and physical health was also ranked high for contributing to extended patient well-being.
Hospice eligibility requires a prognosis of less than 6 months, but patients who survive that period can be recertified for hospice care within specified time frames to determine if they remain eligible for hospice care.
Yes. Patients always have the right to choose what type of care they receive and can change their course of care. If they and their physicians decide to try another approach, we will assist them in making that transition.
Hospice care is a right and a benefit of Medicare and Medicaid. Most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations also include hospice care as a benefit. Thanks to community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts, Ohio’s Hospice is able to provide patients who are unable to pay with free services. Patients are never turned away because of cost considerations.
Click here to read more about the cost of hospice care.
Hospice services covered under the Medicare benefit are provided at no cost and include the services of nurses, physicians, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and home health aides. The availability of nursing assistance by phone 24/7 and bereavement support for families are also services unique to hospice. Medications and equipment required for treatment of the terminal diagnosis are also covered and require no out-of-pocket expenditure by patients.
Our services have earned a reputation as the standard for hospice care not only in the Miami Valley but also across the nation. We can provide a vast array of resources and support to patients and families, including home health aide support for every patient – personalized to their individual needs and daily activities. With the largest physician staff and Focused Care Advance Practice specialists to address disease specific problems, Ohio’s Hospice is capable of addressing the individual needs of patients better than any other hospice provider in the area.
Palliative care may be appropriate when patients need comfort care but are not yet hospice eligible. Palliative care is primarily directed at providing relief to a terminally ill person through symptom management and pain management. The goal is not to cure, but to provide comfort and maintain the highest possible quality of life for as long as life remains. Well-rounded palliative care programs also address mental health and spiritual needs.