Hospice care is for those who are facing a progressive disease and end-of-life illness or injury. Patients are referred to hospice who have a prognosis of 6 months or less if the disease was to naturally take its course. Hospice is patient and family centered care and focuses on quality of life. Hospice of the North Coast provides care wherever you or your loved one calls home.
No. Training, accreditation-certification, standards, level of personal attention, and availability of volunteers and complementary therapies can vary widely. When considering hospice care, ask questions, review literature, resources and the experience and reputation of the hospice providers available.
Founded in1980, we are a local non-profit hospice organization. We pride ourselves on providing a deeper, more personal level of care to our patients. Because we have a well-defined service area, we can guarantee the most individualized care possible. We are accredited by The Joint Commission (JCAHO) and have registered nurses on call 24/7 with a one-hour response time for current patients and within two hours for new referrals. Our low staff-to-patient ratio ensures warm, personal care that is customized to patient and family wishes with a focus on pain and symptom relief. Hospice medications are delivered directly to the patient’s home.
Pathways Palliative Program is a service for those not yet ready for hospice, who are diagnosed with a terminal illness, but are still seeking aggressive treatment.
Pacifica House, North County’s first and only hospice house, is a part of Hospice of the North Coast. The house provides acute symptom management in a home-like environment with round-the-clock registered nurses. Special therapies we offer include: massage, music therapy, pet therapy, reiki and aroma therapy.
No. Hospice is patient-centered care that emphasizes comfort, peace and quality of life. Hospice care is built on the belief that every day of life matters. Hospice care helps patients facing a life-limiting illness live his/her remaining days with comfort and dignity.
Where curative care works to treat a disease, palliative care works to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms. Our palliative care physicians are specially trained in the interventions that provide pain and symptom relief. Using a combination of medications, counseling and therapies specific to each individual patient, palliative care experts can help most patients find an optimal level of comfort.
Are the patient’s primary care physicians able to be Palliative physicians?
Palliative care physicians are specially trained in comfort care. They work with patients and the patients’ doctors to guide the plan of care. The palliative physician will also make home visits which most office physicians do not. Patients as well as family caregivers are the focus of the palliative care team. Palliative Care teams operate within hospitals or healthcare systems. A few teams deliver care from a clinic or a doctor’s office. Palliative care is provided on an as-needed basis.
The process begins when you or your physician call Hospice of the North Coast. There is no cost or obligation to elect your hospice benefit, and the evaluation is free. Once we receive a physician’s order, an admission nurse will schedule an appointment for an evaluation and provide information on the hospice benefit.
We tailor the frequency of nurse’s visits to fit your needs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other team member visits are scheduled as you choose. Most often, nursing visits occur 1-2 times per week but can be less often or more frequent depending on your needs and goals.
Hospice care is most effective when the patient comes on in the earlier progression of a terminal illness. This allows your team time to build a relationship and learn what goals are important for you. It also allows time for symptoms to be managed and an improvement in quality of life. A decision to start care late may lead to unnecessary pain and suffering for both the patient and the family. Hospice does not prolong nor hasten death.
Signs for serious consideration of hospice care are when the patient:
- No longer responds as expected to treatments for the disease;
- Expresses concern that the burden of treatment is outweighing the benefits;
- Is in persistent pain, or when other physical symptoms are not relieved;
- Makes repeated short-term trips to the hospital and/or emergency room; and/or
- Is despondent about his or her condition and quality of life.
If you do not feel you are ready for hospice, Hospice of the North Coast offers a free program called Pathways Palliative. On this program you may continue seeking treatment and a team member from hospice will check in on you periodically to provide needed resources and encourage you to call with any needs or changes.
Relieving pain without sacrificing alertness requires a fine balance. Communication with the patient and family is maintained so that medication and/or other treatments can be assessed for effectiveness.
Medicare and Medicaid/Medi-Cal both provide coverage for basic hospice services. Most private insurance policies have provisions for hospice care as well. Families should check with their specific health insurance provider to determine covered services.
Patients are admitted to Hospice of the North Coast with a physician referral. If assistance is needed with a physician referral, a member of the hospice team can be contacted to facilitate this need.
Hospice provides caregivers with training, emotional and spiritual support and bereavement counseling. Respite care, which is short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members, is another support service hospice can help put in place.
Our Hope Bereavement Center offers free specialized individual and group counseling services. Hospice of the North Coast is proud to provide services to families whenever needed, even if your loved one was not on service with us.
Levels of care will vary from patient to patient. Members of the collaborative care hospice team will assist you in developing a patient-centered care plan. Every patient under care with Hospice of the North Coast has an interdisciplinary team of experts assigned to his or her care. Collaborative care teams are made up of physicians, registered nurses and hospice trained home health aides, counselors, chaplains and trained volunteers. Members of our staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to discuss clinical pathways, community resources and decision-making concerns.
No. In fact the majority of our patients receive hospice care in their own homes. We also provide palliative care consultations in hospitals and other healthcare settings. Hospice care can also be provided in assisted living and long-term care facilities.
No. If a patient’s condition improves or if the patient and family so choose, they can be discharged from hospice care. If the discharged patient should later need to return to hospice care, they can resume services.