Hospice providers have a process they follow with the admission of new patients into their program. Of course, the specific admission process varies for each provider, especially given the changes in hospice care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are general steps that you can expect and prepare for throughout the hospice admission process.
What Is The Hospice Admission Process?
The hospice admission process includes the steps used to integrate hospice patients and their families into hospice care. The process should be seamless and easy for the patient. The steps typically include a hospice referral from a healthcare provider, a visit for an assessment to learn more about the patient’s specific needs, and a consent form. After this initial admission process, regular visits can begin.
The Hospice Referral And Physician’s Order
The admission process begins with a phone call to a hospice provider. During the initial call, the provider may ask a series of questions to learn more about the current condition of the patient, why they are interested in hospice care, and their current physician’s contact information. Shortly after the initial call, they may contact the patient’s physician to learn more about their health condition and need for hospice care. A physician’s order is generally necessary before hospice care can begin.
An Assessment From Our Hospice Care Team
The next step in the process is the assessment visit. This visit offers an opportunity for the patient and their family to get to know members of the hospice care team, and allows the hospice care team the opportunity to learn more about the needs and preferences of the patient and members of their household. Together the two parties can create a fully personalized care plan to meet the needs of the patient. The patient can prepare for this visit by gathering important medical information, such as Medicare or Medicaid documents, copies of healthcare directives (e.g. DNR orders, etc.), and a list of medications that have been prescribed.
Signing The Consent Form
At the end of the assessment visit, the hospice care team provides a consent form for the patient to sign. The consent form includes important details such as patient (and their family’s) contact information and relevant insurance details. It also verifies that the patient and their family understand the hospice care services, and they are more than welcome to ask questions for clarification of anything that may seem ambiguous. In many ways, the consent form is similar to what you might fill out during a hospital visit.
Regular Visits From The Hospice Care Team
Hospice care can officially begin after the assessment visit and signing of the consent form. As mentioned, every patient receives a personalized care plan based upon their specific medical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health needs. The primary goal of hospice care is to improve the overall quality of life for the patient. This is accomplished by minimizing pain through medication and therapies, assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as cooking and bathing, and more. Hospice care teams are generally large and include various specific roles, including but not limited to:
- The patient’s preferred physician
- Hospice care nurses
- Chaplains / spiritual advisors
- Mental health professionals
Hospice care typically involves regular in-home visits by hospice care nurses and other members of the team to check on the patient and assist them with daily activities. Of course, additional services may be offered and provided based upon the hospice care provider the patient chooses and the patient’s specific plan.
The Benefits Of Hospice Care
The primary purpose of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for the patient and their close relatives. Hospice care includes frequent visits to assist the patient with their daily physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs, which takes responsibility off of close family members and allows them to spend more meaningful time with their loved one. The benefits of hospice care include:
- Care from a large hospice team
- Around-the-clock access to care
- Reduced out-of-pocket expenses
- Avoiding unwanted hospitalization
- Improved quality of life
- Increased comfort
Hospice care is unique and personalized for every patient according to their end-of-life goals and desires. The hospice care team is there every step of the way to assist the patient and their family through the hardest moments.
Get The Hospice Admission Process Started With Harbor Light Hospice
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a serious illness and chosen to forego curative care, then hospice care may be right for you. To learn more about hospice care at Harbor Light Hospice and to begin the admission process, give our team a call or send us a message today. We are glad to answer your questions and concerns and guide you through the admission process.