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What You Need to Know About Hospice Care: Five Important Facts

Hospice is currently one of the most misunderstood health care services. However, it can be one of the most poignant experiences not only for the person receiving care, but also for the entire family. While many people associate hospice with pain management during the final hours of life, the comforts of hospice go far beyond pain management, and the services can extend for months.

That is why it is important to know the facts so that you can make the best of this time. If someone you love has a life-limiting diagnosis and you would like to learn the facts about hospice, then we hope this article will be helpful to you.

The Facts About Hospice:

1. Hospice services are free, so you should take advantage of them.

While medical care can be expensive, Medicare and Medicaid cover the cost of hospice 100 percent in Texas and in most states. Many private insurance plans also cover hospice care.

“Having the cost covered gives many families and patients the extra peace of mind they need during a difficult time,” says Jessica Haecker, executive director of The Legacy at Home. “Thanks to the services and care it provides, many patients and families report that choosing hospice care was one of the best decisions they made.”

2. Hospice provides support for patients AND family members. 

Hospice patients receive care from an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, counselors, clergy, therapists, social workers, aides and volunteers. This team-oriented approach to providing hospice services ensures continuity of care so that the patient gets the best out of everyone around them and the family can spend more quality time together rather than coordinating care for their loved one.

Services provided by hospice generally include:

  • Management of the patient’s pain and symptoms
  • Assistance with the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying
  • Administration of drugs, medical supplies and equipment
  • Instructions for the family on how to care for the patient
  • Short-term inpatient care when pain or symptoms become too difficult to manage at home, or the caregiver needs respite time
  • Bereavement care and counseling for surviving family and friends

 

3. Hospice provides the highest quality of life possible – it does not hasten death.

The pervasive myth about hospice is that it hastens the patient’s death. Patients and families often opt for hospice care during the last days or weeks of life, but it’s important to know that hospice services can be provided for up to six months or longer. You might even be surprised to learn that patients are often discharged from hospice due to an improvement in their condition.

Under Medicare, hospice costs are covered for six months, but if the patient lives longer than six months, he or she may still receive hospice as long as the hospice medical director or hospice doctor recertifies the patient’s condition as terminal.

4. Patients and family members maintain control of their options.

Patients and family members have full control of whether or not to choose hospice services, and they have the right to change their minds at any point during the care if they choose to seek alternative treatment.

It is also important that families understand that hospice allows an individual to stay in the setting of their choice, whether at home or elsewhere. This ensures that they live their final days, weeks or months with the comfort of being in the setting of their choice.

5. Hospice provides comfort and emotional support.

Hospice is more than pain management during the last hours of life. What most people don’t know is that in addition to palliative care and other comforting supports that are good for the patient, hospice also provides emotional support for the family. Hospice provides vital spiritual and emotional comfort through counseling and support for both the patient and his or her family members.

The Legacy at Home is now providing hospice services!

The Legacy Senior Communities is pleased to announce the expansion of The Legacy at Home’s services with the addition of accredited hospice services. The Legacy at Home is the largest not-for-profit home health provider in Greater Dallas. The Jewish-sponsored agency offers comprehensive Medicare-certified home health care, personal assistance services, and now hospice services, all with the same level of distinction and professionalism that has defined its parent organization, The Legacy Senior Communities, for 65 years.

“With customized hospice services provided by The Legacy at Home, patients and their families can now choose the only not-for-profit, Jewish-sponsored hospice service in the Greater Dallas area that is accredited by the National Institute for Jewish Hospice (NIJH),” says Haecker.

While The Legacy at Home provides hospice care to people of all faiths, its services ensure that Jewish patients and their family members will receive care, comfort and support in keeping with Jewish traditions and customs.

“Hospice may be the newest line of The Legacy at Home, but our staff – from administration to direct patient care – has a combined 90 years of hospice experience,” says Haecker.

For more information on The Legacy at Home Hospice, call 972.244.7700, or visit www.thelegacyseniorcommunities.org/legacyathome.

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