What hospice does
Hospice is a program of high-quality, compassionate care that helps patients and families live as fully as possible. Hospice care is based on the belief that each of us has the right to live free of pain and with dignity, and that our loved ones deserve the support to allow us to do so. We provide hospice care services to patients and families throughout the Philadelphia region. We also have a special hospice program for veterans.
When to get hospice care
Hospice care is appropriate for any adult whose advanced illness is no longer responding to curable treatment. This type of care focuses on providing patients and families with relief from the symptoms and stresses of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. Many patients considering hospice care have decided they want to spend their last months at home, or in a home-like setting such as a life-care community or nursing facility.
The four levels of hospice care are:
- Routine care – provided in the patient’s home, the home of a friend or family member, or a home-like setting, such as an assisted living facility
- Continuous care – short-term crisis coverage for uncontrolled symptoms in the home
- In-patient care – short-term hospitalization for aggressive management of uncontrolled symptoms
- Respite care – temporary transfer to a hospice-contracted nursing facility to provide rest for caregivers; length of stay is determined by insurance coverage and the goal is for the patient to return home
What care does hospice provide?
Hospice involves a team approach and a care plan that includes emotional, spiritual and practical support, and is based on the needs and wishes of the patient and family. Hospice care includes communication and collaboration between:
- Your primary care doctor – remains involved in your care and becomes a part of the hospice team
- Hospice medical director – works with your doctor and the hospice team to ensure overall quality patient care
- Hospice nurse – makes regularly scheduled visits to assess and manage physical symptoms and teach proper care techniques to primary caregivers; also discusses your care with primary care doctor and alters plan of care as needed
- Home health aide – assists in your physical care as needed (determined on a case-by-case basis)
- Social worker – provides counseling and support for patients and family members, and helps families explore additional caregiving options and community resources
- Chaplain – provides nondenominational spiritual support and can act as a link to religious organizations that may be helpful to the family
- Volunteers – offer a variety of support services from providing companionship for patients and caregivers to shopping and running errands
- Bereavement counselor – offers support for up to one year for family members dealing with the sensitive issues of grief and loss; children’s bereavement services also available for ages three to 24
- Other services – may be provided as needed, such as nutritional support and physical, occupational and speech therapy
Is hospice covered by insurance?
Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurers have a special benefit for hospice services. For patients insured by private insurance companies, hospice develops a care plan based on individual covered allowances and the amount of reimbursement provided by the private insurer.
Medicare hospice benefit
We are a Medicare-certified hospice. Medicare offers a special benefit for comprehensive hospice services to manage the symptoms of the patient’s hospice diagnosis. Included in this benefit are the following services:
- Care provided by the hospice team
- Bereavement services
- Medical equipment, such as electrical hospital beds and oxygen
- Medication, such as for pain and symptom management
- Supplies, such as bedside commodes and walkers
Become a hospice volunteer
We rely greatly on the generosity of our hospice volunteers who serve in many ways, acting as family members and assisting in various areas of patient and family care.