National Hospice Month: VITAS Advises What You Should Know About End-of-Life Care
By Kathleen Kashow, VITAS Healthcare // October 27, 2020
National Hospice and Palliative Care Month offers ideal opportunity to spread awareness
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – One of the comments we frequently hear from our patients and their families at VITAS Healthcare is a very heartfelt sentiment that we hope to change through education: “I wish I had known about hospice sooner.”
November’s designation as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month offers an ideal opportunity to spread awareness about hospice as a healthcare specialty supporting patients and their families with medical, emotional, and spiritual services.
Hospice helps loved ones face the challenges of advanced illness as they near the end of life.
Once a physician determines that curative care is no longer working, or when a patient decides that treatment side effects are too much of a burden, hospice care can help shift the focus on comfort, closure, and quality of life for those final months, weeks, and days.
Why do patients and families say they wish they had chosen hospice care sooner?
■ VITAS brings hospice care to you, wherever you prefer to receive care. Patients can remain at home, or in their nursing home or assisted living community, surrounded by familiarity and comfort.
■ Your hospice “specialist” is an entire team. A hospice physician, nurse, aide, social worker, chaplain, and volunteer all receive special training in end-of-life care, and they work together to make sure your medical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met. An individualized care plan is created to support the patient and caregivers by honoring their goals, wishes, and values.
■ Medicare Part A, Medicaid, TriCare, and many private insurance plans cover up to 100% of hospice care, including visits from your doctor, nurse, and aide, and emotional and spiritual support from a hospice social worker and chaplain.
■ Hospice continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. VITAS adapted its care protocols so patients can continue to receive safe, effective, and supportive hospice care, whether they choose in-person visits or telehealth services.
Our care teams abide by all federal safety guidelines (masks, social distancing, PPE, etc.) and are equipped to evaluate, assess, admit, and care for patients virtually using their mobile devices.
It’s Never Too Late to Start the Conversation
If the patient is eligible for hospice care, service can usually begin within 24 hours. If the patient does not meet eligibility requirements, patients and families can still have their questions answered and begin discussing their goals and wishes for end-of-life care when the time is right.
Hospice is not a place. It’s a range of services that support patients and families at one of life’s most challenging and meaningful phases. Most patients facing the end of life want to be cared for by the best specialists in end-of-life care.
When it’s time for hospice care, you have choices. Choose the provider who will surround you with expertise and services to help you embrace quality of life—for you and the people who mean the most to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathleen Kashow is general manager for VITAS in Brevard County, Florida. For more information about end-of-life care options, call VITAS Healthcare at 321-339-2893 or visit VITAS.com
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