When Death is Near…
What is Hospice?
Hospice is a program of health care services designed to meet the special needs of patients and their loved ones in times of crisis and terminal illness.
The Dying Process
Dying is a natural part of life, but many people do not have experience caring for someone in their final days and find themselves navigating through new and unfamiliar territory. It is not uncommon to experience a wide range of emotions and a sense of uncertainty. At times you may feel that you are on a roller coaster, not knowing what to expect next. This booklet is designed to help you feel more confident in knowing that to expect and what you can do to care for someone in their final weeks and hours of life. Each person’s dying experience is unique to them, and no one can fully predict what it will be like or when it will occur. However, we hope the information contained in this booklet will provide some guidance and help.
Can Hospice make a difference?
Absolutely. Hospice care can dramatically impact the amount of pain and suffering experienced; providing quality time to live life comfortably and fully, with privacy and dignity, in your own home or care facility.
Who provides care?
Care is delivered by a team of professionals who address the patient’s needs on medical, physical, emotional and spiritual levels. The team is headed by an attending physician, registered nurse and with counselors and volunteers.
How is Hospice Care started?
Help is only one phone call away. The patient’s attending physician, the patient, family or any person concerned with a patient’s well-being can make a referral. Call us 1(800)TLC-9887. We will contact the patient’s physician for approval. Services can be started within 24 hours. TLC Home Hospice is a state licensed, Medicare certified and JCAHO accredited hospice agency.
Q: When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and by whom?
A: At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient or the Durable Power of Health Care.
Q: What does the hospice admission process involve?
A: One of the first things hospice will do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. TLC Home Hospice has Medical Directors to make visits to those patients without a physician. The patient or Durable Power of Healthcare will be asked to sign forms similar to those when entering a hospital. The “hospice election form” says that the patient understands that the care is palliative, that is, aimed at pain relief and symptom control rather than curative.
Q: If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?
A: TLC Home Hospice will first assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of. TLC supports the Loving Heart Hospice Foundation which will provide care for those who cannot pay based on the availability of funds.
Q: Must someone be with the patient at all times?
A: In the early weeks of care, it’s usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends must be relied on to give most of the care, TLC Home Hospice will provide volunteers to assist with errands and to provide a break and time away for major caregivers.