When physicians determine that an illness is life-limiting or life threatening, the discussions between the patient and family members turn to transitioning to hospice care. It is very difficult for many families to hear the word hospice, particularly if they have had a long battle with an illness. There are a lot of myths and mistruths that surround the meaning of hospice care. It doesn’t mean that the person will die soon or that care only lasts for a limited period of time. It doesn’t mean that the patient must be bedridden or that the individual and family must give up hope. It just means that the type of care and support needs to change.
Hospice is a service that can be delivered in any number of settings. The most comfortable setting for most patients is in their home, surrounded by their family and friends. Hospice services can also be delivered in a hospital, in a nursing home, or in a residential hospice center. Hospice usually consists of a team of professionals where each one has a specific duty. Doctors and nurses tend to the medical needs. Home health aides tend to routine medical care, personal care needs of the patient, and helping out with other tasks in the home so that family can spend more time with their ill loved one. Social workers and counselors assist families with financial and legal matters, as well as support, counseling, and bereavement needs.
Most hospice care providers accept Medicare as a form of payment. As such, they are obligated to follow the rules and regulations that Medicare sets, including being certified as a Medicare provider. You may also inquire as to whether they are accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), an independent organization that evaluates and accredits healthcare organizations. The state of New York also requires that hospice providers be licensed through a state agency.
Hildebrandt Hospice Center is a residential hospice center in Greece, New York, which is a suburb of Rochester. The center is designed and furnished like an elegant hotel, and it has 11 beds for patients. The center takes patients whose care cannot be safely or appropriately managed in a home setting. The center allows family members and friends to visit on an unlimited basis. Supervised children and pets are also welcome.
Wesley Gardens offers long term care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and rehabilitation, in addition to hospice care. This allows the patient to age in place, without having to move between settings. Wesley Gardens coordinates hospice services with Lifetime Care, a non-profit hospice provider. The staff from both organizations provide professional care which gives family members time for self-care and respite.
St. Ann’s Community has a hospice care program that is licensed and certified. The program gives residents and patients the choice of which agency they want to provider their care. St. Ann’s makes referrals to the Visiting Nurse Service Hospice for patients that need short term pain and symptom management and end-of-life care in the Leo Center for Caring, a residential hospice center.
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