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Hospice Services2019-07-10T20:20:03-04:00

When should you call hospice?

While only those with a life expectancy of six months or less is eligible, the best time to call is soon after a terminal diagnosis is made by the patient’s private physician or specialist. Hospice staff can answer questions and help you to understand what lies ahead and when you would be eligible for hospice as well as offering other options for care that you may not have considered. At all times the patient and family wishes and choices are taken into consideration.

Hospice staff can answer questions and bring patients and families peace of mind. While it is never too early to contact us, all too often people wait until it is too late for us to make a real difference – hospice is there to help patients to LIVE through their final months, so the sooner you contact us the better for the patient and their loved ones and caregivers. A common statement that we receive on our Patient Satisfaction Surveys from family following the death of a loved one is, “We wish we had called sooner.”

A patient with a prognosis of 6 months or less is eligible for hospice services, though care may continue beyond that time. There is no “magic” figure but a timely admission allows hospice to work with the patient and family for several months before death. This normally results in more successful pain management, greater conflict resolution and preparation for death, and a higher level of long term well being for survivors.

Eligibility varies by individual, the illness they are living with and many other factors. In general, if treatment no longer works or is no longer desired, or significant decline in status has occurred, then you should call the hospice office nearest you to discuss the options available to you.

Hospice is specialized care that meets the needs and desires of people living with terminal illness and those who care for them.

Hospice provides the information, expertise and added care needed to have the highest quality of life possible. It is meant to allow someone to live as fully and comfortably as possible every day. Hospice care focuses not only on the person who is living with the illness but also on their family – however they define it – and provides support that continues through the illness and after. Hospice is not about dying, it’s about how you live – in comfort and with dignity.

Patients are asked to articulate their desires and needs and to participate in choices about their care giving them back control. With the hospice emphasis on pain control management patients are given comfort so they may enjoy the time they have with those they love. Whenever possible, care is given in the location where the patient feels most comfortable, most often in the familiar surroundings of their home. Hospice staff provides the medical, spiritual, emotional and practical support to allow the patient to live their lives to the fullest.

Hospice care includes visits, assessment, planning and teaching by nurses, social workers, chaplains, aides, support volunteers and others. It also provides needed medications, equipment, supplies and materials related to the hospice illness and needed to address or prevent symptoms or discomfort.

Hospice is community based, compassionate end-of-life care which is a gift to those on their final journey.

Hospice is specialized care that meets the needs and desires of people living with terminal illness and those who care for them.

Hospice provides the information, expertise and added care needed to have the highest quality of life possible. It is meant to allow someone to live as fully and comfortably as possible every day. Hospice care focuses not only on the person who is living with the illness but also on their family – however they define it – and provides support that continues through the illness and after. Hospice is not about dying, it’s about how you live – in comfort and with dignity.

Patients are asked to articulate their desires and needs and to participate in choices about their care giving them back control. With the hospice emphasis on pain control management patients are given comfort so they may enjoy the time they have with those they love. Whenever possible, care is given in the location where the patient feels most comfortable, most often in the familiar surroundings of their home. Hospice staff provides the medical, spiritual, emotional and practical support to allow the patient to live their lives to the fullest.

Hospice care includes visits, assessment, planning and teaching by nurses, social workers, chaplains, aides, support volunteers and others. It also provides needed medications, equipment, supplies and materials related to the hospice illness and needed to address or prevent symptoms or discomfort.

Hospice is community based, compassionate end-of-life care which is a gift to those on their final journey.

Hospice Myths

Hospice means hopeless, it is “giving up”.2019-01-25T00:35:23-04:00

Choosing hospice does not mean a death sentence. What hospice does mean is a total change of focus. It means the person is in control: making choices about what is most important in his or her life. Hospice philosophy emphasizes the creative and positive outcomes to be realized by defining and achieving personal goals and by living life as fully as possible.

It is not uncommon for people entering hospice care to experience an improved sense of well being and comfort. This sometimes happens because pain management and symptom control issues are openly discussed and effectively resolved. Sometimes, this sense of well-being is a reflection of the person’s sense of control gained from defining her/his goals and from active participation in developing the plan of care.

Living with end-stage disease and dying well takes work. Hospice workers handle that job very well and help people in hospice and their families to have some of the most memorable moments of their lives.

To be eligible for hospice, I have to be in the final stages of dying.2019-01-25T00:34:34-04:00

Every hospice experience is unique, but one key thing families tell us about hospice is that “we wish we had known about hospice sooner”. Hospice team members also know that having more time to work with a person and family means better quality of life. Because the goal of hospice is to achieve the highest quality of life possible, some people may actually live longer than expected without the burden of symptoms and aggressive care.

People on hospice care and their families receive care for an unlimited amount of time, depending upon the course of the illness. There is no fixed limit on the amount of time a person may continue to receive hospice services.

Hospice is a place where people go to die, I have to leave my home.2019-01-25T00:33:39-04:00

Hospice isn’t really about dying. Hospice is about living as well as one can every day we have. It is about adding life, quality of life, to someone’s final days, weeks or months. Hospice is a program of services available to the person and her/his loved ones where ever they may be. Most hospice care takes place where the person already lives: in their own home or a family member’s, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility.

Hospice is when there is nothing more a doctor can do.2019-01-25T00:32:29-04:00

Hospice is care designed for people living with a life-limiting illness. There is so much more that can be done to assist individuals and families in living their lives fully, completely, and without pain until the end of their lives.

Hospice care is only for cancer or AIDS patients.2019-01-25T00:31:41-04:00

More than 50% of people on hospice are diagnosed with conditions other than cancer or AIDS. Anyone with a life-limiting illness can receive hospice care. Heart disease, kidney disease, COPD and dementia are a few of the illnesses that can benefit from hospice services.

You must have a “Do Not Resuscitate” order while in hospice.2019-01-25T00:29:21-04:00

This is an individual/family choice. A person can certainly choose to be resuscitated. The hospice will generally not provide this type of care, but will explain what you need to do to access such services. The hospice team will provide information that might be useful in making such decisions.

You must have a primary care giver to be eligible for hospice.2019-01-25T00:28:21-04:00

In the past, some hospices required a primary care giver because the hospice cannot provide 24 hour care except in crisis situations. Most hospices do not require this any longer. The hospice will ask you to make a plan for what will happen when you need round the clock care.

Families are not able to care for people with life limiting illnesses.2019-01-25T00:27:20-04:00

Family members and friends are encouraged, supported, and trained by hospice professionals to care for their loved ones. Hospice staff is on call to the individual and their families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help family and friends care for their loved ones.

Bereavement Care

The emotional toll of caring for and living with somene with an advanced illness is an ongoing process and the effect on families and caregivers does not end when a loved one dies. The hospice bereavement team provides support for family, caregivers and friends involved in caring for the individual. This support starts during care and continues after through our bereavement program

The Bereavement Program supports hospice families and friends after the death of a loved one. Support is also available to community members who have experienced the loss of a loved one – even if they did not use hospice services. Support is provided by phone and mail contact, phone or in person counseling, printed resources and networking. Workshops and support groups are provided by each office according to need.

Griever’s Bill of Rights

You have the right to experience your own unique grief
You have the right to talk about your grief
You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions
You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits
You have the right to experience “griefbursts”
You have the right to make use of ritual
You have the right to embrace your spirituality
You have the right to search for meaning
You have the right to treasure your memories
You have the right to move forward your grief and heal

“I must commend two of your workers.  They helped my wife pass without pain and with dignity in the comfort of her own home. They are angels in human form.  Their warm, truly genuine compassion made the most difficult time in my life so much less stressful. Katie spent more time with us and instantly became a true friend.  Your organization is so fortunate to have people like that.  I cannot possibly thank them enough.”

helped my wife

“Words cannot express our gratitude to High Peaks Hospice for all they did for Bill and his family…Everyone was so helpful and caring.  Our very special thanks go out to Michele and Carol.  They gave Bill the most loving care possible and gave Doug and me constant support and love.Thank you everyone!”

Everyone was so helpful and caring

“While Uncle John’s family was very blessed to have had you in their lives during Uncle John’s illness, it is comforting to know that you will continue to be there for my aunt when she needs you too, as she forges a new path for herself…One of the greatest gifts that we can give to others is the gift of ourselves.  Not only do the people of hospice do that, but they help those of us who want to – but may not know exactly how to – do that too…Thank you all for the love and support you have shown our family!”

Thank you for the love and support you have shown our family

Palliative care can be defined simply as “comfort” care – the relieving and preventing of suffering. This is what hospice is about. Hospice staff members receive advanced training in identifying, controlling, alleviating and preventing symptoms as much as possible. Not everything can be prevented, but hospice staff members have years of training and experience that helps people become, and stay, comfortable and as active as possible. Registered Nurses and physicians reassess the patients pain on a regular basis – and make adjustments as needed to assure the greatest level of comfort as the disease progresses.

Hospice team members will recommend options for symptom management in consultation with your physician. The individual, family and caregivers are strongly encouraged to be involved in examining options and participating in creating a plan that addresses their needs.

View the NHDD “Speak Up” video here

Advance care planning is making decisions about the healthcare you would want to receive if you happen to become unable to speak for yourself. These are your decisions to make, regardless of what you choose for your care, and the decisions are based on your personal values, preferences, and discussions with your loved ones.

Advance care planning includes:

  • Getting information on the types of life-sustaining treatments that are available.
  • Deciding what types of treatment you would or would not want should you be diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.
  • Sharing your personal values with your loved ones.
  • Completing advance directives to put into writing what types of treatment you would or would not want- and who you choose to speak for you- should you be unable to speak for yourself

Advance directives are legal documents that ensure your wishes are followed if you cannot make decisions for yourself.

Advance directives are not just for the elderly! Anyone over the age of 18 should have an advance directive.

There are times when people- even young, healthy people- can’t make their own decisions about medical care.

  • You could be injured in an accident and arrive at the hospital unconscious.
  • You might be under general anesthesia for routine surgery when something unexpected happens.
  • You could have an illness that leaves you unable to speak, or you are comotose.

Let’s get started!

Are you ready to start planning your health care in advance? Download this comprehensive, easy to follow  guide to completing an advance directive  Planning_Your_Health_Care_in_Advance.pdf

For more information about advance directives or to schedule an educational event contact a location nearest you.

  • Relieves pain and suffering
  • Emphasizes that the patient and family is the unit of care
  • Offers compassionate care
  • Respects patient goals and desires and encourages participation
  • Addresses physical, emotional, spiritual and social issues with its team of professionals
  • Builds a network of support to alleviate the burden on the patient and family
  • Helps patients with activities of daily living
  • Provides education about the disease and changes which may occur
  • Teaches the family how best to provide care
  • Provides bereavement services for the family
  • Does whatever necessary to maintain dignity and provide quality of life for patient and family
  • Medications- Hospice provides medications for relief of symptoms related to terminal diagnosis
  • Equipment- Hospice provides all equipment needed to make the patient comfortable such as hospital beds, oxygen, wheel chairs and other necessary medical equipment.
  • 24/7 Access to Registered Nurses – Our RN’s can be reached any time.
  • Social Worker is available for in home counseling with patients and families.
  • Bereavement counseling is provided prior to and for 13 months following the passing of loved one. Support and education groups are available for adults and children.
  • Spiritual and Pastoral Care is offered to those who desire it.
  • Trained volunteers are available for respite and emotional support
  • Licensed Practical Nurses and Home Health Aides are available as needed to provide personal care.

Most people, when asked where they would like to spend the end of their lives respond without hesitation,” At home.” At home they are surrounded by the familiar – their pets, their loved ones, their memories. For this reason hospice care is most often provided in their home. But whether home is a private residence, an apartment, a group home, or a nursing facility – Hospice is where the home is.

Hospice staff and volunteers provide services in your “home” – wherever that is.

Short inpatient care is available for control of symptoms that cannot be addressed at home. It is also available for respite for caregivers on a short-term basis.

Please note that High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care is willing to arrange care in almost any setting that wishes to collaborate with hospice staff in
enhancing the quality of life of the patient.