When is the right time to learn about hospice care?

Posted on August 29, 2013 by ecrBayArea in Hospice & Palliative Care

Posted by Nancy Proctor, Hospice Services of St. Joseph HealthSt. Joseph Health Website

Knowing your options in advance can make future decisions less stressful, for you and for your loved ones. Although it is never an easy subject to consider, now is the best time to learn about the comfort and support that hospice has to offer. By educating yourself, you can make decisions that are right for you. It is never too early to start gathering useful information.

Hospice care is specialized medical care. The services of the entire hospice team, Licensed Nurses, Social Workers, Hospice Health Aides, Spiritual Support, trained Volunteers, and Hospice Physicians are offered to you. You can choose the services that feel right for you, and add or decline services at any time during the course of care. You remain in control, making decisions for yourself with the advice and support of your personal physician, and your family.

Like many other health services, hospice care is paid for by Medicare, Medi-Cal, VA, and Private Insurance. Hospice is a part of the Medicare benefit that you may have paid into for many years. Although you don’t have to use it, the Hospice Medicare Benefit is there for you when you need it. In addition to personalized care, many things that might make life more comfortable, such as medical equipment, medications, and some supplies, are provided at no cost to you. Care is available to anyone who qualifies for hospice services. No one is turned away for lack of funds.

One of the decisions you will make is which hospice provider to choose. There are four hospice agencies that serve Sonoma County, and you may select the one that feels like the best “fit” for you and your loved one. Any area hospice that you choose will partner with your own physician to give you the personalized care that you need. The hospice team will be there to support your goals of care throughout the course of your illness, and will continue to support your loved ones after.

Most hospice care is provided in the person’s residence, or in the residence of a friend or loved one. Care is also provided in Residential Care Facilities and Skilled Nursing Facilities. No matter where you call home, hospice care and support can be there for you. With hospice care in place, you and your loved ones can have peace of mind. There is less necessity for 911 calls, and urgent doctor visits: a licensed nurse, familiar with you and your needs, is available to you 24 hours a day/7 days a week, for telephone advice or to make a personal visit if needed. Hospice will help the staff of your care community understand your illness, your medications, and how best to provide for your individual needs. Your comfort, well-being, and safety are always the primary concerns of your hospice team.

If you would like to learn more about the Hospice services of St Joseph Health, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation informational visit with one of our knowledgeable staff members.

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