1. WHEN SHOULD A DECISION ABOUT ENTERING A to Z HOSPICE CARE INC. PROGRAM BE MADE AND WHO SHOULD MAKE IT?
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. A to Z Hospice Care Inc. accepts patients who have a life-expectancy of six months or less and who are referred by their personal physician or a physician caring for the patient in the hospital.
2. SHOULD I WAIT FOR OUR PHYSICIAN TO RAISE THE POSSIBILITY OF A to Z HOSPICE CARE, INC., OR SHOULD I RAISE IT FIRST?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy or friends.
3. CAN A A to Z HOSPICE CARE, INC., PATIENT WHO DOES NOT DEMONSTRATE A DECLINE IN THEIR PHYSICAL CONDITION BE RETURNED TO REGULAR MEDICAL TREATMENT?
Absolutely. If the patient’s condition improves and the disease does not seem to be worsening, patients can be discharged from A to Z Hospice Care, Inc. and return to aggressive therapy or go on with their daily lives. If the discharged patient should later need to return, Medicare, Medi-Cal or insurance will allow the patient to return.
4. WHAT DOES THE A to Z HOSPICE CARE, INC., ADMISSION PROCESS INVOLVE?
One of the first things we do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient. A to Z Hospice Care, Inc has medical staff available to help patients who have no physician or request a change in physician. The patient will be asked to sign the consent forms when able. If the patient is unable to sign the consent forms due to his/her physical condition, then another family member or DPOA for Health Care will be asked to sign. The hospice consent form from Medicare and Medi-Cal also explains how electing the hospice benefit may affect other coverage.
5. IS THERE ANY SPECIAL EQUIPMENT OR CHANGES I HAVE TO MAKE IN MY HOME BEFORE HOSPICE CARE BEGINS?
A to Z Hospice Care, Inc. will assess, recommend, arrange and cover any necessary equipment. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses. A to Z Hospice endeavors to make hospice care as convenient and safe as possible.
6. DO I HAVE TO BE HOMEBOUND TO RECEIVE HOSPICE SERVICES?
No. Hospice is about living to the fullest. We encourage patients to continue to do what they enjoy. A to Z Hospice Care, Inc. team assists patients and families in achieving their goals as much as possible.
7. WHAT SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE DOES A to Z HOSPICE CARE, INC. PROVIDE PATIENTS?
A to Z Hospice Care, Inc. patients are cared for by a team consisting of a physician, a nurse, social workers, counselors, home health aides, spiritual counselors, therapists and volunteers. Each one provides assistance based on his or her own area of expertise. In addition, A to Z Hospice Care, Inc. provides medications, supplies, equipment, and other services related to the illness.
8. DOES A to Z HOSPICE CARE, INC., DO ANYTHING TO MAKE DEATH COME SOONER?
Hospice neither hastens or postpones dying. Just as health care personnel provide support and expertise during the time of child birth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.
9. IS CARING FOR THE PATIENT AT HOME THE ONLY PLACE A to Z HOSPICE CARE INC., CAN BE DELIVERED?
No. A to Z Hospice Care, Inc. patients receive care in their personal residences, and long term care facilities such as a skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities or a Board and Care.
10. DOES A to Z HOSPICE CARE INC. PROVIDE 24 HOUR IN-HOME CARE?
A to Z Hospice Care, Inc., provides at the bedside care if the patient is experiencing symptoms out of control. During this time the family is being taught how to appropriately care for the patient, thus the hospice care at the bedside will not be ongoing for an extended period of time. Staff members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime should the need for support arises.
11. CAN THE PATIENT GO BACK TO THE HOSPITAL IF THEY ARE ON HOSPICE CARE?
Yes, however many symptoms that would normally require hospitalization or an emergency room visit can be successfully managed at home by the hospice team, thus preventing the stress of hospitalization.
12. HOW DOES A to Z HOSPICE MANAGE PAIN?
A to Z Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it can address each. A to Z Hospice Care Inc., nurses and doctors are up to date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Spiritual Counselors and Social Workers are available as needed to address the emotional and spiritual pain experienced by the patient and family.
13. WHAT IS A to Z HOSPICE CARE INC., SUCCESS RATE IN BATTLING PAIN?
Very high. Using a combination of medication and counseling, most patients attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them. A large percentage of patients in pain are controlled without the use of injections or IV’s.
14. WILL PAIN MEDICATIONS PREVENT THE PATIENT FROM BEING ABLE TO TALK OR KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING?
Some patients experience increased sleepiness when first taking certain medications for comfort. This happens at times due to the fact that the patient is now resting comfortably. If it is the medication making the patient sleepy it usually improves within 3 days. A to Z Hospice Care, Inc., stays in contact with the patient and family to help meet their goals.
15. IS HOSPICE COVERED BY INSURANCE?
Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide, by Medi-Cal in California and by most private insurance providers. To be sure of coverage, A to Z Hospice can assist in determining eligibility for the Hospice program.
16. IF THE PATIENT IS ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE, WILL THERE BE ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO BE PAID?
The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the full scope of medical and support services for a life-limiting illness. Hospice care also supports the family and loved ones of the person through a variety of services. This benefit covers almost all aspects of hospice care with little expense to the patient or family.
17. DOES MISSION HOSPICE PROVIDE ANY HELP TO THE FAMILY AFTER THE PATIENT DIES?
Yes. We provide continued contact and support for caregivers for at least a year following the death of a loved one.
18. IS THE DECISION FOR HOSPICE CARE GIVING UP HOPE OR WAITING TO DIE?
No. Hospice is about living. A to Z Hospice strives to bring quality of life and comfort to a patient and their family. Our successes are in helping a patient and family live fully for as long as possible. Often patients will feel better with good pain and symptom management. Hospice is an experience of care and support, different from any other type of care.