Frequently Asked Questions
We know dealing with home health & hospice can be very confusing. You probably have lots of questions. Just click the questions here to see our answers.
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Home Health Questions
What is home healthcare?
Home healthcare services can include a range of in-home medical care to help manage recovery, a chronic condition or pain, as well as non-medical services that provide assistance in managing safety and independence… all in the comfort of home.
What is “Skilled Nursing”?
Robinson Creek’s Skilled Nursing service sends licensed RN and/or LVN nurses with significant training and experience in treating and educating patients within the home setting to you, so you don’t end up with unplanned visits to the hospital or emergency room. Robinson Creek offers a range of skilled nursing care in treatment areas such as cardiac disease, diabetes, IV therapy, medication management, pain management, stroke, wound care and more.
What is “Skilled Therapy”?
Like skilled nursing, skilled therapy is when Robinson Creek sends experienced physical, occupational and/or speech to your home depending on your needs. From improving mobility, reducing fall risk and enhancing verbal communication to reducing the risk of aspiration pneumonia, our therapists work with physicians to create a customized plan for each patient.
What is “Medical Social Work”?
Illness, reduced mobility and life-limiting conditions have an impact beyond the physical condition. Robinson Creek’s medical social workers (LMSW – Licensed Masters Social Workers) also assess the social and emotional impact the illness has on the patient and their loved ones. We can then identify additional community resources to help.
What is a “Home Health Aide”?
Robinson Creek’s certified nursing aides are trained to assist patients with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and hygiene. These team members are supervised by our RNs to ensure that each patient receives the care they need.
What is the Robinson Creek Bridge Program?
Our Bridge Program provides a specialty type of care for individuals with a potentially life-limiting illness who are still receiving curative treatment. Home health care services are provided by nurses with expertise in pain and symptom management. These nurses also possess a unique understanding of some of the psychosocial and spiritual issues that patients may experience. Bridge services are covered under the home-care benefit of the patient’s insurance company.
This program is most appropriate for patients psychologically not ready for hospice but requiring in-home services. The patient must be homebound, except for doctor and/or treatment visits in order to qualify.
What is hospice care?
Hospice care is specialized, compassionate care to help individuals live out their days with peace, comfort, and dignity. Hospice does not mean giving up hope. The focus for us is on the patient’s quality of life and making the most of the time together with their families and loved ones. Hospice care is often misunderstood and not utilized early enough for patients and families to receive full benefits.
Why hospice care?
Robinson Creek’s hospice services are designed to better the lives of terminally ill patients and to support the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of both our patients and their loved ones – all in the patient’s home.
Who qualifies for hospice care?
Anyone with a life-limiting illness (estimated life expectancy of 6 months or less) and is no longer seeking curative treatment qualifies to receive hospice services.
How do I know it’s time to consider hospice care?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, there may come a time when the curative treatment is no longer working, or becomes more harmful than helpful. If that time comes, you should consider choosing a hospice provider. Hospice is a choice, and patients tend to transition to hospice when they have decided to stop curative or aggressive treatments and focus on quality of life. The decision to pursue hospice care often starts with a conversation between a patient or caregiver and the patient’s physician. Our team can also assist in providing education about hospice eligibility as well as the services it provides.
How can I pay for hospice care?
Hospice care is covered 100% by Medicare, but contact our office to see if your private insurance or Medicare replacement plan has hospice coverage.
How and when does hospice start?
Anyone can inquire about hospice services. You or your loved one may call us directly and request services. Then, we’ll contact your physician to determine if a referral to hospice is appropriate. Another way to inquire about hospice is to talk with your physician, and he or she can contact Robinson Creek.
Will the hospice team be able to control my symptoms at home or will I need to be admitted to a hospital?
Your Robinson Creek team will include healthcare professionals that are specifically trained to manage symptoms related to your illness. Skilled nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and bereavement counselors will work together to help you identify your needs. Team members are available to you 24 hours a day. Most symptoms can be controlled in the home setting, and we are always available to adjust medications and treatment to ensure your symptoms are managed.
Does hospice provide in-home caregivers 24 hours a day?
You will receive routine nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat your symptoms. Our home health aides will be available to make scheduled visits to assist with personal hygiene needs as well. Please note that hospice benefits do not cover private caregivers. We can provide assistance and guidance if you wish to find a paid caregiver to supplement your care.
What if I change my mind and decide that I would like to seek curative treatment?
Receiving hospice care is a choice. If you change your mind or shift your focus back to curative care, you have the right to cancel your hospice services. Simply communicate your desire to one of our hospice team members and they can assist you with the discharge process.
Am I giving up hope if I make the decision to utilize my hospice benefit?
Death is not the focus of hospice care. Your hospice team will work with you to set care goals that are focused on quality of life. We will work closely with you and your family to ensure that your symptoms are well managed, allowing you to enjoy your remaining time with them as much as possible.
Is the hospice team available to loved ones after the patient passes on?
Bereavement services are offered for one year following the death of a loved one. Our hospice team includes a specially trained bereavement counselor who will be available to your family and caregivers following a death. Our bereavement services include personal phone calls, visits, support groups and information concerning the grieving process. Our bereavement counselor can also provide additional referrals to other resources if needed.
Can I be cared for by hospice if I reside in a nursing facility or other type of long-term care facility?
Hospice services can be provided to a person who has a life-limiting illness wherever that person lives. This means a person living in a nursing facility or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing facility. The hospice and the nursing home will have a written agreement in place in order for the hospice to serve residents of the facility. The Medicare Hospice Benefit will cover the care related to your terminal illness, but it does not cover daily room and board charges of the facility. If you are eligible for Medicaid, Medicaid will cover room and board charges.
Do state and federal reviewers inspect and evaluate hospices?
Yes. There are state licensure requirements that must be met by hospice programs in order for them to deliver care. In addition, hospices must comply with federal regulations in order to be approved for reimbursement under Medicare. Hospices must periodically undergo inspection to be sure they are meeting regulatory standards in order to maintain their license to operate and the certification that permits Medicare reimbursement.
When is the right time to ask about hospice?
Now is the best time to learn more about hospice care and ask questions about what to expect. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for loved ones and family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern. This can reduce a lot of stress later. Hospice care is a person and family-centered approach that includes your doctor, skilled nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, counselors, and trained volunteers.
What does a hospice volunteer do?
Hospice volunteers are generally available to provide different types of support to individuals and their loved ones including running errands, preparing light meals, staying with a person to give loved ones a break, and lending emotional support and companionship to individuals and loved ones.
Because hospice volunteers spend time in homes, each hospice program has an application and interview process to assure the person is right for this type of volunteer work. In addition, hospice programs have an organized training program for their volunteers. Areas covered by these training programs often include understanding hospice, confidentiality, working with families, listening skills, signs and symptoms of approaching death, loss and grief and bereavement support.