What is Hospice?
Hospice is not a place. It is a philosophy of care. A special kind of care for dying people, their families, and their caregivers that:
- Treats the physical needs of patients and their emotional and spiritual needs
- Takes place in the patient’s home, or in a home-like setting, hospital, or nursing home
- Concentrates on making patients as free of pain and as comfortable as they want to be so they can make the most of the time that remains to them
- Considers helping family members an essential part of its mission
- Believes the quality of life to be as important as the length of life. It affirms life. It neither hastens nor postpones death, but exists in the hope and with the belief that terminally ill patients and their families can live as fully as possible until the end of life.
- The patient has a terminal diagnosis, and the physician has determined a prognosis of 6 months or less, if the disease runs its normal course.
- The patient’s physician determines that aggressive or curative treatment is not desirable, and palliative care is the appropriate medical treatment.
- The patient is no longer receiving curative treatment for the disease, and has elected treatment goals toward the relief of symptoms, rather than a cure.
- The patient and family are aware of the diagnosis and prognosis and agree to hospice care in the home, or home-like setting.
- The patient has a primary caregiver, or caregivers, who maintain responsibility for the patient and participate in the physical care of the patient. If the patient does not have a primary caregiver at the time of admission, the patient and family are encouraged to have a plan for caregiving when the patient is unable to care for him/herself.
- St. Margaret’s offers palliative care to all terminally ill people and their families regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, creed, sexual orientation, disability, diagnosis, availability of caregiver, or ability to pay.
The patient and family can benefit much more from our services if referred earlier. Symptoms can be anticipated and prevented before becoming severe or requiring a hospitalization or emergency room visit. These symptoms can be successfully managed by the hospice team in the patient’s home. Too often, referrals for care are not made until the patient has uncontrolled symptoms or is near death. The patient’s and family’s quality of life can be greatly enhanced by an earlier admission.
The Medicare Hospice Benefit is covered under Medicare Part A. Under this benefit, the patient will receive a wide range of non-curative medical and supportive services for their terminal illness. The Medicare Hospice Benefit also supports the family and loved ones of the patient.
The Medicare Hospice Benefit includes:
- Physician Services
- Nursing Care
- Medication for symptom management and pain control
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Short-term inpatient and respite care
- Home Health Aide Care
- Social Work Service and Counseling
- Spiritual Care
- Volunteer Service
- Bereavement Services
Most private insurance companies recognize the benefits of hospice care and are willing to pay for hospice services. St. Margaret’s Hospice can contact your insurance company, with your permission, regarding the hospice coverage your individual insurance policy provides. The St. Margaret’s Hospice Social Worker is available to assist you in understanding and explaining your hospice benefit.
When you elect hospice care, Medicare and most insurances will not pay for the following:
- Treatment intended to cure your terminal illness
- Diagnostic testing that is not recommended by the hospice provider
- Medications unrelated to your terminal diagnosis
- Room and board in your home or if you live in a nursing home
- Care from another hospice that is not set up by your hospice
Patient Rights Only
As a patient of this hospice program, you can expect:
- Your reports of pain will be believed
- Information about pain and relief measures for your pain
- A concerned staff committed to pain prevention and management
- Health professionals who respond quickly to reports of pain
- Effective pain management
Spiritual Care is key to the work of Hospice. “Spiritual” issues and concerns are defined by the patient and addressed after permission from the patient. The patient and family are encouraged to continue any present relationships between their own church/religion and ministers. St. Margaret’s Hospice Spiritual Care Service offers:
- Non-judgmental listening
- Reassurance for patient and family
- A comforting presence
- Prayer when appropriate
Volunteers provide assistance for various activities. Many are relatives and friends of former hospice patients who, having seen how much St. Margaret’s Hospice can help, want to contribute to our good work.
To qualify to assist in patient care, volunteers must go through orientation and training sessions:
- Comfort Care − What you can do to help ease pain or discomfort
- Communication Skills − How being attentive with simple presence says it all
- Grief/Loss Process − Understand the journey
- Hospice Philosophy − Support the best quality of life as possible
- SMH Hospice Services − Know the mission, goals and values of our Team
We are looking for people interested in helping someone’s days become more meaningful. Volunteering for Hospice will make a difference in your life while you make a difference in the lives of others.
Do it for others, Do it for yourself!
- Feel you are needed
- See the difference you make
- Change your life
- Learn a new skill
- Make new friends
- Build self esteem
- Gain satisfaction
- Lower your stress level
- Increase your energy
Hospice Volunteers are appreciated. The following family comments reveal the need of someone like you!
“The Hospice team was wonderful to my Mom. She told everyone she could not understand why she deserved the special treatment that was given to her…she thought of them as family”
“Everyone involved were the exact type of people that should be doing this job. Kind, caring, and professional. They became like family in such a short time.”
Take this opportunity to gain valuable experience and a sense of accomplishment while your efforts benefit others as a Hospice Volunteer!