Q: What is the criteria to be a hospice patient?
A: Community Hospice Care serves patients who reside in Seneca County, Fostoria and Willard who are terminally ill and have been given a prognosis of six months or less by their physician, in his or her best judgement. In the home setting, we require that a friend or family member agree to be the caregiver when the patient is no longer able to be at home alone. We also serve patients in all area Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities. Our patients are no longer seeking aggressive or curative treatments to cure the end-stage disease process, but instead are looking for comfort measures and quality of life.
Q: Are hospice patients required to be homebound?
A: No, in fact, we encourage and try to facilitate the opposite. We assist patients and families with equipment that they may need to get out of the house, such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes and portable oxygen. We also provide volunteer assistance, if needed. We believe that “getting out and about” is important to a patient’s quality of life.
Q: Why do people sometimes leave memorials to Community Hospice Care?
A: Sometimes families decide that they desire gifts in memory of their loved one be in the form of a donation to Community Hospice Care. This is never something that the staff of Community Hospice Care asks for or requests, but it is a gift for which we are truly grateful. Community Hospice Care is a not-for-profit agency that always serves patients and their families without regard to reimbursement. We are a United Way agency that also supports itself through continual fundraising efforts so that we may continue to serve those in need of end-of-life care.
Q: My husband is ill and not getting anymore treatment, but how do I know when the time is right to call hospice?
A: Hospice is a program for people who have any end-stage disease (not just cancer) with a prognosis of six months or less to live. Hospice patients are no longer seeking aggressive or curative treatment for their disease process. Sadly, we care for many patients and families who have chosen hospice with only hours, days or weeks left to live. Most often, we regret that we did not have more time to help these people with pain and symptom control and the many other services that we offer. However, we realize that deciding “when the time is right” is a very individual decision that each patient and family must make along with their physician. Just keep in mind, we care for many patients who are active and living each day to the fullest, not just patients who are imminently dying.
Q: Is there a waiting list to get into hospice?
A: Community Hospice Care admits most patients into the program the same day we receive a request to do so. We have no waiting list. We make every effort to schedule admissions at the family’s convenience, including evenings, weekends and holidays.
Q: Can I still keep seeing my own doctor after I’m in hospice care?
A: Community Hospice Care encourages that the relationship with a patient and the attending physician continue throughout the course of hospice care. Some patients still go to doctor’s appointments, while this is not always necessary. For those doctors who are unable to continue following the patient after hospice enrollment, Community Hospice Care does have a local Medical Director on staff, Dr. Krishnaiah Garlapati, who will assume the patient’s care.
Q: If the patient is not covered by Medicare or any other health insurance, will hospice still provide care?
A: Community Hospice Care will determine whether the patient is eligible for any hospice coverage. No matter what the coverage is and even if there is no insurance coverage at all, Community Hospice Care will provide hospice services to anyone eligible, regardless of reimbursement sources. We are able to do so by using money raised from the community in the form of donations, memorials, support from the United Way of Tiffin and Fostoria and the United Fund of Willard and our own fundraising efforts. Community Hospice Care patients and families are NEVER billed for hospice services.
Q: When a patient is in hospice, must someone be with them at all times?
A: Often times, in the early weeks of care, it is not always necessary for someone to be with the patient at all times, providing it is safe for them to be alone and they are able to meet their own needs. Later, however, we usually find that a patient’s care needs become greater and safety also becomes a concern. In addition, one of the most common fears of patients is of dying alone. For these reasons, it becomes necessary for someone to be with them continuously. Patients who live alone may be appropriate for hospice. However, prior to the time of admission, a plan needs to be established as to what will be done when it is no longer safe or appropriate for the patient to be alone.
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. Families often call us for information about hospice care and then feel more comfortable in bringing up the subject with the doctor. Other times, we often contact the doctor on behalf of the patient and family, and inquire as to the appropriateness of hospice care.
Q: Who do you provide services to?
A: Community Hospice Care provides services to anyone who meets the following criteria:
1) is certified by a physician to have a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six months or less.
2) is no longer seeking curative or aggressive treatment for their illness, but elects to receive comfort measures.
3) has a designated primary caregiver to be responsible for the patient’s care or the patient resides in a long term care facility.
4) lives in our service area, which includes Seneca County, including all of Fostoria and S. W. Huron Counties.
Q: Can I receive grief support services if my loved one was not in a hospice program?
A: Yes. There are many support services available to the community even if they did not utilize our hospice services. Our library is open to the public and offers many resources for all age groups. Anyone is welcome to contact our office for information on support individualized to your needs.
Q: Why does Community Hospice Care do so much fundraising?
A: As a non-profit, United Way agency, Community Hospice Care provides services to all of our patients and families without regard to reimbursement. To enable CHC to continue to provide quality hospice care, we sometimes need to rely on the generosity of our community by conducting fundraisers. All funds that are raised are used to provide care free of charge to our patients and families.
Q: When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made and who should make it?
A: It is appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice, at any time during a life-limiting illness. The decision to enter a hospice program belongs to the patient.
Q: Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what’s happening?
A: Usually not. The goal of hospice pain and symptom management is to use the amount of medication that controls the pain and symptoms but with the fewest side effects. By constantly consulting with the patient, Community Hospice Care has been very successful in reaching this goal.
Q: Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to medical treatment?
A: Certainly. At any time during the course of hospice care, a patient may choose to be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy. If a discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare and most private insurances will allow additional coverage for this purpose.
Q: Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
A: Hospices do nothing to either speed up or slow down the dying process. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of childbirth, hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.
Q: How can my family afford hospice care?
A: Most people who use hospice care are over the age of 65, and are thus entitled to the services offered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit. This benefit covers all aspects of hospice care, and because Community Hospice Care never bills for services, there is no out-of-pocket expense for the patient/family. In fact, many financial burdens are absorbed by hospice care by paying for some medications and equipment. In addition, most private health plans and Medicaid cover hospice services.
If you have a question regarding Hospice Care, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 419-447-4040 and we will respond promptly.