What is Hospice?
At any stage of an advanced illness, it is appropriate to consider hospice care as one of your options for moving forward. Hospice care is most beneficial when it is elected as early as possible. The original premise for hospice was that patients would receive this level of care for approximately six months prior to death. Because no one can precisely predict an end of life timeline and patients often improve (and actually live longer) when receiving hospice care, there is no limit on the length of time patients can be on hospice. A patient must continue to meet the hospice guidelines for appropriateness.
Unfortunately, the average length of time patients currently receive hospice care is currently less than 20 days!
People are often fearful of choosing hospice; however, the reality is that most are not accessing hospice care in a timely fashion and are not receiving the full benefit of this type of care.
Making the decision to choose hospice earlier affords the patient and their loved ones adequate time for symptom and pain management and the development of a trusting relationship with our hospice team. Your hospice team has a depth of knowledge and experience with end of life matters that other care providers in the healthcare environment do not possess. Our hospice professionals will be there to answer your questions and help you be better prepared for your end-of-life journey.
Here are a few physical signs that indicate that it might be time for hospice:
- Despite aggressive treatment, your health is continuing to decline
- Worsening of your symptoms is affecting your quality of life
- You are no longer able to manage your activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, meals, etc) and you need more support
- Your doctor says that there is nothing more they can do for you
Anyone can make a request for hospice care. You or your loved one can call our hospice, 479-872-3377, and request a no obligation evaluation to determine if you are eligible for hospice. You can also talk to your physician about hospice and request that they contact us for an evaluation. If you or your loved one is currently in a facility, you can talk with your case manager, discharge planner or social worker to request that they contact us on your behalf.
Once an evaluation is requested, a member of our team will contact you to determine a convenient time for us to come to your location (home/hospital/long term care facility). We have staff available to meet with you 7 days a week. Our hospice representative will provide detailed information about our hospice philosophy and care and will answer any questions you have.
Call us at 479-872-3377 to learn more about how Circle of Life can help you and/or your loved ones, today.
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Making the Decision
If you are reading this page, it is probably because you and your family are faced with making a decision about whether it is time to choose hospice. You may be making this decision for yourself or for a loved one. We know you must be experiencing feelings of disbelief, denial, anger and even overwhelming sadness. Please understand that all of these feelings are normal. To admit or acknowledge that health is failing for a loved one can feel a little like betrayal. It is important to remember that hospice is not about giving up. Hospice is about getting the help, the relief, the medical care and emotional support that you and your family need right now.
Don’t worry, we are here to help you.
Deciding when to begin hospice is a very personal decision. It often becomes clear when tests, treatments and constant hospital stays bring more distress than progress. For some, it may be time to think about hospice when the physician mentions it. Most of the time, families must first mention hospice to their doctors. Once families ask about hospice, most physicians often find it easier to talk about.
We know that making the decision for hospice is very difficult, but it is one of the most loving decisions that you can make. In many situations, this is a very special time for a family. It becomes a time where families can have conversations that are long overdue or do some of those things that have been delayed or put off. It’s an opportunity to listen to family stories and a time to tie up loose ends. This time is precious and to honor it requires a lot of courage. Having a hospice team to walk through this with you makes all the difference.
We would love to speak with you and answer any questions that you may have. Please call us at any time at 479-872-3377.
Most Circle of Life Hospice patients receive care in their own homes. Helping people live out their lives in dignity and comfort in their own homes is our core service. Living safely and comfortably at home can be one of the best ways of supporting quality of life at the end of life.
Members of the Circle of Life team come to visit patients wherever they live. This includes single-family homes and apartments, as well as extended care facilities, assisted living centers or nursing homes.
Our team offers care and services that not only support the patient at the end of life, but also guide and assist family members. Our goal is for the entire family to have the best end-of-life experience possible.
If a patient has severe symptoms that cannot be managed at home, our hospice homes can help resolve the crisis.
Paying for Hospice
Medicare Hospice benefit
Medicare Part A pays hospices a fee that covers hospice care. The Medicare Hospice Benefit includes coverage for services related to the diagnosis which include: hospice services, including expert pain and symptom management, care from a team of professionals, medicines, medical equipment, and medical supplies.
The Hospice Benefit does not pay for round-the-clock care for patients. Hospice social workers help families figure out how to get additional care for patients who need more help.
Unlike the Medicare Home Health benefit, the Hospice Benefit does not require patients to be home-bound. Hospice patients are free to go out to visit friends and family, or participate in other activities as they are able.
Coverage by Medicaid is similar to the coverage provided by the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
Most private insurances cover most or all of the cost of hospice care but some policies may have deductibles, co-pays, or maximums that apply. Circle of Life staff members work with each individual’s insurance company to ensure that patients get the care that they are entitled to.
Charity care for qualified patients is provided (based on the resources of the patient). For patients not covered by any of these programs and no other way to pay, Circle of Life will pick up the cost of the care.
What to Expect from Hospice Care
Here is what you can expect from Circle of Life:
- Expert care in pain and symptom management
- Physicians that are specialized in hospice care who oversee medical needs
- Nurses (RNs) trained in end-of-life care that coordinate and provide bedside care
- Social workers that address patient and family practical needs and provide counseling
- Hospice aids that are available to assist with personal care if needed
- Spiritual counselors that provide emotional and spiritual support
- Volunteers that provide companionship and support
- Bereavement counselors available for up to 13 months free of charge
- 5-Day Respite Care (as needed)
- Medications and treatments to control pain and other symptoms related to the terminal diagnosis
- Medical supplies and durable medical equipment as needed, directed by the plan of care
- Thank veterans for their service to our country
- Provide veterans with an opportunity to tell their stories
- Respect their service, their feelings, and any suggestions they might offer for increasing access to care for veterans
- Show appreciation for the families of veterans and support them as they support their loved ones
- Link veterans and their families to services and benefits available to them
Our We Honor Veterans program is a partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Together we are committed to bringing comfort, dignity, and quality of life to veterans in our community.