Home health care, pal­lia­tive care & hospice

C.A.R.E. - - Cancer -

Home health care

The main mission of home health care is re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, usu­ally af­ter hos­pi­tal­iza­tion. Home health care also pro­vides skilled nurs­ing care to mon­i­tor symptoms of ill­ness; mon­i­tor blood pres­sure, fluid sta­tus or blood glu­cose; give ed­u­ca­tion about ther­apy and make sure med­i­ca­tions are be­ing taken prop­erly.

Many as­pects of home health care may be cov­ered by Part A Medi­care.

Pal­lia­tive care

Pal­lia­tive care does not cure the dis­ease. It sim­ply aims to elim­i­nate phys­i­cal and emo­tional dis­com­fort to en­able a deeper fo­cus on living. Check with your in­sur­ance com­pany to see if pal­lia­tive care is cov­ered. Any per­son, of any age, with any type of can­cer, at ANY stage, may re­ceive pal­lia­tive care.

Hospice care

Hospice care pro­vides hu­mane and com­pas­sion­ate care for peo­ple in the last phases of in­cur­able dis­ease so that they­may live as fully and com­fort­ably as pos­si­ble. It­works to en­sure that one ap­proaches the end of life with con­fi­dence, peace, com­fort and dig­nity. This fo­cuses on qual­ity rather than length of life and is used when one’s life ex­pectancy is ap­prox­i­mately 6 months or less, if the ill­ness runs its pre­dicted course. Hospice care is fo­cused on com­fort and sup­port for the pa­tient and the whole fam­ily.

Home hospice is care at home, and is the­most com­mon form of hospice. In home hospice, a fam­ily mem­ber or close friend serves as the pri­mary care­giver and is re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing most of the care. For oth­ers with­out this sup­port, or­ga­nized care pro­grams can lend a help­ing hand. Hos­pi­tals, in­de­pen­dent hospices, nurs­ing homes and long-term care fa­cil­i­ties are all other po­ten­tial hospice care op­tions.

Hospice model of care

The hospice phi­los­o­phy em­braces the gen­eral prin­ci­ple of a com­fort­able death with dig­nity. The care and treat­ment pro­vided are based on the pa­tient’s and fam­ily’s goals and val­ues.

Hospice teams can in­clude doc­tors, nurses, so­cial work­ers, home health aides, pas­toral work­ers, vol­un­teers; and speech, phys­i­cal and mu­sic ther­a­pists.

You, your fam­ily and your doc­tors de­cide when hospice care should begin, and you and your fam­ily can start the con­ver­sa­tion.

Hospice care pro­vides:

• Pain and symp­tom con­trol

• Su­per­vi­sion of care at home or in a fa­cil­ity

• Spir­i­tual care

• Co­or­di­nated fam­ily meet­ings

• Be­reave­ment care for griev­ing loved ones af­ter a loss

Find­ing hospice providers

• Ask your doc­tor.

• Con­tact the lo­cal Depart­ment of Health to get a list of li­censed agen­cies.

• Call the Na­tional Hospice and Pal­lia­tive Care Or­ga­ni­za­tion at 800-658-8898 to get in­for­ma­tion on hospice pro­grams in your area. For help 24 hours a day, con­tact the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety’s Na­tional Can­cer In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter, 800-227-2345

Ques­tions to ask po­ten­tial hospice providers

• Is the agency cer­ti­fied and li­censed by a na­tion­ally rec­og­nized group, such as The Joint Com­mis­sion?

• Does Medi­care cer­tify it?

• Is the pro­gram li­censed?

• Does the agency have the nec­es­sary con­sumer in­for­ma­tion such as out­line of ser­vices, el­i­gi­bil­ity rules, costs, pay­ment pro­ce­dures, em­ployee job de­scrip­tions and mal­prac­tice/li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance?

• Are in­di­vid­ual care plans cre­ated for each new pa­tient?

• Does the agency re­quire you to have a pri­mary care­giver as a con­di­tion of ad­mis­sion?

• Are there pos­i­tive ref­er­ences on file about the home care staff

• How does the agency han­dle pay­ment and billing?

• Does the agency have a 24-hour tele­phone num­ber to call with is­sues? Is there an emer­gency plan?

• What are the in­pa­tient care poli­cies and how do they dif­fer from ser­vices of­fered in the home?

• How quickly can you start hospice care?

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