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VNA of Care New England
VNA of Care New England

FAQ: Hospice & Palliative Care

What is hospice and how can it help people?

Hospice is not a place; it is a philosophy of care. Care is usually provided in a patient’s home, but can be provided in any environment in which the patient resides – it might be a nursing home, assisted living or a residential care facility. Hospice is the most appropriate treatment option when an individual has made the decision to discontinue curative treatment and when expert symptom management that may include physical, emotional and spiritual support becomes the goal for someone with a life-limiting condition. Caring and comfort, not cure, are the focus of hospice.

What if someone is not ready to go on hospice and wants to continue receiving curative treatment?

At VNA of Care New England, we customize our services to meet the needs of patients and their loved ones at different points during their illness. We understand and respect these decisions and therefore, offer what is called a Palliative Care Program for those individuals who require home health care services.

Who provides hospice care?

The patient’s needs may change during the different phases of their illness. At certain times more nursing care may be needed, while, at other times, more social work or the expertise of an entire team is beneficial. Hospice care is provided by a team of experts that includes:

  • A physician.
  • Registered nurses.
  • Home health aides.
  • Social workers.
  • A chaplain.
  • Trained volunteers.

Is hospice care only for patients with cancer?

No. Hospice care is actually an appropriate treatment option for many different life-limiting conditions that may include:

  • Cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • Neurological disease.
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Renal disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Chronic debilitating infections.
  • Multisystem failure.

Who is eligible to receive hospice care?

Hospice care is available for patients who have elected to no longer seek curative treatment and have a prognosis of six months or less, as determined by their physician, if their disease takes its normal course.

How is hospice care paid for?

Medicare’s Hospice Benefit covers hospice costs at 100 percent. Medicaid and most private insurers also cover hospice costs, including medications, medical supplies and equipment.

What is palliative care and how can it help people?

Palliative care focuses on pain relief, stress and other debilitating symptoms of serious illness and may be provided even at the time of diagnosis and while the patient continues to receive curative treatment. The goal of palliative care is to help provide the best possible quality of life for patients and their families while they work to make medical decisions and determine, along with their physician, the best course of treatment that is consistent with their goals and wishes. Palliative care may be provided in the patient’s home by VNA of Care New England’s home health care program.

Learn more about palliative care through CNE and The Conversation Project.

Who provides palliative care?

At VNA of Care New England, members of the hospice team including registered nurses, home health aides and social workers also provide palliative care services, so that if, and when, the patient elects to receive hospice, they are familiar with the staff and have developed a relationship based on trust and mutual understanding.

Is palliative care only for patients with cancer?

No. Palliative care is actually an appropriate treatment option for many different life-limiting conditions that may include:

  • Cancer.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
  • Neurological disease.
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Renal disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Chronic debilitating infections.
  • Multisystem failure.

Who is eligible to receive palliative care?

Palliative care is available for patients who are considered homebound and receiving home health care services from VNA of Care New England.

Care New England
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