As we age we go through many transitions. The need for hospice is sometimes part of this process and hospice is a wonderful option to ensure the best comfort care possible. Using hospice doesn’t necessarily mean that end of life is near but having the right care when needed is can make all the difference in the world–both for the client and the family.
Think of hospice as a tool in your tool belt to help your loved one through the later part of their life. Hospice provides nursing and doctor support, bathing support, crisis care, counseling support, and supplies such as gloves, depends, diapers, wipes, bed pads, and barrier creams. Hospice doesn’t mean that your loved one will definitely die. It is not unusual for someone to enter hospice, recover, and sign themselves off. This situation happened to the mother of AltaGolden’s owner. She was very close to death, was put on hospice, recovered, signed herself off hospice, received recovery support from Medicare, and then moved back home.
One benefit of using AltaGolden is that we understand how to leverage the support and benefits offered by hospice to ensure that you have the best possible support at the lowest cost.
AltaGolden is well experienced with helping clients and family through the hospice experience. We have worked with several of the local hospice organizations and we understand how hospice works and what is needed to advocate for our clients. While hospice does provide nursing care, this support is designed to ensure that equipment, medications, and comfort care is ensured. It does not provide for general ongoing caregiver support. And, if you don’t know all that you are entitled to within the hospice relationship, this is where AltaGolden and our caregivers can benefit with our wonderful support.
The following stories are two actual clients:
Client 1 (C1): C1 went into the hospital with an intestinal bleed. After two surgical procedures the bleed was not corrected and the client went into hospice. Remarkably C1 survived but was very weak and near death for six weeks. AltaGolden provided caregivers for comfort care such as companionship, gentle massage of arms and legs (touch is very healing and comforting), ensuring music played, and coordination with staff in the skilled nursing center. After eight weeks C1 recovered and moved into an assisted living community. She is getting stronger on a daily basis and continues to use caregivers to help her with transportation, coordination of appointments, and general support. Her current goal is to get strong enough to walk without needing her walker.
Clint 2 (C2): Two days before Thanksgiving in 2013 AltaGolden received a call from a local hospital that C2 was being released from the hospital that day and needed 24×7 support. Neither the family nor the client were informed that her heart function was down to 25% and that the client was dying. The client was released from the hospital at 8pm and AltaGolden met the client and family at home to start support. The next day (the day before Thanksgiving) the client was in severe distress and was taken back to the hospital. The family was then informed that C2 was near the end of her life, the hospital refused to admit, they wrote orders for hospice, and sent her home. Unfortunately they did not do the referral to the local hospice organizations. Thanksgiving Day the family called AltaGolden to let us know that no one from hospice had called or shown up.
We immediately called Elizabeth Hospice and arranged for hospice to start immediately. We coordinated with hospice to arrange a hospital bed, oxygen, comfort medications, and visiting nurses to ensure that C2 was fully comfortable and supported. Our caregiver ensured that all services were managed properly and the client was at ease. The client’s passing was peaceful and her family and friends were able to say their goodbyes.
These are two very different examples of hospice support. It is actually very common for clients to move in and out of hospice. Good caregiver support can make all the difference regardless of what you are facing. We hope we can assist to make your hospice experience as peaceful as possible.