Working closely with your physician, family, and caregivers, our staff provide comprehensive, skilled health care services. Here are some commonly asked questions to help you understand hospice care.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is hospice?
Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a specific place. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts are provided to patients wherever they call “home,” whether it’s in a residence, skilled nursing facility or residential care facility. Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide medical, emotional, and spiritual comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. It neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Instead, it strives to control the symptoms that can cause pain and discomfort.
Who qualifies for hospice care?
Hospice is for anyone facing a life-threatening or terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less. Patients with cancer and non-cancer illnesses are eligible.
Does hospice make death come sooner?
Hospice care does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. It manages pain and discomfort. Hospice care is not about giving up. It’s built on the belief that every day of every life matters.
How does hospice manage pain?
Hospice’s success rate in battling pain is very high. Hospice nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain. Counselors and chaplains are available to assist patients and family.
Is the decision to seek hospice care permanent?
No. If a patient’s condition improves or if the patient and family so choose, they can be discharged from hospice care. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, they can resume services.
When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made?
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it’s appropriate to discuss a patient’s care options. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts is an option, and by law the decision belongs to the patient. Contact us to discuss your needs.
Who makes the decision about entering hospice?
Ultimately the decision is made by the patient, with consultation with his or her physician and the family, during a life-limiting illness. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts is available during the decision-making process to discuss all care options.
What makes hospice care different?
Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts treats the person not the disease. The emphasis is on palliative care, which means the hospice team members, under the direction of a physician, work to help the patient feel more comfortable. The goal is to enable the patient to live as fully and comfortably as possible.
What kind of support is provided the family?
Support of the whole family is an important part of the hospice care plan. Hospice Services of Massachusetts and Hospice of Western & Central Massachusetts considers the whole family in decision-making, with the patient’s choice as the primary concern for determining care.
What is the hospice interdisciplinary team?
Hospice care is provided by a team of hospice staff members who coordinate efforts on behalf of the patient and family. The team of professionals includes doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, home health aides, social workers, spiritual counselors, therapists and trained volunteers.
Who pays for hospice care?
Hospice care is fully reimbursed by Medicare and by Medicaid. Most other health plans and private insurances cover hospice services fully, but some may require that the deductible be met and/or may have a co-payment.
When is the hospice team available?
Some of the hospice team members are available to offer support and makes visits to the patient and family in their home environment. All hospice programs have 24-hour telephone call service available seven days a week.