The person can continue with their physician of choice while on Hospice. Hospice also has a Medical Director who oversees the program.
Hospice services are generally provided in the patient's home. This may be an apartment, assisted living, a friend or family member's home, or a nursing home. In order to receive services when residing in a nursing home or assisted living center, Hospice must have a contract with the facility.
Services are usually started at the request of the primary physician. However, inquiries can be made by the patient, family, friends, clergy or other health care providers. Hospice services are indicated when curative treatment will no longer be effective or is no longer desired by the patient. Permission of the patient or representative, Hospice Medical Director and primary physician are required.
Hospice care is provided by an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals and volunteers. The services routinely provided are nursing visits, social worker visits, hospice aide visits and pastoral care visits. Specially trained volunteers are available to assist when desired by the patient or family. Volunteers do not provide hands-on care. Other services provided when needed are physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and nutritional counseling. A Hospice nurse is on call 24/7. Hospice pays for medications, medical supplies and equipment related to comfort for the terminal illness.
Hospice care is appropriate for any person from birth forward who has an illness which cannot be cured and for which life expectancy is less than six months. Hospice is available for any illness, examples are: Stroke and Coma, Heart Disease, HIV, ALS, Alzheimer's Dementia, Lung Disease, Renal Disease, Cancer and any other disease in the terminal phase.
Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurances cover Hospice. Hospice cares for people regardless of insurance coverage. Hospice relies on donations and memorials to cover costs that exceed monies received from insurance.
Hospice patients do not have to be home bound and are encouraged to be as active as they wish.