Information for Healthcare Providers
The shift is from aggressively seeking a cure to aggressively treating pain and symptom management. Patients with life-limiting illness often experience difficult symptoms, including intense discomfort, physical pain, anxiety, restlessness, constipation, nausea, secretions, shortness of breath, and seizures. In addition, end of life is a time that generates intense feelings-anxiety, isolation, grief, and confusion-not only for the patient, but also for everyone who loves that person. The goal is to help the patient and loved ones to have the best quality of life possible - to make the most of every day.
Hospice health professionals are experts in palliative care, which involves the medical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the patient and supporting the needs of family members. Some of the issues we can help with are:
- Help in understanding the illness and what the patient/family can expect
- Financial stresses
- Unfinished business in personal relationships
- Spiritual distress
- Grief, for the patient, over the loss of health and mobility; for loved ones, over the anticipation of what is to come
Levels of Hospice Care
Routine Home Care
As long as the patient's symptoms are under control, the hospice team supports the caregivers in providing this level of care in the home setting, whether that is a private residence, assisted living or long-term care facility such as a nursing home. Hospice patients spend more than 95 percent of their hospice experience in routine home care.
In the event of a medical or psychosocial crisis, care is provided in the home for brief periods.
Caregivers occasionally need to take short breaks to maintain their own health. In this instance, the patient can be transferred to Augusta Medical Center for a short-term stay, up to five days, while the caregiver takes a break.
General Inpatient Care (Acute Care)
When symptoms can't be controlled in a home setting, the patient can be moved to Augusta Medical Center for a short-term stay until the patient's condition is under control.
Guide for Hospice Eligibility
- A patient has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness with a live expectancy of 6 months or less if the disease runs its normal course.
- A patient has accepted the terminal diagnosis and decided to stop all preventive and curative treatment.
No one is turned away because they have no insurance or cannot afford to pay for their care.