Elder Law » Hospice Care http://elder-law.laws.com Elder Law- AARP, 401k, Retirement, Probate, Elder Abuse, Senior Citizen, Elder Care, Elder Law Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:43:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.18 Hospice Care Defined http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/hospice-care http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/hospice-care#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:21:00 +0000
Hospice care is a term that most individuals have heard mentioned, yet are unaware of what exactly it entails. Hospice care is a type of palliative care that is primarily reserved for individuals who are deemed to be terminally ill. Individuals who are terminal cases and who have entered into their final months of life maintain specific needs, which must be addressed through unique methods of medical treatment. Hospice care is not intended to provide patients with curative treatment, and therefore, individuals who are seeking treatment to cure a medical condition should not enlist the aid of hospice care. While palliative treatment may be beneficial to an individual in such a situation, hospice care is specifically focused on supporting and comforting patients during their final weeks of life. 
Definition 


In early history, a hospice was a location in which monastic orders offered care and assistance to ill and dieing individuals, as well as to pilgrims and travelers. Today, the term "hospice" is generally associated with a form of palliative care that is reserved for terminally ill patients who are entering into their final stages of life. Though the term can still refer to a central location, the location is usually not as important as the type and quality of care, as treatment can be provided in numerous different locations. An individual may receive hospice care in his/her home, at a hospice facility, in a nursing home, or in a hospital. The goal of hospice care is not to cure a patient's illness, but to ensure that he/she remains comfortable until his/her death. This is generally accomplished by carefully monitoring a patient's condition and administering appropriated medication as needed, in order to decrease pain.
Purpose
When an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he/she will most likely experience fear and anxiety regarding his/her fate. Severe illnesses are often accompanied by severe pain and discomfort. Hospice care is intended to provide terminally ill individuals with comfort and support. Hospice physicians and nurses will employ palliative care techniques in order to diminish a patient's pain and suffering. However, physical comfort is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. The emotional pain experienced by terminally ill patients is often just as affecting as the physical pain. Hospice programs usually offer various forms of counseling and therapy to patients that wish to utilize these services. In many cases, patients will also have access to clergymen so that their spiritual needs are likewise met. Hospice care not only seeks to provide patients with appropriate palliative care and support, but also to decrease the responsibility that would otherwise be assumed by a patient's family. A family should enjoy the time that they have left with their loved one, as opposed to undertaking all aspects of a patient's care. If a family does assume the responsibility of caring for their loved one, though, hospice programs will provide them with any necessary help and assistance.
Facilities


The type of hospice care that a patient receives will vary a great deal based on his/her specific situation. Every patient has a unique situation that requires different arrangements. It is common for terminally ill patients to request to be relocated to their home, where they will feel more comfortable and secure. However, this is not suitable for every patient. In many instances, a patient's family does not have the resources and assets necessary to care for a dying family member in their home. In other cases, caring for a loved one while they become increasingly less stable is emotionally devastating to witness. Therefore, many patients and their families choose to utilize hospice facilities for the remainder of the patient's time. At a hospice facility a patient will be able to receive constant medical attention, nurses will be available to ensure that patients are comfortable, and medication can be administered to diminish pain.  
Home Hospice


When an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness, often, the last place that he/she wants to spend his/her time is confined in a hospital or hospice facility. Many patients request to be relocated to their homes, so that they may remain comfortable and maintain their privacy. There are hospice programs that assist families in administer home care to their loved ones, as a large portion of hospice patients choose to spend their final days in their own home. Hospice employees will educate families on the proper methods of caring for their loved one and prepare them for the responsibility that they will shoulder. Providing home care to a terminally ill loved one is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Therefore, hospice volunteers and employees will frequently visit homes in order to provide relief to home caregivers for a short period of time. Hospice nurses will, too, teach family members how to administer essential medication. Once an individual obtains the knowledge and the tools to administer care to a patient, it is possible for a terminally ill individual to be cared for in full at home.
Children's Hospices 
When people think of hospitals and hospice facilities, they generally imagine elderly individuals battling illness and disease. Individuals commonly picture older patients being comforted during the last few days of their lives. When people imagine thee facilities they rarely picture images of terminally ill children being prepared for death. However, there are children's hospices that are dedicated solely to the care of terminally ill children. These children have not responded to treatment and as a result, they have a short life expectancy. A hospice will have the ability to provide these children with constant care and comfort. There are various different reasons that a family may choose to relocate an ill child to the care of a hospice. In some instances, hospices have the ability to provide sick children with more thorough and complete care than their families are able to provide. In other instances, the responsibility of caring for an ill child causes a family to experience detrimental stress and anxiety. Children's hospices are suitable for the situations of many different families.
Hospice Nurses


Becoming a hospice nurse takes a great deal of passion and determination. The process of becoming a nurse is long and arduous, requiring many years of education and training. Becoming a hospice nurse is an even more difficult process, involving specialized training as a hospice worker and detailed certification exams needed to be passed. Once an individual completes all of the necessary requirements and becomes a registered hospice nurse, he/she will be required to work an often upsetting job. While employment as a hospice nurse may be very rewarding, it is also, for many, emotionally draining. An individual employed in a hospice often becomes close with patients with the knowledge that they have a short life expectancy. Despite this frequent pain and disappointment, many individuals choose to become hospice nurses in order to have the ability to provide comfort and support to individuals during their last weeks of life. A hospice nurse maintains the knowledge that he/she was responsible for improving patients quality of life at the end of their time on Earth.

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Children’s Hospices At A Glance http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/childrens-hospices http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/childrens-hospices#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:59 +0000

When people imagine a hospice, they generally conjure images of elderly patients suffering from terminal diseases. However, the elderly are not the only people who are at risk for terminal illnesses, and therefore, are not the only patients who can be found at hospices. Thousands of children throughout the United States suffer from terminal illnesses.

In order to address the care and comfort of these children, children's hospices have been established. Children's hospices specifically cater to the needs of children that are facing death in the coming months. They also offer respite care and grief counseling in order to assist families. The children found in children's hospices are suffering from incurable diseases, such as cystic fibrosis or cancer, including leukemia, brain cancer, and osteosarcoma.

These patients have not responded to treatments, and further attempts at treatment would only increase pain and prolong suffering, not cure the illness. Once a child is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it is common for families to consider children's hospices, where the patients will have access to continuous medical attention and beneficial hospice programs.

When a child is diagnosed with a terminal illness it is often devastating for a family. The family may attempt to provide care for the child at home. However, this can require constant attention and care twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This is physically, emotionally, and financially exhausting for a family. The responsibility of caring for a sick child may cause extensive stress and anxiety, creating yet new tensions within the family.

In order to decrease the discord present in the child's environment, a family may decide to consider hospice programs. Like at a hospice facilities for adults, the responsibility of addressing the care and comfort of patients in children's hospices will fall to medical professionals. Doctors and nurses will administer medication to reduce pain, constantly monitor a child's condition, and ensure that a patient remains comfortable.

At a hospice, a child will have access to emotionally beneficial hospice programs, such as play therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. There are also hospice programs that arrange activities between siblings so that they are able to spend quality time together.

Hospice programs provide terminally ill children with beneficial services, especially children too young to understand the concepts of life and death. They may question what they did wrong to deserve their fate. Placing them in a hospice will allow them to communicate with other children who are experiencing similar situations.

This may help to negate the sense of isolation and seclusion that is often faced by terminally ill children. Because hospice doctors and nurses assume the responsibility of caring for patients, families will have the opportunity to spend quality time with a child without having to maintain the role of caregivers. This will provide them with the opportunity to simply enjoy the time that they have left with their child. 



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What Are Hospice Nurses http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/hospice-nurses http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/hospice-nurses#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:59 +0000

Hospice nursing is a rewarding but difficult job. Hospice nurses are responsible for overseeing the care of terminally ill patients. They provide dying individuals with essential palliative care. Hospice nursing is often emotionally draining for a nursing professional because each of his/her patients is suffering from a fatal illness.

A nurse may become attached to his/her patients knowing full well that eventually they will pass away. However, hospice nurses provide these patients with invaluable services and support. One of the primary functions of a hospice nurse is to ensure that patients remain as comfortable as possible. Therefore, they are responsible for constantly monitoring a patient's condition and administering necessary medicine to reduce any pain that he/she may be experiencing.

Hospice nursing focuses specifically on enacting measures to reduce pain and control symptoms. Hospice nurses may work in a hospice facility or may travel to patients' homes in order to provide care and support.

In most cases, each hospice patient is provided with one primary nurse, known as the case manager. This practice is utilized in order to establish a level of trust and comfort between a patient and his/her nurse. However, a hospice patient may come into contact with numerous other nurses throughout his/her time in a hospice program.

One of the first hospice nurses that a patient will communicate with is an admission nurse. When an individual wishes to enter a hospice program, he/she will generally be visited by an admission nurse who will analyze his/her condition and determine whether or not he/she is ready/suitable for hospice nursing. The admission nurse will complete a full examination of the individual's health and supply the physician with the fundamental findings from the assessment.

Nurses not assigned as case managers are often known as visit nurses. These nurses will provide immediate care to patients in the event of an emergency. If a case manager is not readily available, a visit nurse will ensure that the needs of the patient are addressed. Each of these nurses maintains important duties and responsibilities.

Hospice nursing is a job that requires patience and compassion. It also requires an individual to obtain an extensive education. In order for an individual to become a hospice nurse, he/she must become a registered nurse. An individual must first attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Some positions will require an individual to obtain a master's degree, too.

On top of this an individual will be required to successfully complete a licensing exam. To boot, he/she must receive certification as a hospice worker from his/her state health department. Before he/she can become a licensed hospice nurse, he/she must a pass a hospice nurse exam and satisfy, at minimum, two years of experience working in a hospice program and a registered nurse.


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Quick Overview on Home Hospice http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/home-hospice http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/home-hospice#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:58 +0000

When an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he/she has the option of obtaining hospice care. In many instances, an individual and his/her family decides that it is best for him/her to enter a hospice facility. At a hospice, a patient has continuous access to medical attention should the need arise. The medical staff employed at a hospice can ensure that a patient remains comfortable and can administer medication to reduce pain.

The services that are offered at hospices often make these facilities an attractive choice for patients. However, this does not mean that this option is appropriate for all individuals. While there are many benefits to hospice facilities for both patients and their families, some individuals simply can not stomach the idea of remaining in a hospice for their final weeks.

Many individuals would much rather remain in the comfort of their own home. In some cases, this simply is not possible. Nevertheless, if a patient adamantly desires to remain at home, then his/her family should do everything in their power to fulfill this desire.

Home hospice care can be very taxing on a family. Home caregivers are required to devote a great deal of time, energy, and dedication to the care of a loved one. Caring for a terminally ill individual is very physically and emotionally draining process. Often, terminally ill individuals require constant supervision. Their condition must be monitored regularly so that any changes can be addressed. Home caregivers must ensure that a dying individual is receiving constant attention. A home hospice aide will educate a family about the proper way to care for their loved one.

They will be provided with effective medication and will be taught how to administer this medication in the event that it is necessary to reduce pain. A home hospice aide will also inform a family about the various symptoms that present themselves as a given condition progresses.

In short, all inquiries and aspects of patient care will be addressed by a home hospice aide, in order to ensure that home caregivers are comfortable caring for their loved one. Home hospices aides will make frequent visits to the home to assist in the care of the patient.

Despite the assistance offered by home hospice aides, many home caregivers continue to find home care very difficult. This is often due to a patient's inability to move or function effectively on his or her own. Often, individuals who require hospice care are elderly and have difficulty completing regular activities. They need assistance in all daily routines, including bathing, using the bathroom, and eating. This can be physically exhausting for home caregivers.

The emotional effects of caring for a dying individual are often much more painful than the physical effects. In most cases, home caregivers are loving family members of the patient. It may therefore be very difficult for an individual to watch a loved one deteriorate and suffer. However, allowing a patient to spend his/her remaining time in the comfort of his/her home may be important to the patient. Knowing that he/she has fulfilled the desire of his/her loved one may be helpful for a caregiver.


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Purpose of Hospice Explained http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/purpose http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/purpose#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:58 +0000

Hospice services provide essential care and support to individuals suffering from terminal illnesses. Though it is a natural process, death is frightening and often painful for individuals who are suffering from these diseases.

Each hospice service offered by an organization is intended to reduce suffering and ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible during their final weeks. Hospice services seek to address the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of each patient, and recognize that each patient/family is extremely different from others, and therefore, has special and unique needs.

Hospice services are intended for individuals that have less then a six-month life expectancy. At this stage, a patient will require extensive emotional and medical support. The uncertainty that comes with death may be a source of anxiety and trepidation for dying patients. Hospice services will provide patients with access to counseling and spiritual guidance as well.

Clergymen are readily available for hospice patients, and they are often a source of comfort for the terminally ill, for often in the face of death, individuals attain a state of calm by reaffirming their faith and praying with clergymen. When individuals feel close to their God and strong in their faith, they often feel more comfortable with the thought of passing away. Clergymen work closely with hospice workers in order to amplify this comfort.

Another major concern associated with death is the possibility of pain. Many patients who are suffering from terminal illnesses are afraid that the pain will continue to increase as they become closer to death. Hospice doctors and nurses are trained and educated in the latest and most effective medications. The hospice service provided by medical professionals is intended to successfully diminish pain and ensure that patients remain as relaxed and content as possible.

However, hospice services avoid inducing benumbed and unresponsive behavior due to large doses of pain medication. A hospice service organization seeks to reduce pain while ensuring that the patient remains alert. As long as a patient is comfortable, he/she will not be administered an excessive quantity of medication that may inhibit his/her ability to talk or function. In addition to pain-reducing procedures, the organization also provides patients with access to physical therapists. 

To boot, this hospice service allows patients to remain mobile. If a patient exhibits a strong desire to remain self-sufficient, this hospice service will assist him/her in achieving this.

Each hospice service has been developed in order to ensure that dying patients are at peace, and aims to guarantee that patient's dignity is upheld. While clergymen and medical professionals address patients' physical and spiritual needs, therapists and counselors are on hand to address their emotional needs. Counselors are available to assist patients through conventional methods of therapy, as well as massage therapy, music therapy, and art therapy.

While hospice organizations are nationally recognized for their humanitarian efforts, one important and beneficial hospice service that is often overlooked is the emotional and physical assistance that hospice workers provide families. Watching a family member pass away is extremely difficult for any individual, but hospice care provides families with the tools that they need to cope.


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What Are The Facilities for Terminally Ill Elders http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/facilities http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/facilities#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:58 +0000

In many cases, a terminally ill individual will request to spend his/her remaining time in his/her own home. Indeed, it is common for hospice patients to shun the idea of entering into a facility or a hospital. In instances such as these, the family of a dying individual will be required to take on the care of the patient.

Hospices will offer home hospice services to patients who choose to remain in their own home and their families. However, some patients are not comfortable with the idea of dying in their homes. They may feel that this will be too difficult on their family. Otherwise, a patient may not want his/her family to assume the caregiver role.

In these cases, terminally ill individuals may choose to enter hospices. Hospices provide dying individuals with a secure and comfortable location to spend their final months. These facilities can be found in most major cities. In smaller or more rural communities, hospice patients may be relocated to hospitals or nursing homes in order to receive extended treatment from hospice caregivers. Hospices offer numerous advantages to hospice patients and their families.

When terminally ill individuals choose to enter hospices, they have access to essential and beneficial medical care at all times. If their symptoms worsen, a doctor or a nurse will be available to administer medication that will diminish any pain the patient is experiencing. While in a facility, hospice patients have access to services aimed at ensuring their comfort, including therapy, counseling, and spiritual guidance.

A physical therapist will often be on hand to assist hospice patients in remaining mobile. A patient will also have the ability to socialize with individuals experiencing similar situations. A terminally ill individual often feels isolated from his/her family, as they have not experienced the fear and anxiety that he/she is now facing, and this likely only to intensify in a paid facility. However, the ability to communicate with other terminally ill individuals about their feelings and experiences may help to provide a patient with some measure of relief and comfort.

When an individual enters a hospice facility, doctors and nurses become responsible for his/her care. Therefore, it is important for a family to ensure that a facility employs a medical staff that can more than adequately address the needs of their loved one. If it does not, the needs of the patients may go unmet.

In many cases, there are multiple hospice facilities within the same city. Before an individual enters into a hospice, he/she and his/her family should visit more than one location. One facility may have a more effective staff than another, or more suitable services to address the needs of certain patients. If a family locates a facility that they are comfortable with, this will allow them to continue spending time with their loved one without having to assume the role of caregivers.  


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Definition of Hospice http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/definition http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/definition#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:57 +0000

Throughout history, a hospice has been a location dedicated to providing lodging and care to the ill and the destitute, as well as to pilgrims and travelers. In general, hospices were maintained by monastic orders that would ensure that these visitors were adequately cared for. In 1967, Dr. Cicely Saunders adopted the term to describe a facility in which terminally ill patients could receive palliative care and comfort during their last weeks.

The first hospice, St. Christopher's Hospice, was established by Dr. Saunders in London. Since the creation of these palliative care facilities, countries throughout the world have begun to offer hospice care to dying individuals. Today, the place or central location in which the care is administered is no longer the fundamental aspect of hospice care. Instead, hospice refers to the nature of the care and palliative treatment conducted by doctors, nurses, and volunteers.

Unlike aggressive treatment intended to cure fatal but reversible diseases, hospice care seeks to comfort individuals with terminal diseases during their final weeks of life. Hospice care providers acknowledge that dying is a natural and necessary part of life.

The most important aspect of this process is to minimize suffering and ensure that a patient is as comfortable as possible. This form of palliative care does not seek to quicken or postpone death. It simply assists in preparing individuals and families for death with the hope of minimal suffering for the patient.

The large majority of individuals that seek hospice care are suffering from cancer. However, a hospice will provide care to an individual of any age no matter what type of illness he/she is suffering from. This type of palliative care is beneficial for individuals who wish to spend their final weeks in their own home, or in a comfortable, homelike environment.

Though some hospices are established and funded by specific religious denominations, they may offer care to a large community and would not refuse care due to a patient's religious beliefs. 

In most cases, discussing end-of-life care is difficult for both a patient and his/her family. However, in instances of terminal illness, aggressive treatment options generally prolong suffering and increase pain. Hospice care can provide both patients and families with comfort and support through the process of death. A patient may wish to speak with friends, doctors and clergymen about palliative care. Most health insurance providers cover hospice care, including private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid in the majority of states.

A hospice will help an individual to determine whether or not he/she is eligible for palliative care coverage. In the event that an individual's insurance does not cover hospice care, and he/she can not afford this care, a hospice may provide care to him/her utilizing supplemental foundation funds.


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What Are The Governing Laws for Organizations http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/governing-laws-organizations http://elder-law.laws.com/hospice-care/governing-laws-organizations#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2015 13:20:52 +0000

As much as most skilled nursing facilities emphasize a "homey" environment in their operations and treatment of residents, they are still are offering semi-public services to those with the means to be housed in such places. As such, they are bound, much as all businesses are, to sets of standards at both the state and federal level.

Regarding whether nursing home laws are primarily a manifestation of state or federal laws, really, both jurisdictions exert a great deal of influence on the consistent approval of facilities. State health departments use in-person visits as their main instrument to gauge nursing homes' accordance with nursing home law.

At least once a year, state surveyors will occupy skilled nursing facilities for their compliance with upwards of 100 different nursing and building operation codes, including the preparation of food according to standards of cleanliness and correctness as far as meeting the nutritional needs of individual residents goes, the safe storage of medical and non-medical supplies, non-restrictive protection of patient safety, and the general attitude of the staff and residents. As noted elsewhere, neglecting one or more of these areas may force the assessment of fines, additional reviews by surveyors, recommendations to cut federal funding, and takeovers by agents of the state.

As for federal nursing home laws to be met, again, compliance with benchmarks for Medicare and Medicaid receipt are not to be overlooked. One particular condition for the continued allocation of Social Security Act funds is the completion of what is known as the Minimum Data Set (MDS) instrument, authorized and reviewed by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), itself governed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The MDS is an assessment tool that gauges how well residents/patients are performing in terms of their physical health and overall well-being. According to nursing home law, minimum data sets must be filled out for all residents within a facility, and accurately, at that. It goes without saying that other nursing home laws may not be violated in the act of completion, namely that of an individual's right to privacy in matters of his or her medical history.

Aside from the CMS and state health bureaus, other organizations have an interest in upholding the nursing home laws of the United States. One group in particular that exerts a sizable influence on applications of nursing home law in this country is the American Health Care Association.

AHCA, as it is known for short, is a non-profit, nationwide coalition of health care providers that advocates on behalf of all long-term residents in nursing facilities to get the highest quality of care possible, directly exerting pressure on Congress to amend nursing home laws along the lines of these pursuits. Meanwhile, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations serves as an additional watchdog on nursing homes and like facilities to insure that they are offering the best care for the greatest value possible. 


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