A: The decision to choose hospice should be made by the patient and family with the input of a physician. A frank discussion about treatment options should be held throughout the course of the illness. If the patient or family feels that a physician is reluctant to discuss hospice care, it is always appropriate for one or the other to approach the subject. Hospice Care of Kansas can assist in the discussion with the physician.
Q: Can we keep our own doctor?
A: Yes. If this is not possible or preferred, specially trained hospice physicians can see the patient and guide the care plan.
Q: Where is hospice care administered?
A: The majority of hospice care is provided in the patient's home, with family and friends acting as caregivers. If there is no residence, the agency can provide care in nursing homes or other types of residential facilities. If a patient requires inpatient care in order to address severe symptoms or to provide respite for a caregiver, we have relationships with hospitals and nursing home facilities throughout our service area, allowing patients to be served in their own communities.
Q: What if the patient's condition improves?
A: Occasionally, hospice care can lead to improved life expectancy. When this happens we will transfer care to a non-hospice care provider. Later, when patients become eligible for hospice again, they can re-elect the hospice benefit.
Q: Is hospice Medicare- and Medicaid-certified?
Q: Do hospice medical directors have specialized training?
A: Five of our medical directors are board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. All of our medical directors participate in ongoing training and education to keep their skills as current as possible.
Q: Does hospice staff regularly discuss pain control with patients and families?
A: Yes, the interdisciplinary team discusses the patient's plan of care on a weekly basis.
Q: Does hospice staff address pain that is not of a physical nature?
A: We recognize that not all pain is physical. We have chaplains, social workers and bereavement counselors to address spiritual and emotional distress, not only with patients but also with their families and loved ones.
Q: Is someone available 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
A: Not all problems occur between the hours of 8 and 5. We have a triage and continuous care team available 24/7. When you call in the evenings or on weekends, you will always be able to speak directly with a nurse. In addition, a physician and nurses are always available. A social worker and chaplain are also on call in case the need is not medical in nature. Unlike many other hospice programs, if an evening or weekend visit is needed, you can count on us to be there for you.
Q: Is inpatient respite care available?
A: We can arrange respite care in numerous facilities in the area.
Q: Are bereavement services provided?
A: Yes, spiritual and emotional support are available for family and loved ones for at least a year following the death of a patient.
Q: Does hospice bill patients for pharmacy co-payments?
Q: How many hours of direct service are given by nurses, aides, physicians, volunteers, social workers and clergy?
A: Our hospice team, along with the patient and family, will develop a plan of care to best fit the needs of the patient.
Q: Are patients and family caregivers told how many visits they can expect from hospice staff and how they are informed about changing needs?
A: We provide a written care plan and depend on the family to tell us how often to visit, and what information they want provided. Our focus is on meeting the needs of everyone involved.
Q: Does hospice staff try to involve the patient in all care decisions?
Q: Are medications and equipment delivered?
A: Yes, we deliver to the home, nursing and long-term care facilities, or wherever the patient resides.
Q: Does hospice staff respect the patient's preferences for daily activities and schedules?
A: We encourage patients to do all that they can to live life to the fullest and according to their wishes.