What is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is a program of special care for people who have life-limiting illnesses (usually 6 months or less) and have decided they no longer want to seek a cure or aggressive treatments to prolong their life. The person who is sick has decided that they want to be comfortable and spend their time at home doing the things they feel are important and enjoyable for them to do.
Who Qualifies for Hospice?
Any person (child, adult, or elderly) who lives in the service area of Hospice Touch, and wants comfort care – not aggressive treatment and meets the following criteria:
- Has a life-limiting illness that their medical provider feels qualifies them for Hospice Services.
- The medical provider and hospice medical director both sign that in their best judgement, if things continue as they have been, the person has six months or less to live.
- There is someone in the home who is willing and capable of providing care for the person who is sick, or if not, the person agrees that when it is not safe for them to stay at home alone they will go somewhere else to live, (i.e. facility or hospice residence).
- It is never too early to ask about hospice care.
What Services are Provided?
Medicare, medical assistance, and most private insurance companies have a "hospice benefit" that covers 100%:
- Service of the Hospice team consists of family physician, Hospice Medical Director, nurses and home health aides, Social Worker, Chaplain, and trained volunteers.
- Dietary counseling, PT, OT and Speech Therapies.
- The team supports the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and family.
- The patient and family are the center of care, which emphasizes control of pain and symptoms.
- Medication and equipment related to the illness are provided.
- 24-hour on call nursing help is available.
- Continuous home care during periods of crisis.
- Hospice ensures continuity of care whether home, hospital or Hospice residence.
- Bereavement service is provided after death with regular contacts for one year and referrals as needed.
If you think you might be interested in hospice care, contact us at our main office in Tomah, 608-374-0250 or ask your medical provider about Hospice.
We will also talk to your medical provider to see if he feels you qualify for hospice. We would be happy to explain the program to you and tell you how it works:
- Usually we first do an information meeting to explain the services available. This is done by a nurse and/or a hospice family support person (Social Worker). We answer all questions and make sure you understand and use the Hospice Informed Consent and Patient and Family Rights forms as the basis for discussion.
- If you, your medical provider, and hospice agree to be admitted, your provider will give hospice orders to admit and you will be asked to sign the consent.
- We list what we can do and you pick and choose what you want us to do and what you need from us.
- We are there to teach, coach, deal with problems, answer questions and let you know what to expect. We are also there to help you with end-of-life details such as an advance directive and will help you identify goals for your care.
- You choose what staff you want to visit and how often. We respect your privacy.
- Our staff, who are highly trained end-of-life specialists, make visits and work with your medical provider to deal with symptoms, order medications and equipment, and are there for your questions, problems and needs. You will be included in all decisions.
- We honor the life you have lived and your right to live your life as you desire. We make suggestions but don't take over and tell you what you have to do. We will treat you and your family with dignity and respect.
What Doesn't Hospice Do?
- Hospice doesn't pay for treatment or medications intended to cure your illness.
- Hospice doesn't pay for treatments or medications for conditions that are not identified by your medical provider as the reason you are on hospice.
- Hospice does not pay for care by other providers, ambulance transport, or care in an emergency room or hospital unless it is arranged by hospice.
What Does It Cost?
Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances cover hospice services 100%. We can check with your insurance company to see what hospice coverage you have. Hospice Touch is a program of Tomah Health, a non-profit organization that uses a sliding fee scale for those who do not have insurance and cannot afford our services.