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AMERICAN GUARDIAN - FAQ
What does Hospice really do?
American Guardian Hospice provides specialized care services (patient care including symptom management, emotional support, spiritual support and psychosocial intervention), addressing issues most important to the patient’s needs and wants at the end of their life focusing on improving the individual’s quality of life.
How do I know when it is time for end-of-life care?
Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less. At that time, comfort, care, and symptom management become the primary focus, and curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option.
When should Hospice be called?
Hospice should be called at any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice.
Is Hospice regular medical care?
No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, etc. Each hospice provider is a different company. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services may differ. Some hospices are for-profit corporations, while others (like American Guardian Hospice) are not-for-profit organizations. In California, it is your right to request the hospice of your choice if more than one hospice serves your area.
Can my pain and symptoms be controlled at home?
Yes. Pain and other symptoms can usually be controlled in the patient’s home. If a symptom (i.e. pain, nausea or vomiting, or difficulty breathing) becomes a problem, the hospice nurse can be reached 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. There have been great advances in pain and symptom control in the past few years. Most symptoms can be controlled without the use of injections or IV medication. American Guardian Hospice’ nurses assess each patients’ pain and symptom control at each visit. Hospice medical directors are always available to adjust medications.
Does Hospice provide 24-hour in-home care?
No. Hospice provides intermittent nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime the need for support arises.
Can I live alone and still receive Hospice services?
Yes. American Guardian Hospice accepts patients who live alone, however, part of the admission and ongoing care process is to plan and prepare for the time in a patient’s illness when 24-hour a daycare will be necessary.
Can a Hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?
Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit.
Can I go back to the hospital and still receive Hospice care?
Yes. However, many symptoms that would normally require hospitalization or an emergency room visit can be successfully managed at home by the hospice team, thus preventing the stress of hospitalization. Hospice patients generally only have the need for short hospital stays to stabilize a symptom and then are able to return home.
Is the decision for Hospice care giving up hope or waiting to die?
No. Hospice is about living. Star Care Hospice strives to bring quality of life and comfort to each patient and their family. Our successes are in helping a patient and family live fully until the end. Often patients will feel better with good pain and symptom management. Hospice is an experience of care and support, different from any other type of care.
Does Hospice do anything to bring death sooner?
No. Our goal is always to alleviate suffering and manage symptoms. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortably as possible.
Do I have to be homebound to receive Hospice services?
No. Hospice is about living fully. We encourage patients to do what they enjoy as they are able. The hospice team assists patients and families in achieving their goals and dreams as much as possible.
Does Hospice provide support to the family after the patient dies?
Yes. Bereavement Services follow family and caregivers for a year following the patient’s death. These services may include personal visits, providing information concerning the grief process and offering periodic opportunities for group support. Bereavement Services provides information and referral to other area resources when needed.