By January 20, 2011 Read More →

When is it time to call Community Hospice?

When is it time to call Community Hospice?

Community Hospice

At Community Hospice, patients and families often tell us, “I wish I had called you earlier.” Often, our patients come to us in crisis and at a very late stage in life. While hospice organizations are geared to operate at the end of life, we do our best work for families when there are months, not days, of life left.

This is because at Community Hospice we focus on supporting ill people and their families and helping them have quality of life for as long as possible. We are able to do this best when we have time to get to know the person, support the family and facilitate important conversations at the end of life.

Community Hospice helps people who are choosing to not pursue life-extending care for their illness or when their physician determines that the medical treatment will no longer offer a cure. When the physician believes that the ill person may have 6 months or less to live, that’s when hospice can step in and help.

So how do you know when a loved one may be ready for hospice services?  While everyone is an individual and experiences the later stage of their life in different ways, there are some common threads we see.  Consider the person’s energy level, appetite, sleep patterns and a comparison of their quality of life today with how they were a month ago, or even a week ago. (Using holidays or other specific events helps to better mark these events.)

We know when people experience changes on a monthly basis they may well have only months to live, weekly changes may mean weeks to live. When someone is able to attend church one week, though is not able to sit that long the following week, it is often a sign that the illness is progressing and impacting quality of life. If hospice is not already helping, this is the time to call hospice.

What are the specific services provided by Community Hospice?

  • Physician visits to the patient in their home setting
  • Regular visits by nurses to provide symptom control, pain management and to educate patients and caregivers about physical care
  • Social Workers trained to support the emotional needs of the patient and the family
  • Spiritual support from interfaith chaplains
  • Assistance with bathing and personal care from home health aides
  • Visits from volunteers that provide temporary relief for family caregivers
  • Medication
  • Therapies
  • Medical equipment such as beds, commodes, wheelchairs
  • Short-term inpatient care at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House
  • Bereavement support for the family for up to a year following the loved one’s death
  • Specialized care for children with a life-threatening or severe illness

Community Hospice provides services daily to over 200 patients in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties. Hospice patients are cared for in their private residences, skilled nursing homes, assisted living centers, and at the sixteen-bed Alexander Cohen Hospice House in Hughson. Hospice services are covered 100% by Medicare and most private insurers. When there is a payment gap, Community Hospice provides care regardless of ability to pay. For more information, please call 578-6300 or visit www.hospiceheart.org.

By Teri Collet, MSW, LCSW, Director of Social Services, Community Hospice

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About the Author:

Teri Collet, MSW, LCSW Director of Social Services, Community Hospice