Frequently Asked Questions, FAQ's  

The following are questions we all may have at some time in our lives.  They may be in response  to our personal experiences of those of our loved ones.  The most important thing to remember is that there are options available.

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When should a decision about entering a Hospice Program be made and who should make it?  Return to Top
It is appropriate to discuss all care options, including Hospice, at any time  during a life-limiting illness.  By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Though some people view this as giving up, most South Coast Hospice families say that being in Hospice gave them precious quality time with their loved ones.  Because it can take some time for hospice professionals to tailor comfort care and pain management to each person, it is best to begin some level of professional care before a crisis exists.  Families often feel it is "too soon" to begin Hospice care and wait until end-of-life is very near.  Bringing South Coast Hospice professionals in at the last minute potentially limits their effectiveness.  A better approach is to arrange introductory home meetings or Hospice visits well in advance of need and obtain counseling from a Hospice professional  who can provide helpful suggestions on care arrangements.  Put the support network in place before you need it. 
Who should raise the possibility of Hospice care - a doctor, the  family or the patient?   Return to Top
 You and your family should feel free to discuss Hospice care at any time with  your physician, other health care professionals, Hospice staff, clergy or friends.
 What if our physician doesn't know about South Coast Hospice?   Return to Top

Most physicians know about Hospice.  Many  however, hesitate to "recommend"   Hospice to families as it appears they have given up hope.  It is  the patient and the family's right and privilege to request information on Hospice at any time.  If your physician wants more information about South Coast Hospice they can call  us at (541) 269-2986 or the National Hospice Help Line, 1-800-658-8898.         

Can a Hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?   Return to Top
Certainly.  Patients can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy or go on about his or her daily lives. If a  patient's condition improves with Hospice Care, the Hospice team may recommend discharge.  If a discharged patient should later need to return, Hospice will be available at that time. 
What does the Hospice admission process involve?  Return to Top

One of the first things hospice will do is contact the patient's physician to  make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at  this time.  The patient will also be asked to sign consent forms.  The hospice election form reads that the patient understands that the care is palliative (aimed at pain relief and symptom control for comfort) rather than curative.  It also outlines the services available. 

Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my house before Hospice care begins?  Return to Top
South Coast Hospice will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment, and help make arrangements to obtain it.  Often the need for equipment is minimal at first but may increase over time.  The South Coast Hospice staff will provide ongoing assistance to continue to make home care as convenient, comfortable and safe as possible.
How many family members or friends does it take to care for a  patient home?  Return to Top

There is no set number.  An individualized care plan will be developed that  will address, among other things, the amount of care giving needs in your situation.  Hospice staff visits regularly and are accessible 24/7 to answer and provide support.

Must someone be with the patient at all times?  Return to Top
In the early weeks of care it is 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 dying alone, South Coast Hospice generally recommends that someone be home with the patient as the end of life nears.
How difficult is caring for a dying love one at home?   Return to Top
It is never easy emotionally and sometimes can also be physically and  mentally draining to care for a terminally ill loved one  Nights especially can be very long near the end of a progressive illness.  South Coast Hospice provides uniquely qualified nursing staff, home health aides and volunteers available to consult with and educate the patient and family.
What specific assistance does South Coast Hospice provide home-based patients?   Return to Top

South Coast Hospice provides a team of nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplain, and volunteers to care for each patient and family.   Each team member provides assistance based on his or her area of expertise.  In addition, South Coast Hospice helps provide medications, supplies, equipment, if and where needed.

Does Hospice do anything to make death come sooner?   Return to Top
Hospice does not speed up or slow down the dying process.  Just as doctors and midwives lend  support and expertise during the time of child birth, South Coast Hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process.
Is caring for the patient at home the only place South Coast Hospice care can be delivered?  Return to Top

No. Although a majority of Hospice patients are cared for at home, care may also be provided for patients living in retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.  Many times however, it is the patients wish to remain at home where they feel comfortable and safe.

Can a person who lives in a nursing home have Hospice services?  Return to Top
Yes, South Coast Hospice care can provide an extra "layer of care" for a person in a long term care or assisted living facility.  The South Coast Hospice Interdisciplinary Team supports the patient and family unit as if they were in a regular home setting.  the nurses collaborate with the nursing home staff to ensure pain and symptom control.  The south Coast principles of care and comfort can help enhance the care to a very deserving but under served population. 
How does South Coast Hospice "manage pain"?  Return to Top
South Coast Hospice nurses and doctors are uniquely trained in the latest  approach to medications and devices for pain and symptom relief.  In addition, physical and occupational therapists are available to assist patients to remain as mobile and self-sufficient as possible.  South Coast Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real as physical pain, so it addresses each.  Trained social workers and our Chaplain are available to assist family members as well as patients.
What is Hospice's success rate in battling pain  Return to Top

Very high.  Using some combinations of medications and counseling, most patients can have their pain managed at an acceptable level. Medication doesn't necessarily prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what's happening.  It is the goal of South Coast Hospice to allow the patient to be free of pain but also alert.  By constantly consulting with the patient, Hospice has been generally successful in reaching this goal. 

Does the nurse stay at the house ?    Return to Top

No, but the South coast Hospice nurse is only a phone call away 24/7 anytime a  visit is needed.  If there is a crisis the nurse will stay with the family until the crisis is resolved. 

Is Hospice covered by insurance?  Return to Top

Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance policies have a Hospice Benefit which pays for 100% of core Hospice services.  To be sure about your specific policy, check with your health insurance provider.  However, no patient is turned away as a result of their ability to pay.

If the patient is eligible for Medicare, will there be any additional expenses to be paid?  Return to Top
Medicare covers all services and supplies for the Hospice patient related to their terminal diagnosis.
If the patient is not covered by medicare or other health insurance, will South Coast Hospice still provide care?   
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South Coast Hospice provides care regardless of a patient's ability to pay.  Ongoing fundraising events and proceeds from our Thrift Store offset costs of patients not insured or comfort items not covered by insurance.  The Hospice staff will assist families in finding out whether the patient is eligible for any coverage he or she may not be aware of.  However, care will always be provided.
Does South Coast Hospice provide help to the family after the patient dies?    Return to Top                 
South Coast Hospice continues contact and support for family and friends for a minimum of 13 months following the death of a loved one.  South Coast Hospice also sponsors bereavement groups and private counseling for anyone in the community who is grieving the death of a loved one.

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