At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity. We, at Bluebird Hospice, also believe that our families deserve to receive the necessary support to allow us to do so. Hospice is not a specific place but a philosophy of care for a terminally ill person that has received a prognosis of six months or less. Care is provided in your home, wherever you reside. This may be in a nursing home, assisted living center, hospital, or wherever the patient considers “home.” Wherever services are provided, Bluebird Hospice treats all patients the same and will focus on pain and symptom management.
When to Choose Hospice Care
Although there are clear criteria for who qualifies for hospice care, the decision to use the hospice benefit is highly personal. Typically, hospice is chosen when a person with a life-limiting illness chooses to forgo curative treatments and instead decides on comfort measures. If caring for a loved one, other indications a person may benefit from hospice services may be:
- A weight loss or a drop in weight of 20 pounds or more from their “baseline”
- A sudden loss of appetite or desire to eat
- Pain, breathlessness, nausea, or other symptoms are present
- The patient is no longer responding to curative treatments
- Your loved one is no longer able to perform daily activities independently, examples include: feeding, bathing, dressing, walking
What to Expect?
A doctor may suggest hospice care, while informing you that your loved one has come close to the end-of-life. Our goal is to get you or your loved one the proper care at the right time and simplify the process. This typically starts with a phone call to our team.
We gather as much information as possible while answering as many questions as we can. Next, we will schedule an in-person visit where we will discuss your goals of care and how we might assist you in achieving them.
You can choose to move forward with a clinical assessment. We will run medical eligibility and insurance coverage and have a clinician out within 2 hours.
How Does Hospice Care Work?
Typically, a family member or friend serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess your symptoms and provide additional care or other services. Hospice does not provide 24-hour hands-on care. Our care team can help find paid caregiver services and provide resources to help you coordinate caregiving. The hospice team develops a care plan that meets your individual needs for pain management and symptom control. Each team member will provide care within their scope of practice.
The Hospice Team
Family support is available during the hospice period, and after with bereavement services. While the range of services will vary depending on each situation and specific needs, staff are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- What services are provided?
- Emotional, psycho-social, and spiritual support with aspects of dying
- Pain and symptom management
- Pharmacy, equipment, and medical supplies
- Who pays for hospice services?
- What if I decide to discontinue services?
- You can choose to discontinue services at any time, for any reason.
- Will I lose my doctor?
- The short answer is no. The longer answer is that we have our own Medical Director who manages your overall care. However, if you would like your Primary Care Physician to remain involved as your attending physician, we will collaborate with their staff.
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