Hospice Care

Life-Affirming Hospice Care for Those with Advanced Illness

Hospice is a philosophy of care that treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on affirming life. Hospice surrounds the patient and family with a hospice care team consisting of professionals who not only provide physical comfort, but emotional and spiritual support as well. Partners In Care offers patient-centered care; we recognize that each patient and family has unique needs, and those direct the individualized care plan from our hospice team.

Hospice care is a medical specialty for people living with an advanced, terminal illness and not expected to recover. Based on the individual, hospice care is tailored for specific needs and offers a wide range of support from light intervention to intensive support available in the last months of life. Hospice care is available when disease-modifying therapies are no longer an option or when these treatments no longer meet the goals of the patient. The focus and philosophy of our team is to tailor the end-of-life experience around a person’s wishes and lifestyle, while maximizing dignity, quality of life, and comfort.

We recognize that many of our patients want to remain in their homes for their final days, so most hospice care services are delivered at the patient’s home, or wherever they call home, with visits based on the patient’s needs. This can include management of discomforting physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, and fatigue. Home visits may include a hospice nurse, social worker, hospice aide, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist, dietician, or spiritual support. Hospice services can also include medical equipment needed for rest, comfort, or mobility. 

The team at Partners In Care emphasizes a life-affirming philosophy that focuses on the whole person as well as the needs of their family. We recognize that patients don’t face their terminal illness alone. Their family is facing it, too. Partners In Care helps families provide the very best care for their loved one by providing an additional layer of support with end-of-life care professionals. Chaplains and social workers are also available to help you and your family work through the emotions and stress of this difficult time.

We know caring for a loved one at end of life can be challenging. When you need to travel or may need respite, or skilled end-of-life needs become too difficult to care for at home, Partners In Care patients and families have the option of utilizing our new in-patient Hospice House. Here you will be surrounded by a skilled end-of-life care team in a beautiful and peaceful setting for families to gather and focus on their loved one.

When your loved one passes away, our team is still here to support you. Our bereavement team will work with your family to provide grief support throughout your grieving process. We offer one on one grief counseling, and we offer numerous grief support groups throughout the year.

Hospice care doesn’t mean giving up. It means you want your loved one to have all the care and support available to them. Partners In Care is your partner in giving your loved one the best possible care.

“It takes a special kind of person to care enough to take the time for others, to do whatever it takes to help someone out. We cannot fully express in words our deep appreciation for your kindness and committed care of our mother. Everyone who helped were deeply vested in not only what she needed for her comfort, but our entire family as well. Every one of you holds a place in our hearts. For everything you have done, for everything you have given, thank you.”

- Dan and Sheryl

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Hospice Care FAQs

There are many questions and myths about hospice. These questions and answers will give you get a better understanding of what hospice care is and how it can benefit you or your family.
What is hospice care?

One of the most common questions we receive is “what is hospice care?” You may be experiencing some confusion around what hospice care is and what hospice care is not.

Hospice is a philosophy of care. It treats the person rather than the disease and focuses on quality of life. Hospice supports the patient and family with a team consisting of professionals who not only address physical comfort, but emotional and spiritual needs as well. Hospice care is patient-centered; yours and your family’s unique needs drive the excellent care our team provides.

It is also important to clarify what hospice is not – hospice is not hastening death. Instead, at Partners In Care, it is about affirming life for whatever time is left, and making our patients as comfortable as possible.

When is the right time for hospice care?

Hospice care is available when a person has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and the person is no longer pursuing curative treatment options. Seriously ill patients who have decided that their priority is to have the best quality of life possible are the people who are best suited for hospice. People receiving hospice care are focusing on comfort, rather than treating an illness.

Who is eligible for hospice?

If you or your family member has been diagnosed with a life limiting illness and not expected to recover, and experiencing a continued decline in health, hospice care may be the right approach. A person receiving hospice care is changing the focus from aggressive, curative treatments, to comfort and quality of life. Often patients turn to hospice because they are anxious or depressed, or they are feeling spiritually distressed because of their medical condition. Hospice specializes in easing pain, discomfort, and distress on all levels. The care provided by hospice is often helpful for conditions such as cancer, heart disease, COPD (emphysema), and advanced dementia.

If you have questions about whether or not you qualify, please contact our friendly team at Partners In Care. We’re happy to discuss your situation and help you determine the best course of care.

What types of support can I expect with hospice?

Hospice care surrounds the whole family with compassionate care, not just the patients we are serving. Initially, you will receive a consultation with the hospice care team to determine the best direction for care, as Partners In Care focuses on the unique needs of the patient and family. Nurses work directly with our specialized medical team to provide ongoing symptom management and oversight of medical care for hospice patients. Certified Home Care Aides provide assistance with personal care, such as bathing. Our Social Workers provide resources and ongoing emotional support for both the patient and family, while our chaplains provide spiritual care based on the patient’s values and belief system. Our team also offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dietary services to provide education and support the caregiver when our hospice team is not present. We are also able to provide durable medical equipment and medications to make our patients as comfortable as possible during this period.

Isn't hospice "giving up"?
Not at all! This is one of the greatest misconceptions about hospice care. Although you or your loved one’s condition may have reached a point that a cure is not likely—or not worth the side effects of treatment—that does not mean there is nothing left to do. In fact, an emphasis on quality of life and easing pain and distress often allows the patient to spend time focusing on the things that are ultimately the most important and meaningful. Far from giving up, hospice helps families live well and support each other during a stressful, yet very natural family life passage.
Should we wait for the doctor to suggest hospice?
You can, but many doctors wait until families bring up the topic of hospice or wait too long. If you are honest with yourself and believe your loved one has only six to twelve months left to live, ask your doctor if he or she agrees. If the answer is yes, then it’s probably a good time to begin a discussion about hospice. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to talk with you and answer your questions.
Is hospice only for cancer patients?
Hospice is not just for cancer patients. Partners In Care supports hospice patients with any life-limiting illness. Among the illnesses are cardiac and respiratory diseases, renal disease, and neurological illnesses.
Can you ever come off hospice care?

A person may be discharged from hospice services for a variety of reasons, such as resuming aggressive curative treatment or pursuing experimental measures. Also, if a patient shows signs of recovery and is no longer terminally ill, he or she can be discharged from hospice care and return to the hospice program when the illness has progressed.

Who pays for hospice care?

The question of “who pays for hospice care” is one that comes up frequently. In fact, most patients and family caregivers will ask about their financial options almost right away. This is understandable, as worrying about paying for hospice care is very common. Patients have several options when it comes to paying for the cost of hospice care. All insurance providers have a hospice benefit including Medicare and private insurances. Individuals who do not have Medicare coverage but have coverage from private insurance should talk with their insurance company to find out about eligibility and what deductibles and copayments may apply. As a nonprofit hospice provider, we also receive charitable support from the community to help support patients who may not have the ability to pay for hospice care. We recommend speaking with our referral services team to ensure you understand insurance coverage, your individual hospice benefit, and if additional financial support is needed.

When is the best time to start hospice care?
Most patients and families who receive hospice care say they wish they had known about it earlier because of the additional layer of support hospice care teams can provide. If you think your family and the person you care for could benefit from Partners In Care hospice services, ask your physician if you should consider hospice. It is better to ask sooner to access the additional physical, emotional, and spiritual support that hospice has to offer. If you would like more information on when to start hospice, please contact us.
Where does hospice care occur?

Hospice is not a physical place – Hospice brings physical, emotional, and spiritual care and support to wherever our patients call home: in their home, long-term care facilities, assisted living or retirement communities, a skilled nursing facility, or anywhere our team can safely provide medical care.

What isn’t included in hospice?

Hospice is not focused on curative treatments, nor is it a replacement for long term 24-hour care or a nursing home facility. While Hospice offers some comfort care in the patient’s home, it’s not an ongoing caregiving service. It doesn’t provide drugs or medical supplies that are prescribed for curative treatments or rehabilitation for full recovery of an illness or surgery. Partners In Care doesn’t provide room and board as an assisted nursing or hospice residential facility, or provide emergency transportation to a hospital or inpatient care facility. If your family needs a 24-hour caregiver, our team can provide community resources and make recommendations for that additional support.