Who Is Appropriate For Hospice Care?
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine (SDHIPM) provides comprehensive physical, emotional, and spiritual care for adults, children, and infants faced with a terminal or life-limiting illness.
Patients of all ages, with any of the following illnesses, may be appropriate for a hospice referral once eligibility criteria are met:
• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
• Severe birth defects
In addition, patients with the following end-stage diseases may also be hospice-appropriate:
• Cardiovascular disorder
• Renal diseases
• Liver disease
• Lung disease
Please note that these are not exhaustive lists. To explore options, SDHIPM will meet with patients and their loved ones at no charge to discuss possible hospice care. For more information or for a free informational visit, please call (619) 688-1600.
Is Hospice Expensive?
Hospice care is a cost-effective and valuable healthcare resource for individuals living with a life-limiting illness. Most insurance providers, including Medicare and Medi-Cal, have a defined hospice benefit.
Does "Hospice" Mean Giving Up Hope?
No. Hospice workers recognize the importance of hope as a powerful, ever-changing force that continues throughout the time of living and the process of dying. Hospice offers hope that a secure, familiar care setting can be enjoyed. Hospice offers hope for freedom from the fears of isolation, abandonment, loneliness, loss of control and physical pain — hope that the family will be nurtured and supported, even after the death of the patient, through bereavement services.
What Kinds Of Illnesses Are Cared For By Hospice?
Hospice care is provided to adults, children and infants living with any advanced progressive life-limiting or terminal illness such as severe birth defects, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's, stroke, ALS, Parkinson's, and end-stage heart, lung, kidney or liver disease. Hospice care also supports the patient's family members and loved ones of all ages during the illness and offers bereavement support after the death.
Does San Diego Hospice Provide 24-Hour Nursing Care In The Home?
Typically, the hospice home care program provides intermittent visits on an as-needed basis to support the patient and primary caregiver and does not routinely provide 24-hour nursing care in the home. However, patients who require intensive nursing care for short-term management of complex symptoms may qualify for a level of hospice care known as Crisis Care or Continuous Care; please ask a primary care team member for information. Primary care teams are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hour support (evenings/weekends/holidays) is available as needs arise by calling 1-866-688-1600.
Isn't Hospice Useful Only For Heavy-Duty Pain Medications?
Hospice care is designed to provide not only medical care but also social, psychological and spiritual support delivered by an interdisciplinary hospice team that may include a nurse, social worker, spiritual counselor, home health aide, and other professionals and trained volunteers.
If You Are On Hospice, Can You Keep Your Own Doctor?
Yes. Patients may remain under the care of their personal physician while receiving hospice care. However, some physicians prefer to transfer care to a San Diego Hospice physician.
Must You Leave Your Home To Receive Hospice Care?
No, hospice is a philosophy of care for people who are living with an advanced or life-limiting illness, no matter where they live. Care is provided in the patient's home or wherever the patient resides, including residential, skilled nursing, and assisted living facilities. Specialty in-hospital care is also available.
How Long May A Patient Stay In The Inpatient Facility Operated By San Diego Hospice?
Admission is based on medical necessity for patients whose pain or other symptoms can best be managed in this type of setting. The beds in the Inpatient Care Center are not used for long-term care. The usual goal of inpatient care is to relieve the patient's symptoms and to help the patient return home.
Is There A Time Limit On Hospice Services?
Hospice services are not limited to a six-month time period. Patients will continue to receive hospice services beyond six months if the illness is still present, still considered "terminal," their clinical status continues to decline and treatment goals continue to focus on palliation rather than cure of their underlying disease.
Contrary to popular belief, Medicare law does not time-limit the hospice benefit. Patients have access to the Medicare Hospice Benefit as long as the patient's physician and the hospice medical director certify that the patient's illness is still considered "terminal," with an estimated life expectancy of six months or less. A San Diego Hospice physician or nurse practitioner will visit each patient every two months after the first six months on hospice to determine continued eligibility for the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
What Happens If A Patient's Condition Improves?
If a patient's condition improves to the point where the prognosis no longer meet hospice eligibility criteria, the patient will be discharged from San Diego Hospice services. Staff will assist the patient and family with this process. The patient can receive hospice services again in the future, if they meet hospice eligibility criteria.