choosing hospice care

Many of us assume we’ll always have a little more time with our aging parents or grandparents. Even when our loved ones are in the late stage of a serious illness, medical treatments may offer hope for longer life. But medicine can only take us so far.

Eight signs it may be time for hospice

  1. Frequent hospitalizations or trips to the ER
  2. Frequent or reoccurring infections
  3. Reduced desire to eat, leading to significant weight loss and changes in body composition
  4. Rapid decline in health over past six months, even with aggressive medical treatments
  5. Uncontrolled pain, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting
  6. Decreasing alertness, withdrawal, increased sleeping or mental confusion
  7. Inability to perform tasks of daily living, such as eating, walking, using the bathroom, personal cleaning or getting dressed
  8. Decision to focus on quality of life, instead of aggressive treatments.

The decision to begin care is highly personal, but know that patients or family members have the option to end hospice care and restart curative care at any time. Patients also have the option to transfer to a new hospice.

Where to begin

Talk to your family, your doctor and others you trust. Families often tell us they regret not enrolling in hospice care earlier.

Hospice is about improving quality of life. Patients receive intensive pain management, physical therapy, and home medical equipment. Patients and their families also have the option of connecting with social workers to help navigate the medical system and chaplains for spiritual care.

Hospice is a fully covered Medicare benefit

Coverage includes nurses, other caregivers, medicines, supplies and equipment, with no out-of-pocket expenses for the hospice diagnosis.

Hospice eligibility under Medicare requires that an individual is entitled to Medicare Part A and a doctor determines life expectancy is six months or less, if the terminal illness runs its normal course. Patients must forgo treatment for their terminal illness, but may continue all other medical treatments.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and choose hospice, you are eligible to receive care through Medicare Part A. This does not mean you are required to drop your Medicare Advantage plan. Hospice and Medicare Advantage plans.

Finding the right care

Making medical decisions during times of urgent need can be stressful. A good first step is having honest conversations about what matters most to you and your family? When you have a better understanding about your own needs and priorities, you can be bold about sharing those with hospice providers.

Palliative care options

Palliative care is an option for those seeking to reduce the symptoms, side effects and anxiety of a serious illness. Patients are not required to forego medical treatments to cure their illness. They receive care to reduce pain, other symptoms and the sometimes debilitating side effects of medical treatments.

Palliative care often includes goals of care conversations and advance care planning to provide a roadmap for future health care decision-making that can reduce stress on both patients and family members.

Starting hospice or palliative care

  1. If you have an immediate need, go to our location finder to find the phone number for the local office or call us 24/7 at 931-283-2986
  2. Complete a referral. Anyone can make a referral. Our admissions coordinator will promptly contact all responsible parties to plan consultations or patient assessments.
  3. Our admission team works directly with families and healthcare professionals on a personal care plan. We bring hospice care to wherever the patient calls home, whether in a private home, nursing home or long-term care community.

All locations are licensed in their state and certified by Medicare, VA Tricare and Medicaid.