Simply print out the H&R Block referral form by clicking the link below. Take this referral form to a participating H&R Block office and give it to your tax professional. To find your nearest H&R Block office, go to www.hrblock.com.
3 Ways Hospice Can Help Families If They Choose Hospice Care Sooner
As a hospice provider, the largest struggle Hospice of Southern Illinois hears from families after their loved one has passed is, “We wish we would have chosen hospice sooner.” We wish we could have helped them sooner. While “the average length of service increased from 71.8 days in 2012 to 72.6 in 2013,” according to the 2014 Facts and Figures from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, still 34.5% of patients are still receiving less than 7 days of hospice services. While it is possible to help patients get comfortable during that week, there are many services available to them that they never have an opportunity to utilize. Below are three ways hospice can help if hospice care is elected as the care option sooner:
- Hospice care focuses on quality of life. Over longer periods of time, clinicians can create a more comprehensive plan for patients’ “goals of care”. This will ensure not only their physical pain and symptoms are being managed, but also their emotional and social needs.
- The philosophy of hospice care is in the patient’s home, wherever home is. Choosing hospice sooner can provide patients and families or healthcare providers with the additional support they need through regularly scheduled visits throughout the week in the private home, long-term care facility, assisted living facility or hospital. Nurses can provide more education on signs of declining health and medications and counselors can provide stress-relieving techniques, caregiver solutions and grief support. Hospice aides assist with day-to-day needs like personal care.
- Specialty programs and services can be utilized which are beneficial to patients and their families as well. For example, at Hospice of Southern Illinois, specially trained volunteers can provide caregiver relief. They can visit with patients while caregivers run errands, rest, or take care of their personal day to day needs. A program for veterans, known as We Honor Veterans, focuses on ensuring patients get specialized care and benefits they deserve. Finally, bereavement newsletters reach out as a resource to families for up to 13 months after their loved one has passed, with on-call support available if it is needed.
Need to schedule an appointment to learn more about end-of-life care? Want to learn if Hospice of Southern Illinois’ care would benefit someone in your life? Please call, 1-800-233-1708, or visit our website, www.hospice.org, to access free resources. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a terminal illness.
There comes a time… to ask how hospice can help. Visit our website, www.hospice.org.
An Aging Population: Roles are Reversing
What Caregivers Need to Know About Hospice
Baby boomers, a term that describes those born in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, are finding themselves in the role of caregivers for their parents. They are now responsible for helping assist their parents with day-to-day activities, healthcare decisions, and financial planning. They might be thinking, “When did I switch from child to caregiver?” As their parents age, baby boomers are faced with making decisions and getting educated on topics they haven’t needed to consider in the past, hospice being one of them. Everyone should consider healthcare options and determine healthcare wishes before they need them to ensure respect and dignity at the end-of-life. The following considerations will help lead baby boomers and their aging parents in the right direction when faced with terminal illness or end-of-life decisions.
Just like you choose your dentist, pharmacy, and doctor, you can also choose your hospice provider to ensure a proper fit for each individual person or family. Hospice is a special healthcare option for individuals touched by a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less to live. All hospices offer a similar philosophy and are regulated by Medicare. Each hospice organization has special services that make them unique. For example, Hospice of Southern Illinois has an on-staff, full-time Medical Director, Dr. Ellen Middendorf, who provides our patients with a doctor whose only practice and focus is on Hospice of Southern Illinois’ patients end-of-life needs; our employees direct access to a physician for on-the-spot medication and symptom consultation; and our community as an advocate for end-of-life options. We also have several other programs and services including the We Honor Veterans partnership, a Hospice Home in Edwardsville, Illinois, and exclusively providing hospice care since 1981.
As a hospice provider, the largest struggle Hospice of Southern Illinois hears from families after their loved one has passed is, “We wish we would have chosen hospice sooner.” We wish we could have helped them sooner. It is a misconception that choosing hospice is giving up. Really, it means choosing end-of-life care that foregoes aggressive treatments. Some are not aware every medication, piece of equipment, and all medical needs related to the hospice diagnosis are covered at no cost under the Hospice Medicare Benefit. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance often provide reimbursement for the costs. Generous support from fundraisers and donations allow Hospice of Southern Illinois, a not-for-profit hospice, to provide care in the absence of insurance coverage. In addition to saving families money, caregiver support is another valued benefit of hospice services.
When a physician tells a loved one they have a terminal diagnosis and that hospice needs to be called, it is not easy as you could imagine. The emotions become overwhelming. After that conversation, everything the patient and caregiver hear about how hospice can help most likely is not heard. Hospice of Southern Illinois is committed to patients and families through the dying process and grief experience. We want to get symptoms under control, provide volunteers to visit with patients, offer counseling services for peace of mind, and support and educate the caregiver to release some of the caregiver stress to be more of the family role they want to be.
The most important thing for caregivers and their aging parents to remember is no one has to go through the end-of-life journey alone. We understand this is one of the most emotional journeys you will experience. Hospice of Southern Illinois can make sure patients die with dignity, respect, and comfort they deserve and want. Hospice of Southern Illinois’ mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a terminal illness. For more information, visit www.hospice.org.
A Hospice Nurse’s Role in Different Healthcare Settings
In honor of National Nurses Week, May 6th-12th, addressing roles of nurses in hospice care can help others understand how hospice care will benefit end-of-life patients in their home-like setting: the personal home, long term care facility, assisted living community, hospital, or in-patient residence. Nurses play an integral role in caring for the hospice patients including visiting patients for an initial assessment, planning care visits, determining medication and equipment needs, and working with patients and families on their goals of care. No matter what setting best meets the needs of patients and families, hospice nurses collaborate with the caregivers or healthcare facility’s employees to ensure their pain and symptoms are controlled during their end-of-life journey for a more peaceful experience.
Personal Home: In the private home, the family is the primary caregiver. Nurses provide intermittent care with scheduled visits determined in the goals of care meeting from an inter-disciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, hospice aides, and volunteers. The nurse can update the family on what to expect in the coming months or days; how to respond to physical or emotional changes; educate them on medication and equipment needs; and order equipment as needed to ensure the comfort of the patient.
Long Term Care Facility: Hospice nurses collaborate with nursing facility employees to offer added support to their team. The visits are scheduled much like in the private home. The primary caregiver, however, is usually the long term care facility employee due to a higher level of care needed for a patient. Nurses communicate with the facility employees to ensure, in addition to the excellent care they get from the facility employees, the specialized care received from hospice nurse is supporting both the patients and the facility.
Assisted Living: Hospice care is an extension of the care already provided by the Assisted Living Community. Hospice nurses assist with changes in condition, family dynamics, and impending death with regularly scheduled visits determined by the goals of care meeting.
Hospital: In order to receive hospice care in the hospital, also known as general in-patient services, patients need to meet specific criteria as determined by a physician. During the stay in the hospital, a hospice nurse would work with the hospital staff to control symptoms to ensure patient comfort.
Hospice Home or In-Patient Residence: Normally, the hospice nurse goes to the patient in their home-like setting. There are also hospice homes or in-patient residences that provide 24-hour care for patients who have a need for a higher level of care to allow the family to remain family and not a caregiver. These homes are unique. While many may prefer to live their final days in the comfort of their own home, for many reasons, this may not be possible or practical. A hospice home offers that home-like setting with the specialized nursing care that is best for the needs and wishes of the patient at the end-of-life.
Hospice of Southern Illinois is your community not-for-profit hospice serving 27 southern Illinois counties since 1981. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals and their loved ones touched by a terminal illness. On behalf of Hospice of Southern Illinois, we want to thank all the nurses who dedicate so much time and compassion to their patients.