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Hospice Care in Atlanta

The Complete Resource Guide to Hospice Care in Atlanta.

HOSPICE CARE IN ATLANTA

Over several decades, care for people with limited life expectancy has evolved into a sophisticated system of medical care and supportive services that addresses the dying person’s needs as well as prepares the patient and family, in a responsive and sensitive manner, to anticipate the process ahead. In Atlanta, a number of agencies, some not-for-profit and others for-profit, provide hospice care but not all hospice providers are alike. Do you have the right to choose your hospice provider and how do you find the most appropriate one? Atlanta Senior Advocates can help you identify the right hospice provider to meet your unique needs and situation.

HOSPICE CARE IN ATLANTA

WHAT IS HOSPICE?

Hospice is a comprehensive program of care and services for people facing life-limiting illness and their families. Unlike other types of care such as in skilled nursing facilities or home health, the focus of hospice is on both the patient and family. The plan of care, developed by the hospice team of professionals, respects the wishes, beliefs and desires of both patient and family; medical services are provided to the patient while the family receives emotional support, education and guidance.

Hospice is thus a philosophy of care rather than a place. More than 80% of hospice care is provided in the patient’s home although hospice can be provided in residential personal care homes, assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, and anywhere the patient resides.

WHAT DOES HOSPICE CARE DO FOR PATIENTS AND FAMILIES?

The primary emphasis of hospice care is palliative rather than curative – relief of pain and control of symptoms to achieve quality of life for whatever time remains. During this time, the family is provided emotional, spiritual, and practical support. Following death, bereavement services and counseling are offered to the family for a period of up to 13 months (under Medicare guidelines) to help process their grief and come to terms with their loss.

WHAT SERVICES ARE PROVIDED AND WHAT IS COVERED BY INSURANCE?

Hospice care is delivered through an interdisciplinary team of professionals that includes a physician, nurses, hospice aides, social worker, chaplain, volunteers, and grief counselors.

  • Medical care and nursing services are available 24 hours a day for pain and symptom management
  • Hospice aides assist patients with personal care and daily activities,
  • Social Workers and Chaplains support patients and families emotionally and spiritually,
  • Volunteers help the patient and family and allow caregivers respite time
  • Continuous care is provided during periods of crisis to maintain the patient at home.
  • General inpatient care is provided for pain management and symptom control on a short term basis in a hospital, skilled nursing facility or hospice unit when the home setting is not effective.

Medical equipment such as a hospital bed and bedside commode as well as certain medications are provided under the hospice plan of care; Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans cover hospice services, equipment, medications and supplies. To qualify for hospice care, patients –

  • Must be diagnosed with a life limiting illness,
  • Must have a life expectancy of approximately 6 months or less,
  • Must be under the care of a physician who periodically certifies that the patient is eligible for hospice.

IS THERE A RESOURCE TO HELP US UNDERSTAND AND CONNECT WITH A REPUTABLE HOSPICE PROVIDER?

Hospice affirms life and is not about giving up hope. It neither hastens nor postpones death. It is a choice that patients and families make after a thorough and careful review that includes the wishes of the patient, any Power of Attorney, Living Will or Advanced Directives that outline preferences of care, and decisions made together by the patient and family. Patients are comforted knowing that they and their families will be treated respectfully and with dignity.

Atlanta Senior Advocates understands the difficulties and stresses families face when a serious illness forecasts a path toward end of life. We help families find the proper resources to address their concerns. Because we know the hospice providers in the Atlanta area, we can guide families to the most appropriate agency. We explore such things as the number of direct care employees the agency uses, the continuity of care in retaining the same nurse or hospice aide on the case, how the agency responds to evening and weekend needs, how many visits per week per patient, whether the senior living community has a preferred relationship with a hospice provider, and other key criteria.

When hospice care is needed for you or someone you know, Atlanta Senior Advocates will help you navigate the maze of concerns to arrive at the most suitable provider of care for the situation.