At Advocate Hospice, we believe in making every day count. That's why our hospice teams do everything they can to help their patients, and their patients' families and caregivers when they need it most.
What is hospice?
Hospice is a program designed specifically for people who have chosen to change the plan of care for a terminal illness from aggressive medical treatment, focused on curing an illness, to palliative care - care that manages pain and symptoms so patients can make the most of every day. Hospice doesn't focus on dying, but on living well and with dignity during the time that is left.
Why choose hospice?
The reasons for choosing hospice services and care vary, but one result never varies: In every case, what comforts patients and families most is knowing they can make each day count.
At Advocate Hospice, we believe our patients and their families have the right to choose how to live each day of the rest of their life while facing a life-limiting illness. Through this belief:
- We acknowledge that each patient's unique beliefs and values should guide how we deliver comfort and care.
- We teach patients and families that choices available through hospice care can improve the quality of their time together.
- We strive to minimize anxiety, pain, fear and stress.
- We will always preserve patient dignity.
Is Hospice Good for Patients and Families?
Patients and families tell us that when a loved one is faced with a life-limiting illness, challenges can present themselves that turn their lives upside down. They also tell us that hospice, especially when started early, helps them manage pain and provides caregivers the support and resources they need to make every day count. Click here to see data from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Who pays for hospice?
Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage for Advocate Hospice's services, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses. Hospice services used to manage a life-limiting illness are covered at 100% and include:
- All prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs
- All Home Medical Equipment (HME) and medical supplies
- All services related to the life-limiting illness, including physician visits and out patient tests
- Visits made by any member of the hospice team
- Short-term care at a designated hospital, including transportation
- Short-term respite care at a designated nursing home, including transportation
- Bereavement counseling and other support services
For care unrelated to the hospice diagnosis, Medicare and Medicaid will continue to provide normal benefits.
Most private insurance companies also provide coverage for Advocate Hospice's services. Your hospice team will help you understand your individual insurance situation.
How your hospice team works.
Every Advocate Hospice team is comprehensive. A specially trained staff uses a team approach that includes the expertise of the patient's own physician. Staff members make regularly scheduled visits and are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Patient/caregiver: The patient and those entrusted with their care are the most important members of an Advocate Hospice team.
- Patient physician: A key hospice participant who, along with the hospice physician, makes medical decisions to help maintain the patient's comfort level. The hospice team provides regular updates to keep the physician fully aware of the patient's condition.
- Hospice physician: A medical expert in symptom management who supervises plans of care and maintains close contact with other team members.
- Registered nurse: Works closely with physicians and other team members to manage pain, educate and support caregivers, monitor medications and help make every day count.
- Certified home health aide: Assists patient with personal care and daily living activities. Maintains close communication with nurses, notifying them of any changes in a patient's needs.
- Social worker and grief counselor: Meets the emotional needs of patients and their caregivers through all stages of a patient's illness. When necessary, they can recommend other community resources for additional guidance and support.
- Clergy: Plays a vital role in hospice care, offering spiritual support to patients and caregivers. Our clergy will work with a patient's preferred clergy or, if requested, refer patients and caregivers to other faith organizations in the community or to the hospice chaplain.
- Volunteers: The essence of hospice care is its carefully selected volunteers who can sit with patients, help with chores, run errands, make phone calls, assist with children and provide small periods of respite for caregivers. When patients and caregivers simply need to talk, volunteers are there with a quiet touch and a sympathetic ear.
Starting your care and hospice services
Patients enter hospice programs at various stages of their illnesses, but the earlier they begin the greater the benefits. Our patients and their caregivers choose which services are appropriate, always with the understanding that they may change or end hospice care at any time.
Care begins with careful assessment by a registered nurse who will arrange for all of the necessary medical supplies and equipment you will need at home. Your nurse will write a treatment plan, review current medications and begin coordination of services with other team members.
Your nurse will also discuss the "comfort care kit", medications to control pain, restlessness, and other symptoms, so that caregivers aren't inconvenienced with emergency trips to the pharmacy or waiting for deliveries.
Your hospice team will prepare you for everything that is likely to happen, and will help you understand how to use community and financial resources to your best advantage.
What if more care is needed outside of the home?
While most hospice services are provided in the home, sometimes patients are temporarily moved to a hospital setting where a patient's pain or symptoms can be more easily managed by hospice staff.
While most hospice services are provided in the home, sometimes symptoms like severe pain or severe vomiting require a short hospital stay. During these times of crisis, we offer the Hospice Inpatient Program to help you get your loved one to a place that all agree is best for them. Our program begins at the hospital where the Advocte Hospice team provides you and your loved one with a dedicated team of nurses, social workers, physicians, chaplains and others to help guide you through this difficult time.
If a hospital stay is no longer required, but extra clinical support is still needed, we can provide care in a long-term care facility. To make this transition easier, we've developed a network of long-term care facilities that offer reserved beds in a special unit staffed by those with end-of-life care training.
While our program guides patients between the hospital, the long-term care facility and home as needed, one constant remains the same - a dedicated Advocate Hospice team.
When receiving day-to-day care in an Advocate hospital or a partner long-term care facility, Advocate Hospice provides extra services and staff like:
- Daily visits by a hospice physician who can consult with your physician as a symptom and pain management specialist
- Daily visits by the hospice nurse who helps coordiate your care
- A hospice social worker who assists in coordinating community services
- Daily visits by a hospice aid who provides comfort measures and personal care services like bathing, hair washing and setting, and reading to the patient
- Emotional and bereavement support
- 24-hour visitation
Your hospice team can also provide respite care so that caregivers can have a little time away from the day-to-day requirements of caring for a loved one in hospice care. The patient can be placed in a nursing home for a predetermined number of days while continuing to receive care from the hospice team.
Advocate Hospice Continuum of Care
As part of Advocate Health Care, Advocate Hospice draws on the resources of Chicago's largest health care provider, including their comprehensive, full service home health care company. This means all necessary resources, from durable medical equipment to skilled nursing personnel are available through Advocate Hospice. Advocate Hospice is licensed by the state of Illinois and is Medicare-certified and JCAHO accredited. It is a member of the National Hospice Organization, the Illinois Hospice Association, and the Illinois Home Care Council.
It's not always easy to bring up the subject of hospice to assist with the care of a loved one or friend. Advocate Hospice has developed tools to help you with these conversations. When support is needed after a loved on dies, were here to help, too.
To Learn More
To understand how Advocate Hospice can help you, our staff is available for a personal visit to answer your questions and concerns. To arrange for a hospice visit, make a referral, or request additional information on services, patient rights or volunteer opportunities, please call our north office at 847.318.1072 or our south office at 630.963.6800.