When you are caring for a loved one, calling hospice can be one of the best ways to access tools to support the patient’s comfort as much as possible.
One challenge families often face is deciding on the right timing to begin hospice services – talking to a hospice provider is an excellent way to learn about your options and provide your loved one with the best timing for them.
When Do You Talk to A Hospice Provider?
It’s never too early to talk to a hospice provider. But, even when your loved one isn’t eligible for these services yet, scheduling a consultation with a hospice team is beneficial.
Too often, families delay a conversation about hospice. Rather than talking to a hospice provider like Avatar to prepare for all circumstances ahead of time, people delay reaching out because they want to delay the process. The truth is that hospice often brings renewed hope and a better lifestyle for the patient, and making that decision at the best time possible is the best thing you can do.
When the person receives specialized care and a higher level of support, it improves the quality of life and alleviates pain and discomfort.
Through these conversations, you gather information and know your options when the time comes in the future that you need hospice care. In addition, starting the process right now alleviates stress and confusing decisions in the future.
Signs Your Loved One Will Benefit from Hospice Care
Pay attention to the progression of your loved one’s illness and other signs that indicate they could benefit from hospice services.
Here are some of the most common signs that a patient can benefit from hospice:
- Frequent hospital admissions or visits to the emergency room
- Uncontrolled pain or other related symptoms
- Recurring infections
- Decreasing interest in eating
- Safety concerns at home, such as falling
- Reduced ability to manage daily tasks like hygiene, meal preparation, and eating
- Change in mental and cognitive capabilities
- Medical conditions requiring care, such as infections and wounds
- Declining health
- Unexplained weight loss
- Decrease in alertness or increase in mental confusion
When these signs are present, reach out to a hospice care provider to discuss possible treatment options.
Qualifying for Hospice Coverage
When a patient qualifies for hospice, it means that Medicaid, Medicare, or a private insurance plan will pay for the necessary services. One important step to receive this financial assistance is to have a doctor recommend hospice for the patient.
The physician must confirm that the patient has a terminal illness. Also, the patient’s prognosis must be six months or less based on the expected path of progression.
When a patient passes six months of hospice care, the person can continue receiving services. The doctor must recertify the patient’s eligibility for hospice.
One other qualification requirement is that the patient must decline curative treatment to receive hospice services. Since hospice care is designed to provide symptom management, it can’t coincide with other treatments for the illness.
Family Input for a Hospice Plan
Bringing in hospice providers is beneficial because it empowers the family in providing the best care possible for the patient. The hospice team collaborates with the patient and supporting family members to design a personalized treatment plan.
The good news is that hospice care doesn’t have to continue indefinitely. When a person is receiving hospice care, and their condition starts to improve, then they have the option to discontinue hospice and start receiving curative treatments again.
Ultimately, our goal at Avatar Healthcare is to offer the best quality support for both the patient and their family members. We listen to your needs and provide the customized support that you deserve.
Don’t Wait to Call Hospice
It’s common for families to wait until the last weeks or months before calling hospice. What the family didn’t know is that they could have accessed a variety of services much earlier, including medical supplies and equipment, specialized nursing care, medications, and any other medical support the patient needs.
The purpose of hospice is to help the patient manage pain and other symptoms related to their illness. This process not only improves the patient’s quality of life but also has a positive impact on alleviating stress on caregivers and close family members.
Our hospice care team offers the ongoing guidance you need as you navigate the many decisions that lie ahead. The goal is to give your family someone to lean on, so you can focus your time and attention on the things that matter most: creating memories with your loved one.
Hospice: Additional Layer of Support
Much of the conversation around hospice focuses on comfort care and medical treatments to alleviate symptoms. Hospice services include these medical services, as well as a range of other layers of support.
We work in partnership with families to help you access everything that is needed relating to the person’s well-being.
Hospice includes a team of support to address the person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Not only does the hospice team maintain contact with the doctor or primary care physician, but the care team also assists with pain management, social workers, chaplains, companionship, and bereavement counselors.
How to Get Started with Hospice Care
There are two ways to get started with hospice care: by talking to a doctor or talking to a hospice provider. You’ll need to speak to both the doctor and hospice care team, so it’s up to you to determine the way you would like to proceed.
Often, patients are referred to hospice care through their primary care doctor. First, the doctor certifies that someone is eligible for hospice services, then the family reaches out to a hospice care team to schedule a consultation.
But you don’t need to wait for doctor certification before having these conversations. A family can also recommend hospice care and contact our team at Avatar Healthcare. We’ll share information about available services and offer the referral and support you need when seeking doctor certification.
Getting started is easy – it only takes one phone call. Rest assured knowing that this no-obligation conversation is designed to offer information and empower you in the decisions you are making.
Our goal is to offer personalized care without making you feel pressured to accept a specific type of service. This hands-on approach provides customized solutions for every family.
Avatar Healthcare: Schedule a Consultation
You always have the ability to end hospice care and restart curative treatment as needed. So, it makes sense to discuss your options to ensure your loved one is receiving the ideal care for their current needs.
Many people agree that quality of life is the most important thing to focus on during this time. A hospice care team is here to have a conversation about the type of care that will suit the patient’s needs and wishes.