Hospice Q and A

faqsWhat is hospice?
Hospice is a model of holistic health care designed to treat the whole person so he or she may live fully, maintain dignity and retain personal control. This concept of care provides physical, emotional and spiritual care to patients and their families living with a life-limiting illness.

When is the right time to call Piedmont Hospice?
Any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s care options, including hospice. The earlier Piedmont Hospice is involved, the more beneficial it can be for a patient and their family.

It is time to call Piedmont Hospice when…

  • Curative treatment is not an option
  • When the goal of care changes to comfort, symptom control and enhancing the quality of life
  • A physician feels Piedmont Hospice’s services could help

Who qualifies for hospice care?
Hospice care is for anyone who has a life-limiting or terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less if the illness runs its normal course. Patients with both cancer and non-cancer illness are eligible for hospice care.

How are Piedmont Hospice’s services initiated?
A physician (or other health care professional), a patient or designated health care surrogate may request Piedmont Hospice services.  Ultimately the patient and the primary care physician must agree that the referral is appropriate and approve admission to hospice. Hospice care is established when the patient, primary caregiver or health care representative agree with the hospice terms in written form.  A plan of care is established and subsequent visits by the hospice team are scheduled.

Where is care provided?
Care is provided in a setting that best suits the needs of the patient and caregivers. It may be provided at home, the home of a caregiver or at an inpatient facility.

How much will hospice cost me?
Hospice coverage is provided by Medicare, Medicaid and by most private health insurance policies. Medicare and/or Medicaid are the most frequent sources of payment. Both will pay at 100% for medication, personal hygiene items and medical supplies relating to the terminal diagnosis, equipment needed for comfort and safety (hospital bed, bedside commode, wheelchair, etc) and the services of the hospice team.

Piedmont Hospice assesses patients based on need and not financial status. No patient will be refused care based on inability to pay. Eighty percent of people who use hospice care are over the age of 65 and therefore are entitled to the Medicare Hospice Benefit.  As a result, the financial burdens usually associated with caring for terminally ill patients is virtually non-existent. For patients without a payer source, Piedmont Hospice will conduct a financial assessment based on a sliding fee scale.

What does hospice service cover?

  • Physician services for the medical management of the patient’s care
  • Regular home visits by skilled nurses
  • Certified Nurse Aides for personal grooming and assisting with meals
  • Social work and counseling
  • Medical equipment
  • Medication related to the patient’s diagnosis and symptom management
  • Medical supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Volunteer support for companionship
  • Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and dietary counseling as needed

Who takes care of hospice patients?
The Piedmont Hospice Team is composed of compassionate professionals who address the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of patients:

  • The Patient’s Personal Physician may continue to direct the patient’s care alongside other members of the hospice team.
  • The Hospice Medical Director is a physician specially trained in pain and symptom management as well as other issues involved with treating life-limiting illness.
  • Registered Nurses have advanced training and provide comprehensive nursing services in the home. On-call staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year as needed.
  • Nursing assistants are trained to provide personal care in the home in a respectful and professional manner that promotes dignity for the patient.
  • Medical Social Workers have advanced education in counseling and are trained to help individuals and families cope with emotional, social and financial stress due to life-limiting illness and impending loss.
  • The Hospice Chaplain is a minister who provides spiritual care and counseling if requested.  Care is non-denominational and does not impose any particular theology or religion, but addresses spiritual concerns regarding death and dying.
  • The Hospice Bereavement Counselor provides specialized grief support to families following the loss of a loved one. Support groups, reading materials and individual counseling can continue for up to thirteen months.
  • All of our Volunteers have completed an intense training program preparing them to help patients and family with practical needs such as running errands and companionship.

What are the service areas for Piedmont Hospice?
Piedmont Hospice is proud to be serving patients and families from three locations in South Carolina.  The Lowcountry office services Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties.  The Upstate office services Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, Union and York counties. Our dedicated hospice teams live in your communities and are readily available to provide services whenever the need arises.  Contact us HERE for more information.