5 Reasons to Call Hospice Sooner
It’s a myth that Hospice is only for the final days of life. In fact, it’s recommended that as soon as you are eligible for hospice, you call us, so that the time you have left is on your terms and so that we can ensure that your wishes are carried out.
To qualify for Hospice Care, your doctor plus one of our hospice physicians must agree that your life is six months or less and you are no longer pursuing curative treatments. However, since everyone is different, those who qualify can continue receiving hospice care if they live longer than six months. And you can actually stop hospice care any time.
Here are 5 Reasons why Calling Hospice Sooner is Better:
1. Hospice Can Improve Quality of Life
It’s been said that when Hospice Care starts, you feel the “Hospice Hug,” meaning you are being cared for in every way from help managing physical symptoms including chronic pain, trouble breathing, insomnia, and fatigue, to help managing emotional symptoms including anxiety and depression, improving quality of life. It can take some time to get symptoms under control, so calling earlier is key and may also reduce Emergency Room visits and hospital stays. In fact, studies have shown that patients who enroll in hospice actually live longer than those with similar illnesses who do not receive hospice care.
“I wish we had called Hospice sooner,” said Jim, whose wife received Hospice Care from Four Seasons. “When we finally got them involved, my wife was finally able to be comfortable and we had such precious moments together. If I had known we could have called months earlier, we would have been able to have many more of those moments together. It’s not just for the very last days and I know that now.”
2. Medicare and Most Insurance Pay for Hospice Care
Hospice Care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, VA Benefits and most private insurers and covers an array of hospice patient and family services. In addition, Four Seasons Foundation provides assistance to those in need. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that enrolling in Hospice Care earlier significantly reduced costs. Hospice services covered may include:
- Medical care from hospice providers and nurses wherever you call home
- Many medications
- Social workers
- Home care aides
- Spiritual Counselors and Music Therapy
- Grief Counselors
- Medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and hospital beds
- Volunteers who provide companionship, transportation to doctor appointments, and veteran services
In addition, Four Seasons can further help with navigating payment options and our Foundation helps provide care to those in need.
Lisa, whose mother, Virginia, was served by Four Seasons said, “During our planning, we were able to finally arrange things so that mom was able to receive veteran’s benefits in her very late life, which made all of the difference in the world from a financial perspective.”
3. Hospice Care is About What’s Most Important to You
We ask our patients and families “what’s most important to you?” and use those wishes as a guide to provide care that is the best fit for you.
Everyone’s wishes are different. Some involve priorities for attending a family event, writing letters or having loved ones come to visit, prioritizing faith, hobbies or interests, or to plan advance directives and express wishes for end-of-life care. All of these wishes are captured by our team and included in your care plan. Involving hospice earlier means more time to carry out your wishes.
“For my mother, her faith was her priority, and Four Seasons helped ensure this was known and that appointments weren’t scheduled during the time she watched mass online,” said Lisa, daughter of Virginia, who was served by Four Seasons.
Our Director of Care Navigation, Maureen Williams expressed, “It was a privilege to make her wishes known to our Hospice team and say, ‘colleagues, this is what’s most important to her,” said Maureen. “It was very special to coordinate her wishes with hospice providers, medical providers, and facility providers to honor her wishes.”
4. Hospice Helps You Navigate and Make Informed Decisions
Our team will help you understand the sometimes confusing journey through end-of-life care, empowering you, your family, or caregivers to communicate more effectively with doctors. Our staff is available by phone 24/7 to answer a question, or provide guidance. In addition, our Hospice Team can coordinate with your existing providers to ensure you continue your relationships with them as well, if desired. We will answer questions and also help you navigate advance directives and end-of-life decisions, equipping you with the knowledge and resources you need.
Calling Hospice sooner gives you more time to plan for what’s next, so that your moments can be spent on more important things.
Lisa explains how Four Seasons “was able to monitor not only my mom’s needs, but also the needs of the staff and facilities attending to her care. Maureen became the ‘cog’ in the machine, connecting all these moving parts together so that Mom’s care was consistent and honored her highest priority wishes. It was a collaboration between Four Seasons, facilities’ staff, mom’s attorney, and myself all with mom running the show.”
5. Hospice Provides Much-Needed Support to Families and Caregivers
Families and caregivers are sometimes overwhelmed and feel at a loss for how to provide the best care. Our Hospice Team consists of providers (doctors, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants), nurses, CNAs, social workers, spiritual counselors, grief counselors, music therapists, and volunteers who not only provide care for the patient, but also resources, support, education and counseling to families and caregivers. Four Seasons also provides Respite Care for up to 5 days to give caregivers a much-needed rest.
Starting hospice earlier helps you to establish a relationship with your hospice team, improving the caregiving experience.
Kristy, mother of Ashley, who received care from Four Seasons expressed,”If I had known how wonderful hospice care is and how much relief our family could have gotten, I would have called Four Seasons much sooner. The support, the love, the compassion and all the wonderful people we met was remarkable. I cannot even find the words to describe it. They have become part of our family!”