Explaining Hospice Services

| By Casa de la Luz

Hospice care is a philosophy of care dedicated to treating the patient as a whole person. This means that hospice services are designed to meet a patient’s medical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. They also provide support to the patients’ loved ones through education and bereavement counseling.

Hospice care is covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, and is also covered by Medicaid and private insurance plans. Patients are considered hospice appropriate when a physician has certified that a patient is terminally ill with six months or less to live, if the illness runs the expected course. Patients who choose hospice agree to forgo any treatments designed to cure the terminal illness.
Hospice care focuses on providing comfort care, by providing pain relief and managing symptoms. (Medicare continues to pay for covered benefits for health problems that are not related to the terminal illness.) Hospice services are not limited to a set amount of time; care continues as long as the hospice physician recertifies that a patient is terminally ill.
What do hospice services include?
A hospice patient receives regular visits from a nurse who works closely with the hospice physician to manage symptoms in order to ensure the patient is comfortable. Hospice services also include social services support from a licensed social worker, and spiritual counseling is available, if the patient desires it.
The hospice benefit includes the medications necessary for pain relief and symptom control, and the medical supplies and equipment needed for the patient to manage their terminal illness in the comfort of their own home. Home is defined as wherever the patient resides, whether it’s a private residence, assisted living facility, adult care home, or a nursing home.
Casa de la Luz Hospice also offers Arizona’s first residential hospice home, Kanmar Place. The home is licensed as an assisted living home, but all of the residents at Kanmar are hospice patients. They receive care and support from the interdisciplinary team as well as Kanmar’s certified caregivers.
A home health aide is available to make regular visits and assist with personal care needs such as bathing and grooming. A hospice volunteer can be provided to offer companionship to the patient and respite for the caregiver.
When symptoms are too difficult to manage at home, many hospices have an inpatient unit available to provide acute symptom management. If the symptoms are stabilized within the inpatient unit, the patient can return to the comfort of their home. The Casa de la Luz Hospice Inpatient Unit offers nine private patient rooms and is conveniently located adjacent to Northwest Medical Center.
Grief support services are available to the family and loved ones after the patient’s death. Casa de la Luz Hospice offers a variety of bereavement services, including one-on-one counseling, grief and loss support groups, and a public memorial service twice a year to remember the patients who have died in our care.
If you’d like more information about hospice, please talk to your physician or contact Casa de la Luz at 520-544-9890 or info@casahospice.com.

by Carrie Bui, Communications Specialist

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