Most patients will want to receive hospice care at home if they are able. It’s where they feel most comfortable, it’s where they have their memories, their pets, their belongings. It’s a natural human instinct to want to spend your final days in a familiar space surrounded by the ones you love.
In this instance, the Faith in Angels Hospice team takes it upon ourselves to coordinate everything between the patient’s referring physician and our hospice physician to discuss medical history, current physical symptoms, goals of care, preferences for end-of-life care and life expectancy.
Faith in Angels Hospice will also:
- Deliver necessary home medical equipment.
- Deliver medications related to the life-limiting diagnosis to the home.
- Provide chaplain and social work services which include emotional, psychosocial and spiritual assessments that support the plan of care.
- Coordinate and schedule regular visits. Some will visit daily, while others will visit weekly, when requested or as needed.
It’s important for families to know that their loved one is entitled to round-the-clock care when it is determined that the patient is experiencing a crisis. When this determination is made to be medically necessary, Faith in Angels Hospice healthcare professionals work in shifts of up to 24 hours per day to help patients remain at home through a difficult time, rather than be admitted to a hospital.
The patient is entitled to continuous care if they are experiencing crises with:
- Uncontrolled pain
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea that won’t cease
- Change in level of consciousness
- Restlessness or agitation
When a patient is unable to be cared for at home due to worsening symptoms, the hospice provider will offer inpatient care for assessment, monitoring, and support by skilled healthcare professionals. These inpatient services are usually provided in a local nursing home or skilled nursing facility.
Some examples of worsening symptoms that would require inpatient care may include:
- Quick deterioration in condition
- Uncontrollable pain
- Uncontrollable nausea and vomiting
- Bone fracture
- Significant respiratory issues
- Patient’s need for IV medications which requires monitoring
- Non-basic wound care
- Uncontrollable agitation and restlessness
- Uncontrollable seizures
The highly stressful nature of caregiving for someone who is terminally ill can cause family caregivers to experience insomnia, isolation, depression, fatigue, and anxiety. If a situation is particularly intense, some caregivers can even consider quitting.
Due to these circumstances it’s important that family caregivers also take care of themselves by getting plenty of rest and making time away from the demands of caregiving.
This is where respite care comes in.
Respite care allows a family caregiver to get a break of up to five consecutive days and nights from caregiving duties while the patient is cared for in a Medicare-certified inpatient facility. Patients who are receiving hospice care are eligible for respite care, which is a covered benefit of Medicare Part A.
Some situations for which the patient would qualify for respite care are:
- Caregivers who may be suffering from physical or emotional exhaustion from taking care of a patient around the clock
- Caregivers who would like to attend a family event such as a graduation, wedding, funeral, etc.
- Caregivers who become ill and cannot take care of the patient
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My impressions of the services were comparable to some of the best agencies we dealt with. The nurses were very responsive and caring. If it hadn’t been for them, it would have been very difficult for me on my own. Their help was invaluable, the agency that was sending 24-hour care. The care that they provided was very valuable, and they did an absolutely terrific job in assisting me with his care in his final days of illness. I will definitely be giving a contribution to FIAH, and highly recommend them.”