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Hospice is a level care that provides compassionate services to those that have a terminal disease. Hospice referrals are given by the physician if the life expectancy is six months or less or if the patient has decided against further curative treatments and desires comfort measures.
Hospice is not for cancer patients only……….it is for Heart Disease, End Stage Lung Disease, CVA, Renal Disease, Liver Disease, Dementia, AIDS, Adult Failure to Thrive and Debility. Hospice considers death a part of life and our effort or mission is directed to improve the quality of life during the remaining weeks and months by controlling pain, physical symptoms and emotional/spiritual needs.
We are reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances. Some providers say they do palliative care which is true, but the Hospice program goes beyond palliative care. They provide all the equipment and medication needed to keep the patient comfortable.
We have had patients that have come to us with costs of medication for pain control reaching as much as $800.00 a month (we have all heard of the donut hole in Medicare part D). The cost of paying for pain medication was too great and each day was spent in pain. Routine SN visits and — as needed for symptom control — Certified Nursing Aides provide personal care 3-5 times a week. Our Social Workers make visits to address other needs — emotional, financial etc. Our Chaplain makes visits to address spiritual needs and provides support to the patient, family members, and caregivers. We also have volunteers that visit with patient providing personal support…..sitting with patient, reading to patient, running errands, etc. Our Medical Director, Dr. Xavier, specializes in pain control. And following the passing of the patient, we have a bereavement program that provides grief support to the family and caregivers for a year thereafter.
Hospice goes into the homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes. End of Life care is a special kind of care. Our trained Hospice staff are sensitive to the emotional needs of the patient, family and care givers traveling into this unknown territory called terminal illness. Teaching is of great importance. Teaching them about medications, doses, freq. along with care of pt. on a day to day basis. Instructions on end of life stages, signs and symptoms of approaching death, and preparation emotionally for separation from their loved ones. They need support, along with knowing all they have to do is pick up the phone if they have concerns of any nature. A good death, which is peaceful and with their loved ones at their side is the outcome we all pray for.
I would like to share a story with you that is found in Luke chapter 10 of the Bible regarding the ministry of the Good Samaritan.
A certain man on his way to Jericho was attacked, stripped, and wounded and left half dead.
A certain priest came by, saw him and passed by on the other side of the street.
A Levite came by and he did the same as the priest.
Many are uncomfortable with those hurting and near death. They see the need but they pass on by. The priest did not want to be defiled by what he evidently thought was a dead person. The Levite perhaps considered there was not much he could do for this man that was nearly dead and just did not want to get involved.
But a certain Samaritan came by, saw him, and had compassion. He saw a man near death, stripped of his earthly belongings, laying in his own blood and body fluids. He had to look twice to see if he was still breathing. He took oil and wine, cleaned the wounds with the wine and poured oil into the wounds to relieve pain. During this wound care he gave emotional support with words of comfort. He reassured him he would not leave him alone; he would see that he was cared for. He placed him on his beast and carried him to the inn and stayed at his bedside caring for him. The next day the Samaritan departed but left instructions regarding the continued care of this dying man with the inn keeper. He told the inn keeper he would return and pay whatever amount he owed regarding the care of this man. We are not told if this man lived or died, but he was given the care he needed. We in the hospice field feel we are called to provide this special kind of care.
Premier Hospice, making a difference one life at a time!
Doris Dollins, RN
Doris Dollins is a certified nurse and Director of Nurses at Premier Home Care & Hospice. She has been providing personal and quality care in the hospice field for around 20 years. Premier Home Care & Hospice is located at 750 Clarksville St. Paris, TX. You can reach Dorris by phone with any questions you may have at 903-737-9010.