Hospice Care—Living Well With Illness

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People often associate hospice care with dying—and that’s scary.  But hospice care is actually about life—alleviating pain and making the patient as comfortable as possible, as quickly as possible.  And the sooner you ask, the more options you have.

Patients and families often resist the idea of hospice because they think they’re “giving up.”  So they miss out on the opportunity to be more comfortable and live with less pain and more independence.  Hospice care is not only the doctors and nurses who manage the pain and symptoms, but also the emotional and spiritual support of social workers and chaplains.  The Certified Nurse Aides provide practical, down-to-earth help with personal care.

People have lots of wrong ideas about hospice:

  1. Hospice is expensive.  Hospice never sends you a bill.  And we provide all medicine, equipment and supplies related to your illness.
  2. Hospice is about giving up.  Hospice is about giving patients and their families the power to maintain independence and live well, even with a life-limiting illness.
  3. Hospice is only for cancer patients.  Other common diagnoses include congestive heart failure, dementia, chronic lung disease and other conditions.  Don’t hesitate to call and ask if you might be eligible.
  4. Hospice will make me change doctors.  Hospice care encourages the patient’s own physician to remain active in their care.
  5. Hospice patients must be homebound.  Hospice helps patients be as active as possible. 
  6. Hospice is only for the patient.  Hospice focuses on dignity, comfort and emotional support.  Caregivers are supported and educated as well.
  7. Hospice is only for those with Medicare and Medicaid.  Hospice is covered by Medicare and Medicaid, but also by most private insurance.  About 10% of the care provided by Christus Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Frances Cabrini is to the uninsured.

 

Hospice care is provided in a variety of settings.  Some patients live at home or with a family member; others live in a nursing home or retirement home setting.  Hospice nurses work closely with nursing home staff to make sure patients are receiving the best medical care possible.  Hospice understands that patients are tired of going to the hospital every time they have a medical crisis or infection.  These can usually be handled at home with good nursing care in consultation with the doctor.  Christus Hospice also has Grace Home of Alexandria, an in-patient hospice facility for patients whose symptoms can’t be managed well at home.

Christus Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Frances Cabrini is the only CHAP Accredited and not-for-profit hospice in our community.  Our staff takes seriously our mission to “extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ” to our patients and their families and we believe in our core values of Dignity, Integrity, Excellence, Compassion and Stewardship.  For more information, call Christus Hospice and Palliative Care at (318) 448-6764.