VNS Health Hospice Care services are designed to make sure your loved one is as comfortable as possible. They also help you and other family members know what to expect and help you feel confident in your loved one’s care.
What Is Hospice Care?
If your loved one has a terminal illness, you may be finding that giving them the care they need is becoming harder and harder. Hospice care in the home supports both patients and caregivers. It offers a level of care that people need when their terminal illness reaches a certain point.
Rather than trying to cure their illness or prevent it from getting worse, hospice care focuses on easing the symptoms of your loved one’s illness.
Many people think they need to go to a hospice facility to receive care. But VNS Health provides hospice care where your loved one lives. Usually, this is in a house or an apartment. However, it can also be in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
What Illnesses Qualify for Hospice Care?
A person can be admitted to hospice with any illness. Common ones include:
- Heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Kidney disease
The main goal of hospice care is to make sure your loved one’s last months are as comfortable and meaningful as possible. Hospice care also helps you and other caregivers feel confident about what to do and what to expect.
When your loved one is in less pain or has fewer side effects from treatment, their quality of life improves because they feel better. In fact, research has shown that hospice care can sometimes increase life expectancy somewhat.
What Does Hospice Care Include?
- Medical care related to the terminal illness, including medications, equipment, and all visits from the hospice care team
- Emotional support and spiritual care, such as addressing fears
- Practical help, such as preparing meals
- Personal care, such as bathing and eating
Hospice care also supports you and other caregivers and family members during your loved one’s illness and beyond. Close family and friends are still the primary caregivers during hospice care at home. A hospice care team will work closely with you to make sure you know how to best care for your loved one.
Benefits of Hospice Care
Hospice care provides the level of care your loved one needs as their illness becomes harder to treat — all from the comfort of home.
The goal of hospice at home services is to improve quality of life by focusing on:
- Physical comfort by easing symptoms like pain, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath
- Emotional comfort by relieving worry, working to resolve family issues or personal regrets, and helping with unfinished business
Hospice care gives you and your loved one the chance to make the most of your time together. It takes away the stress of unneeded hospital stays and reduces the panic arising from symptoms like shortness of breath. In short, hospice at home offers you and your loved ones the tools and support to live life to the fullest extent possible.
Hospice care is not “giving up” at the end. Instead, it provides your loved one with the comfort and dignity they deserve in the familiar surroundings of where they call home.
When Should You Consider Hospice Care?
Many people think that hospice care is only for the last few days or weeks of life. However, your loved one can receive hospice care for six months or even longer. Your loved one is eligible for hospice care if their health care provider thinks they would live for about six months if their illness ran its normal course.
It may be time to consider hospice care if:
- It’s harder to manage your loved one’s symptoms on your own
- You’re calling the doctor or 911 more often
- Your loved one goes to the hospital more often or stays there longer
- Treatments don’t work as well as they used to, or they cause side effects that make your loved one more uncomfortable
Starting hospice care early can reduce your loved one’s pain and other symptoms. It can help them breathe easier and feel less tired. For you and other caregivers, it can relieve feelings of guilt and worry. The extra help from your hospice team takes on physical and health needs, so you can focus on showing your loved one how much you care for them. In fact, many people say they wish they had started hospice care sooner.
What You Can Expect from VNS Health Hospice Care
VNS Health hospice services are provided by a team of experts who have the experience, training, and compassion to give your loved one the care they deserve. Our home hospice care also helps you and other caregivers feel confident in keeping your loved one comfortable at home.
VNS Health hospice patients can expect:
- Home visits from a hospice nurse and other specialists as needed, such as physical therapists, registered dietitians, and hospice physicians
- Help with medication for symptoms
- Support with medical equipment, such as a hospital bed or an oxygen tank
- Assistance with personal care, such as bathing, using the bathroom, and eating
- Emotional support and spiritual care, such as addressing fears and mending relationships
VNS Health hospice caregivers can expect:
- Education about how to care for your loved one and what to expect
- Help with making decisions about care
- Round-the-clock access to a hospice nurse using VNS Health’s caregiver helpline
- Emotional support and spiritual care to help you cope with your own feelings and support other loved ones
- Support with family issues
- Respite care, which allows you to take a break for an important family event, such as a wedding or funeral
- Grief support for 13 months to help you and your loved ones through milestones and anniversaries
During hospice, your loved one’s personal doctors will continue to treat them for any medical needs related to conditions other than their hospice diagnosis.
Insurance Coverage for Hospice Care
Home hospice care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, and most private insurance companies. Insurance starts as soon as your loved one is admitted into the hospice program.
In New York State, insurers are required by law to cover hospice care. But private insurance companies may limit benefits and coverage. If you have private insurance, check with your plan to see what is covered and what is not.
Veterans Hospice Care
Hospice care for veterans who have served our country.
Cancer Hospice Care
Hospice care for people with cancer.
COPD Hospice Care
Hospice care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Cardiac Hospice Care
Hospice care for patients with advanced heart conditions, such as heart failure.