While, we understand that everyone’s situation is unique, many frequently asked questions are answered below.
What services are provided by hospice?
Emblem Hospice provides specialized care services including symptom management, assistance with daily living needs, emotional support, spiritual support, and bereavement support. We can help to address issues most important to the patient’s needs and wants at the end of their life by providing:
- Physicians and Nurse Practitioners
- Pain Management
- Skilled Nurses
- Social Workers
- Home Health Aides
- Emotional and psychological support
- Spiritual Care
- Respite Care
- Bereavement Support
Our focus is on the comfort of each patient, the importance of relationships, and helping to assist with a meaningful journey throughout the end of life experience.
How do I know when it is time for end-of-life care?
Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less of life expectancy. At that time, comfort care and symptom management become the primary focus, and curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option.
Our team works with the patient's physician to determine what is best for them. If a diagnosis has not been given, yet a patient's health is declining, Emblem can provide an evaluation to help the physician, patient, and family determine if hospice is appropriate.
Some signs and symptoms include:
- Observable deterioration in overall condition
- Progressive functional decline such as
- Increasing symptoms - shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, pain, etc
- Unexplained weight loss
- Decubitus ulcers (bed or pressure sores)
- Increased hospitalizations or emergency room visits
- Change in cognitive level in the past 3 -6 months
- Recurrent fever or urinary tract infections
How can I and my loved ones benefit from hospice services?
By choosing hospice soon after the terminal diagnosis, patients and families benefit in many ways.
- Effective pain and symptom management, resulting in fewer hospital and physician visits and increased function
- Decreased stress levels for patients and families
- Ability to focus on personal goals before death
- Assistance with daily living responsibilities
- Assistance with end of life preparations
- Emotional, spiritual, and psychological support for patients and families
- Better understanding and acceptance of the end of life process
Where is hospice care provided?
Hospice care is provided in a setting that best meets the needs of each patient and family. The most common setting is the patient’s home. Hospice care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals according to patient care needs.
Can my pain and symptoms be controlled at home?
Yes. Pain and other symptoms can usually be controlled in the patient’s home. If a symptom (i.e. pain, nausea or vomiting, or difficulty breathing) becomes a problem, the hospice nurse can be reached 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Pain and the patient's overall health status is assessed with each visit and care is adjusted accordingly.
Does Hospice provide 24-hour in-home care?
No. Hospice provides intermittent nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as to teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Hospice also provides intermittent home health aides to provide support including assistance with bathing, hygiene, grooming, skin care, ambulation and other activities of daily living. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime the need for support arises.
Can a hospice patient choose to leave hospice care?
Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice because they wish to resume curative treatment, or they may "graduate" from hospice care if they show signs of recovery and no longer meet the 6 month guideline. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit.
Can I live alone and still receive Hospice services?
Yes. Many patients have a strong desire to remain in their own home, even though they may live alone. As long as patients are physically and cognitively able to live independently, hospice services can be rendered in the home. Once a patient moves to a higher level of care and can no longer safely be in the home alone, Emblem staff can assist with the transition into a more appropriate care environment.
Can I go back to the hospital and still receive 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. Hospice patients generally only have the need for short hospital stays to stabilize a symptom and then are able to return home.
Is the decision for hospice care the same as giving up hope or waiting to die?
No! This is one of the most common misconceptions concerning hospice care. Hospice is about living at the fullest capacity, with the greatest comfort and peace of mind possible. Quality of life, easing of pain, and minimizing stress are the key objectives for hospice patients and their families. Our successes are in helping a patient and family focus on relationships, building memories, and helping each individual in dealing with loss.
Does hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
No. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortably as possible.
Does hospice provide support to the family after the patient dies?
Yes. Bereavement services are available to family and caregivers for 13 months following the patient’s death.
Grief is a natural part of loss, and no one who has experienced the loss of a loved one should need to face that grief alone. We offer individual and group counseling, support services, memorial services honoring each person who has passed, and a variety of resources to address individual needs.