Frequently Asked Questions about Genesis Hospice
When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made — and who should make it?
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it's appropriate to discuss all of a patient's care options, including hospice. By law the decision belongs to the patient. Understandably, most people are uncomfortable with the idea of stopping an all-out effort to "beat" their disease. Genesis Hospice staff members are highly sensitive to these concerns and are always available to discuss them with the patient, family and physician.
Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other care professionals, clergy or friends.
What if our physician doesn't know about hospice?
Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, Genesis Hospice can meet with him or her. Infounation is also available from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, medical societies, state hospice organizations, local hospices, or the National Hospice Helpline, 1-800-658-8898. In addition, physicians and all others can also obtain information on hospice from the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Social Security Administration.
Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
Certainly. If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from Genesis Hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on about his or her daily life. If a discharged patient should later need to return to Genesis Hospice care, Medicare and most private insurances will allow additional coverage for this purpose.
What does the Genesis Hospice admission process involve?
The first thing we will do have a Genesis Hospice Representative come to talk with you to discuss your goals and how Genesis Hospice may be able to help. Genesis Hospice then contacts the patient's physician to make sure he or she agrees that Genesis Hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. The patient will also be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. These are similar to folins patients sign when they enter a hospital. It outlines the services available. By signing these forms, you agree that the care you receive will be aimed at comfort, not cure.
Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?
Your hospice provider will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain it. Often the need for equipment is minimal at first and increases as the disease progresses.
How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?
There is no set number. The patient, along with the Genesis Hospice team will do is prepare an individualized care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of caregiving a patient needs. Genesis Hospice staff visits regularly and are always accessible 24 hours a day to answer questions and provide support.
Must someone be with the patient at all times?
In the early weeks of care, it's usually not necessary for someone to be with the patient all the time. Later, however, since one of the most common fears of patients is the fear of dying alone, Genesis Hospice generally recommends someone be there continuously. While family and friends must be relied on to give most of the care, Genesis Hospice does provide a break and time away for major caregivers.
How difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?
It's never easy and sometimes can be quite hard. At the end of a long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and scary. So, Genesis Hospice has staff available around the clock to consult with the family and to make night visits as appropriate.
What specific assistance does hospice provide home-based patients?
Genesis Hospice patients are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, hospice aides, chaplains, therapists and volunteers, and each provides assistance based on his or her area of expertise. In addition, Genesis Hospice will help provide medications, supplies, equipment, hospital services and additional helpers in the home, as appropriate.
Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
Genesis Hospice does nothing to either speed up or to slow down the dying process. Just as doctors and midwives lend support and expertise during the time of childbirth, so hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.
Is the home the only place hospice care can be delivered?
No. Although most hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, some patients live in nursing homes. Care is also provided in other residential facilities, including the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, the hospital or assisted living areas.
How does hospice "manage pain"?
Genesis Hospice nurses and doctors know the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational therapists assist patients to be as mobile and self-sufficient as possible, and they are often joined by specialists in diet counseling and other therapies, including massage, music, and pet.
What is Genesis Hospice's success rate in battling pain?
Very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them. Satisfaction surveys regularly conducted continue to demonstrate that patients/families are highly satisfied with the level of comfort provided with use of strategies provided and/or suggested by Genesis Hospice.
Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what's happening?
Usually not. It is the goal of Genesis Hospice to help patients be as comfortable and alert as they desire. By constantly consulting with the patient, hospices have been very successful in reaching this goal.
Is hospice affiliated with any religious organization?
Genesis Hospice care is not an offshoot of any religion. While some religious organizations have started hospices (sometimes in connection with their hospitals), these hospices serve a broad community and do not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.
Is hospice care covered by insurance?
Genesis Hospice is a medicare-certified hospice and other coverage is widely available. Medicare nationwide, Medicaid in some 38 states, and most private health insurance policies provides it. To be sure of coverage, families should, of course, check with their employer or health insurance provider.
If Medicare or any other health insurance does not cover the patient, will hospice still provide care?
The first thing Genesis Hospice will do is assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage they may not be aware of Barring this, Genesis Hospice will provide care for those who cannot pay, using money from the community or from memorial or foundation gifts.
Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?
Genesis Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for up to 13 months following the death of a loved one. Genesis Hospice also sponsor bereavement and support groups for anyone in the community who has experiences the death of a family member, a friend or a loved one.
If the patient is eligible for Medicare, will there be any additional expenses to be paid?
Medicare covers all services and supplies related to the terminal illness for the hospice patient. In some hospices, the patient may be required to pay a 5% or $5 "co-payment" on medication and a 5% co-payment for respite care. Genesis Hospice does not require this co-payment.