What is Hospice care

Hospice offers support and medical care to anyone diagnosed with an incurable illness. Wherever the patient calls home is where hospice services are provided. Learn more about what hospice care means and how it can help your loved ones.

Once a physician signs an order stating that hospice is appropriate at this time for a particular patient, the patient will be contacted by Notre Dame Hospice to set up a time to meet to discuss Plan of Care and sign appropriate paperwork. At the meeting, you (or your legal representative) will be asked by a trained hospice staff member to sign consent and insurance forms much like forms one signs upon admission to a hospital. The hospice election form says that you understand that the care is palliative (aimed at pain relief and symptom control) rather than curative and outlines the services available. The hospice staff member will fully explain each aspect of the admission process to you and your family. Once the admission process is complete and the proper paperwork has been signed, the Notre Dame Hospice staff member will assess your needs, review your list of medications, recommend any equipment and make arrangements to obtain any necessary equipment and/or medications and have it delivered to your place of residence (be that a private residence, nursing home, assisted living facility, hospital i.e. wherever the patient calls home). Remember, all medications and durable medical equipment related to the hospice diagnosis are covered under the hospice benefit. In general, Notre Dame Hospice will assist you in any way it can to make the home care environment as convenient, clean and safe as possible.

There is no set number of how many friends and family it will take to care for a loved one at home. One of the first things the Notre Dame Hospice team will do is to prepare an individual plan that will, among other things, address the amount of care needed in your situation. It is important that family members come up with their own plan of sharing the responsibility of caring for a loved one at home. Hospice staff visits regularly and are always accessible to answer medical questions, provide support, education and the medical supplies needed to effectively care for a family member at home. In the early weeks/months of hospice care, it is usually not necessary for someone to be with a patient all of the time; however, later, as the disease process progresses, it becomes absolutely necessary for a primary caregiver to be with their loved one at all times. It is never easy and sometimes quite hard to care for a loved one at home. At the end of a long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long. For that reason, hospice provides support to those caring for a loved one at home by having trained, professional staff members on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and help is only a phone call away. Hospice seeks to provide quality of life to the remaining days and is an appropriate choice when quality of days is the focus and the hope of the patient.