Q. Are all hospice programs the same?
A. All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services and programs may differ.
Q. Do families have to pay for hospice care?
A. Hospice care is a Medicare benefit. Most private insurers also cover hospice care as well.
Q. Do patients have to give up their own doctor?
A. Patients may keep their own physician, who will work closely with our Agapé Hospice Medical Director to plan and carry out care.
Q. Do patients only receive hospice care for a limited amount of time?
A. The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meet the criteria necessary. Patients may come on and off hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed.
Q. Do you treat more than just physical pain?
A. Each of us is more than a physical being and care must be holistic - addressing the body, mind, spirit and social dimensions. This is why the Agapé Hospice approach to healthcare includes physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, spiritual care professionals, certified nursing assistants and volunteers.
Q. Does Hospice mean that the patient will soon die?
A. Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up hope or that death is imminent. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the more opportunity there is to stabilize your medical condition and address other needs. Some patients actually improve and may be discharged from hospice care.
Q. Does Hospice provide 24-hour care?
A. The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, and bereavement counselors) visits patients intermittently, and are available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for support and care.
Q. How are hospice services paid for?
A. Our services are covered by most typical methods of payment. Hospice services are covered through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.
Q. How are patients referred to Agapé Hospice?
A. Anyone can refer a patient to Agapé Hospice. Many times friends or families will call because they need help. We take the initiative from there and will have the necessary conversations with other family members, the prospective patient and the physician in order to get services started.
Q. How can Agapé Hospice help the family?
A. We care for both patients and family members. One of the wonderful things about hospice care is that we treat the patient and family as a unit. We focus on meeting the patient’s goals, while making sure the family members are receiving the support they need - spiritually and psychosocially. We are here to help. We support the patient, the caregiver and the family. We do not want anyone to walk their journey alone.
Q. How does Agapé Hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?
A. Many patients may have pain and other serious symptoms as their illness progresses. The hospice team receives special training to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress. Our comforting and compassionate staff works with the patient’s physician to make sure that medication, therapies and procedures are designed to achieve the goals outlined in the patient’s care plan. The care plan is reviewed frequently to make sure any changes and new goals are in the plan.
Q. Is Hospice a place?
A. Hospice care usually takes place in the comfort of your home, but can be provided in any environment in which you live, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and residential care facilities.
Q. Is Hospice just for the patient?
A. Hospice focuses on comfort, dignity, and emotional support. The quality of life for the patient, but also family members and others who are caregivers, is the highest priority.
Q. Is Hospice only for cancer patients?
A. A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, dementia, chronic lung disease, or other conditions.
Q. What kind of care is provided once a patient is admitted to hospice?
A. A team of physicians, nurses, social workers, certified nursing assistants, counselors, chaplains and specially trained volunteers work with the patient and their caregiver to coordinate a plan of care. All visits are based on the patient and family needs as described in the care plan and the condition of the patient during the course of illness. The frequency of volunteers and spiritual care is often dependent upon the family’s request. Agapé Hospice provides comforting and compassionate care that includes:
• Managing the patient’s pain and symptoms
• Assisting the patient with the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of dying
• Providing needed medicines, medical supplies and equipment
• Coaching the family on how to care for the patient
• Providing bereavement care and counseling to surviving family and friends
Q. When is the right time to ask about hospice?
A. Now is the best time to learn more about hospice and ask questions about what to expect from hospice services. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern. This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice is needed. By having these discussions in advance, patients can make an educated decision that includes the advice and input of family members and loved ones.
Q. Where are hospice services provided?
A. We care for patients wherever they reside - private homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or hospitals.