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FAQs for hospice care

FAQs for hospice care

Below are some of the frequently asked questions about hospice care through Good Samaritan Hospice. Please don’t hesitate to call the respective facility or our administrative headquarters at 724-933-8888 if you don’t see your question listed here.

Q. Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
A. The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy or friends.
Q. When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make it?
A. At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping aggressive effort to “beat” the disease. Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and always available to discuss them with the patient and family.
Q. How difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?
A. It is never easy and sometimes can be quite hard. At the end of a long progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and scary. So hospices have staff available around the clock to consult by phone with the family and make night visits if appropriate. Hospice can also provide trained volunteers to provide “respite care” to give the family members a break and time away for primary caregivers. Hospice can also provide a 5-day respite stay at an inpatient setting.
Q. How does hospice manage pain?
A. Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain is just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it can address each. Hospice doctors and nurses are up to date on the latest medications for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational therapists can assist patients to be mobile or help with positioning. Hospice also may use music therapy and massage to help provide pain relief. Hospice provides clergy and counselors to help patients and families with emotional and spiritual pain.
Q. Is hospice covered by insurance?
A. Hospice coverage is widely available. It is provided by Medicare nationwide and by most private insurance providers. Families should check with their health insurance provider and find out about any co-payment.