At Centrica Care Navigators, we have doctors and nurses who specialize in hospice and end-of-life care. In end-of-life care, each patient has their own designated care team that works with their primary physician to develop an appropriate, compassionate plan of care — a schedule of treatments and check-ins to make sure they are comfortable and have their needs met.
But what you might not realize is why you might need a care team in the first place. You may have heard the word “hospice,” but not know much more. It could really help to have a simple guide to understanding hospice.
What is hospice?
Hospice is for patients who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and who are expected to live 6 months or fewer. At that point, the patient and their doctor aren’t trying to cure the illness, but give the patient a better quality of life before their death.
Hospice care is intended to make patients comfortable and give them time with family and friends. That often means treatment to relieve pain and management of symptoms. During hospice care, patients can get help for social, emotional, and spiritual needs, too, with visits from social workers, specialized therapists, and others.
When do I need hospice care?
There are many signs that the time might be right for hospice care. Hospice patients often have serious illnesses like cancer, dementia, liver disease, and ALS, among others.
People often think they can only get hospice care when they are days away from death. We encourage patients to ask about care long before that. Research has shown that patients who receive care early enough during their illness can live several more weeks than patients who get little hospice care — weeks full of family and friends.
Where do I receive hospice?
When you hear the term “in hospice,” it means “receiving compassionate end-of-life care.” Hospice is not a place, but a type of care a patient receives, no matter where they are.
Hospice care can be provided almost anywhere. Most of our patients receive care in their own homes, but we also have Rose Arbor Place in Kalamazoo, our facility for people who need constant care. Additionally, patients can receive care at senior care and similar facilities.
How do I pay for hospice care?
It’s paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurance. It’s important to know that Centrica Care Navigators supports everyone who needs end-of-life care, regardless of their ability to pay. Everyone deserves compassionate, appropriate care, without being restricted by high costs.
What does hospice care provide?
Each patient has their own designated care team, which includes a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, and other staff. They get to know their patient and do what they can to help the patient live a quality end-of-life experience. For example, some patients and families need assistance filling out paperwork, and patients who have difficulty making it to the bathroom themselves get help with bathing and personal care.
All the necessary medical supplies like medication and equipment are also part of hospice care. Sometimes all a patient wants is someone to talk to, or someone to listen, like a chaplain or social worker. We also have a dedicated team of volunteers who offer companionship, help with small household chores, and much more.
How do I get hospice care?
The process starts with a referral, where someone (the patient, a physician, or a family member or other caregiver) contacts Centrica Care Navigators about receiving hospice care.
We’ll help evaluate the situation, and if it’s appropriate, we’ll bring in a skilled care team to provide support from the beginning. If hospice isn’t the right option now, it may be in the future. We’ll be available when it is time for compassionate end-of-life care.
We want people to understand the value of hospice for their loved ones, and for doctors and others to feel confident enough to refer their patients to us.
The key to receiving excellent hospice care is understanding what you’re getting and why you’re getting it. That’s why you’ll find the information you need to understand hospice right here on our website, or give us a call at 269.345.0273.