More than 90 percent of hospice patients are served where they live and are most comfortable – at home, making hospice care at home very popular. However, some people and families may be hesitant to welcome strangers into care for their loved one, let alone a whole team of them. Families may see this as an invasion of their privacy or feel that they have been doing a pretty good job on their own up to this point.
Hospice is Your Care, Your Way
While you are assigned a care team – physician, nurse, aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer – visits are scheduled at a time you have agreed upon. Most often your hospice care at home team members will visit one at a time. They are there not only to provide care for the patient, but to provide family members with education, resources, and support. The team looks to you for information and guidance to help them better meet your needs. They will be respectful and understanding with the patient. As you get to know them, you will find yourself looking forward to their visits.
What is Included in Hospice Care at Home?
Once the admission process is completed, the hospice team will communicate with the patient’s physician and the hospice physician to discuss the patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and life expectancy.
Your Hospice Care at Home Team Develops an Individualized Plan of Care
- The team’s social worker provides emotional and psychosocial assessments to the plan of care.
- Hospice Chaplains will contact the patient and/or family to discuss spiritual care needs so that care can be provided in a manner respectful of the patient’s and family’s spiritual/religious beliefs.
- Volunteers are available by request. They can provide companionship for the patient and support for the family by way of respite, running errands, and other tasks.
- Regular visits by individual members of the team are scheduled so you will know when to expect them.
- Any necessary medical equipment will be delivered to, including but not limited to:
- Hospital Bed
- Bedside Toilet
- Necessary medications will also be delivered.
- Family caregivers receive information and education to help you manage your loved one’s pain and symptoms, even as they change.
- Patients and families have access to help and support seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.
- If pain and symptoms cannot be managed at home, patients and families have exclusive access to our home-like, inpatient hospice care centers.
- Our inpatient hospice care centers also offer respite care for families as provided for by the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
Your team considers all perspectives including input from the patient and family, physicians, and team members to develop your own personalized plan of care. Team members meet weekly to review and revise the plan based on the patient’s condition.
Best of all, hospice care is your care, your way. The patient and family are the experts on what they want and need from care. Your team takes their cues from you, so they know how to provide the best care and support for you and your loved one.
Don’t Wait to Get the Care and Support Hospice Offers
People say it far too often – “We wish we had called hospice sooner.”
Once families experience the care and support both they and their loved one receive under hospice care, they wish they had taken advantage of the full Medicare Hospice Benefit
. It provides for months of care that manages pain and symptoms and provides education and support for family caregivers. Many people only receive weeks, even days, of hospice care.
If you or a loved one are living with a life-limiting or terminal illness, you can make a referral for care yourself. Lower Cape Fear LifeCare’s team will perform an assessment to see if hospice care is appropriate. If it is, they will work with your doctor to ensure you get the care and support you need, You can make a referral on our website
, or give us a call at 800-733-1476 to find out more.
Kelly Erola, MD, FAAHPM, FAAFP, is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, based in Wilmington, NC, where she has worked since 2017. Previously, she was Chief Medical Officer for Hospice Savannah, Inc. for 16 years and physician leader of the Steward Center for Palliative Care. Dr. Erola is board certified in hospice and palliative care medicine and has been involved full-time in palliative care since 2002.