Information for Patients

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You have a CHOICE.

When it comes to experience, quality, caring, compassion and having the programming in place to meet the diverse clinical and social needs of patients and families, there is only one clear choice: Center for Hospice Care.

Did You Know…?

Myths and misconceptions often delay individuals from receiving the care they need and have available to them. For instance, did you know patients with identical illnesses live an average of 1 month longer in hospice than a patient who is receiving curative care. Why? When patients enter hospice, they receive a team of experienced, medical professionals who develop a care plan custom to their needs focusing on comfort and quality of life. Yet, one of the misconceptions continues to be that hospice means death comes quicker. What other misconceptions and myths might you have that need to be answered?

Common Myths

TRUTH: Any medication directly related to the terminal illness not only is continued but also provided by the hospice team. If additional unrelated medications are necessary, the family would obtain them as usual.

TRUTH: There are no activity limitations for patients enrolled in the hospice program. Patients are encouraged to enjoy all aspects of life as fully as possible.

TRUTH: Each patient’s nutrition is tailored to his or her individual needs, and those under hospice care may eat and drink as much or as little as desired. Patient control and choice always are considered and are combined with the expertise of the hospice team in managing end-stage nutrition.

TRUTH: Hospice care was designed for those in their last six months of life, not just their last days. Many families could experience a higher quality of life for several months of the patient’s illness by taking advantage of the physical, emotional and spiritual support that is available.

TRUTH: We recognize the difficulty of coping with the last stages of life. All too often, people deny themselves (and their caregivers) the help and support of our care by thinking they are “giving up” on life. Our philosophy is to make the most out of every day. We work to manage pain and symptoms to enhance quality of life, while offering the emotional and spiritual support to provide the most peace and comfort possible.

TRUTH: Hospice is available for patients with any life-limiting illness in which the physician has determined that the patient’s life expectancy is six months or less, and comfort measures rather than curative measures are now appropriate and chosen by the patient. This could include illnesses such as emphysema, congestive heart failure or advanced Alzheimer’s disease in their final stages.

TRUTH: Your primary physician can continue to direct your care and work with the hospice team. The hospice team also has a medical director who’s available to your physician for any additional medical consultation.

TRUTH: While all hospices provide the same basic services, the quality of those services can vary greatly. Contact us to hear from families we’ve served.

TRUTH: A person may sign out of the hospice program for a variety of reasons, such as resuming aggressive curative treatment or pursuing experimental measures. Or, if a patient shows signs of recovery and no longer meets the six-month guideline, he or she can be discharged from hospice care and return to the program if the illness progresses at a later time.

Most Commonly Asked Questions

At any time during a life-limiting illness, you can, and should, discuss care options, including hospice. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. We are available anytime to discuss your options.

You do not need to wait to discuss hospice care with a physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy or friends. You have a right to be treated according to your wishes – and should make your wishes known.

Certainly. If the patient’s condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, patients can be discharged from Center for Hospice Care and return to therapy. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurance will allow additional coverage for this purpose.

First, we contact your physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate. You’ll be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. The “Hospice Election Form” states that you understand the care is palliative (aimed at pain relief and symptom control) rather than curative, and outlines services available.

We assess your needs and make the arrangements to obtain the necessary equipment. In general, we will assist in any way we can to make home care as convenient and safe as possible.

There is no set number. Your individualized care will address the amount of caregiving needed. Hospice personnel visit regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions and provide support.

A team consisting of a doctor, nurses, social workers, aides, chaplains, therapists and volunteers cares for our patients. We also provide medications, supplies and equipment.

Hospice neither hastens nor postpones the dying process. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of birth, the hospice team provides specialized knowledge to help you live your last chapter of life as fully as possible.

No. Although over 90 percent of our care is provided in a personal residence, some patients live in assisted living, nursing homes, or should the need arise, in one of our two area Inpatient Units, Esther’s House located on our Elkhart Campus and the Ernestine M. Raclin House located on our Mishawaka Campus.

Hospice is a philosophy of care which believes that emotional and spiritual pain is just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so we address them all. Our doctors and nurses are up-to-date on the latest therapies for pain and symptom relief. Physical and occupational therapists may assist you to be as mobile and self-sufficient as possible, and they are joined by specialists in massage and diet counseling.

Not usually. We’ve seen how keeping patients pain-free and alert enables the last phase of life to be a time of healing and peace.

Very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can be kept pain-free and comfortable.

Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance cover all services and supplies for the hospice patient, and Center for Hospice Care does not require any Medicare co-payments.

Center for Hospice Care will provide for anyone who can’t pay thanks to the generous contributions from our donors.

No. While some churches and religions have started hospices (sometimes in connection with their hospitals), Center for Hospice Care serves a broad community and does not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.

Center for Hospice Care provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for at least a year following the death of a loved one. Knowing the struggles of learning to live again without a person in your life, our bereavement support is available to anyone in our community, regardless if their loved ones were in our care or not.

Call *1-800-HOSPICE from within our nine-county service area.

(Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, Porter, St. Joseph, Starke)

Outside of our service area, please call 1-800-413-9083