Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hospice Care: No Limits

Recent statistics gathered by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) state that 1.65 million Americans are cared for by hospice organizations each year. The number continues to grow. Why? Because hospice provides the care Americans have said they want.

A Gallup poll has determined that 88% of Americans would prefer to die at home, free of pain, surrounded by loved ones. This is what hospice care makes possible. As a whole, our nation’s hospices appear to be doing a good job. 94% of Americans who’ve had family members in hospice rate the care received as good to excellent, according to NHPCO research.

One of the key messages that hospices nationwide are communicating to the public deals with the six-month time period. The major qualification for hospice care is a prognosis indicating that a patient has six months or less to live. But there is not a six-month limit on hospice service.

A patient may receive hospice care for as long as necessary when a physician certifies that he or she meets eligibility requirements.

Under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, two 90-day periods (six months) are followed by an unlimited number of 60-day periods.

Because there is the six-month prognosis requirement AND the initial enrollment period for hospice is also six months, there are misunderstandings. Some patients and family members may fear that if the patient does not die within the six-month period, the patient will be dismissed from hospice. But that is not the case.

Hospice patients do not have to worry about “using up” their hospice benefit.

Even though hospice care is becoming more popular in America and familiar to more Americans, the education process regarding hospice care is an ongoing effort. If there is an aspect of hospice care that is not quite clear to you and your family members, call us at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

Hope Hospice provides hospice care to residents of St. Louis city and county, Jefferson county, St. Charles county and Franklin county.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed Are The Caregivers

It is an enormous responsibility. It takes huge amounts of time and patience. It can be physically and mentally strenuous. But serving as a caregiver for a dying family member can be a blessing.

At Hope Hospice we work closely with our patients’ caregivers, providing support and encouragement as well as information and guidance.

The caregiving time, whether a few days or a few months, allows for closeness to a degree that both parties may not have experienced before. The time when death is approaching can lead to surprising candor and even unexpected revelations.

A caregiver can feel that his or her mission is a thankless one. When other family members and even the patient neglect to offer an occasional thank you, the caregiver can become frustrated and resentful. It takes a strong character to realize that yours is special role and you are a special person for accepting the role. (Even if you had little choice.)

Most of us, during our lives, have few extended periods of selflessness that caregivers provide. The challenges of caregiving are immense. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others, including other family members, your church community and good friends. Remember also, as you take care of the patient, it is important for you to maintain your own good health.

When the demands of caregiving become overwhelming, take comfort in knowing that your hospice team members are standing by to help. When problems arise hospice professionals will work to lead you to the right solutions.

For information about hospice care in metro St. Louis, call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort, Not Cure

When should a call be made to hospice? When discomfort and pain caused by a disease and/or its treatment becomes unbearable, hospice can help.

When a patient is told that treatment is no longer working, hospice can help.

Hospice is designed to provide comfort and relief from pain. It is not designed to cure.

The concept of hospice is relatively new. Only during the past few decades has hospice care become a significant element of the American health care picture. Because many of today’s hospice patients had little awareness of hospice during their younger days, the goals and methods of hospice may be unfamiliar.

If you are a patient with a severe, possibly life threatening, illness or a close family member of a patient, learning about hospice is vital. In addition to information your may discover online and in books, ask your doctor to share his or her knowledge of hospice.

If you desire greater information about hospice—even if the need for hospice may be months or years away—you can call us in metro St. Louis at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. We are happy to answer your questions, whether general or specific.

One important fact about hospice that many do not realize is that hospice includes more than just medical care. A hospice team includes social workers and chaplains to deal with emotional and spiritual needs.

The effort to educate the public about hospice care is ongoing. It may take another generation or two before awareness of hospice is as good as it should be. We understand that some people may be averse to learning about hospice because it centers on the topic of death. We understand that some people figure they’ll investigate hospice when necessary, but not before.

Remember, you can call us any time with your questions about hospice. Call Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800. Hope Hospice is an independent hospice care agency that serves patients and families in St. Louis city and county and in Jefferson, St. Charles and Franklin counties.

Alive And Well—–Living With Huntington’s Disease

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a devastating, degenerative, hereditary brain disorder. HD is similar to the better-known Parkinson’s Disease, in that it is a disorder that affects movement.

The major difference is that Huntington’s Disease is genetic. If either of a person’s parents has HD, there is a 50/50 chance that a son or daughter will inherit the condition. Also, HD begins to affect people generally between 30 and 50, whereas Parkinson’s symptoms become apparent between ages 50 and 70.

Hope Hospice has scheduled a showing of a documentary film that showcases 7 individuals who are living with Huntington’s Disease. The film, titled Alive and Well, is an upbeat story of people who choose to make the most of their lives, despite their circumstances.

The film will be shown on Thursday, February 27, 2014, 7:30 p.m. at Wehrenberg’s Des Peres Ciné at I-270 and Manchester. Cost is 10.75. A minimum of 100 tickets must be sold by February 12 to assure that the screening happens.

To purchase tickets to Alive and Well, click HERE and order online.

A person whose parent has Huntington’s can take a pre-symptomatic test to determine if he or she is likely to get the disease. The testing has only been available for the last two decades. The vast majority of individuals who are at risk have not been tested. Those who choose to be tested must attend counseling sessions beforehand, to help them deal with the outcome.

At this time, there is no cure for Huntington’s Disease but drugs are available to control certain symptoms.

Hope Hospice has had patients with HD, but the number is comparatively small, compared to those hospice patients with other conditions.

We are looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about Huntington’s and see these courageous people featured in Alive and Well. We hope you can join us on February 27 at Des Peres Ciné.

If you know someone in your community who is dealing with Huntington’s Disease, please make sure they are aware of this screening. Thank you.