Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hospice Care FAQ

Who are the members of the hospice care team?

The hospice philosophy centers around the idea of whole patient care, provided by a team of professionals. The hospice care team includes a physician to oversee the team's care plan and an RN case manager to provide medical direction and care. A social worker and chaplain are also on the team to offer counseling as well as practical and spiritual guidance. The home health aide provides personal care assistance, such as bathing and grooming, and patients can also enjoy visits from a hospice volunteer for additional companionship. The family caregiver and other loved ones also benefit from the team, through education, emotional support, and some relief from caregiving duties. After the patient's death, bereavement support is also provided to the family and other loved ones as needed.

Is there any relief for the family caregiver of a hospice patient?

If the primary caregiver for a hospice patient is a family member or other loved one, respite care is available through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Respite care offers the family caregiver a break from the daily responsibilities of caregiving. To give the caregiver relief, respite care may be provided in a Medicare-approved facility. This includes a freestanding hospice facility, a nursing home, or other long-term care facility. Respite care is covered by Medicare for up to five days at a time.

Why would a patient stop receiving hospice care?

A hospice patient has the right to stop receiving hospice care at any time, for any reason. If the patient chooses to stop hospice care, health care benefits from the standard or Medicare Advantage plan continue. On occasion, a terminally ill patient's health improves or the patient's illness goes into remission while receiving hospice care. A patient's condition may become stable to the point that the hospice team and physician(s) believe the patient cannot be certified as terminally ill (having a life expectancy of six months or less), and therefore, is no longer eligible for the Medicare Hospice Benefit. At any point in time, a patient can return to hospice care, so long as the eligibility criteria are met and certification by physician(s) and hospice team are received.

For information about hospice services in Tucson, Arizona, contact Casa de la Luz Hospice at (520) 544-9890 or visit www.casahospice.com.

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