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Allina Health Hospice: A Family Matter
Norman and his loved ones describe the compassion and care Allina Health Hospice provided during the transition to hospice care in his home.
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Hospice care is available for anyone with a terminal illness when his or her primary care provider believes they have six months or less to live.
Hospice focuses on your comfort and quality of life. Hospice is a special way of caring for people with a terminal illness, their families and their caregivers. It treats the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient, while focusing on comfort and the highest quality of life possible (known as comfort care).
Hospice keeps you comfortable and not suffering while "nature takes its course." Only medicine and actions to make the patient more comfortable are used or added. Dying is not hurried or delayed. Tests and treatments to lengthen life are not usually part of hospice. If the patient chooses to try treatments for reasons other than symptom control, he or she may stop hospice at any time.
Allina Health Hospice serves patients living in our service area of 30 counties throughout Minnesota. We care for patients wherever they call home, including assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes and residential hospice facilities.
Payment and insurance
Hospice care is covered by most insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. Private pay options are also available.
Our admission staff can help evaluate your coverage. Call us at 651-635-9173 or 1-800-261-0879.
It is our policy to never refuse service to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Source: Medicare Hospice Benefits, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Reviewed by: Gloria Cade, RN, BSN, CHPCA, hospice director
First Published: 08/11/2006
Last Reviewed: 08/29/2013
The hospice care team and care plan
The goal of this book is to give a complete guide to hospice. It is designed to help family members and caregivers as their loved ones transition to hospice care.
Every hospice patient and family has a dedicated hospice care team. This helps to build relationships between the patient, family and hospice team.
The hospice team works with the primary care provider, patient and family to set up a plan of care, which honors the patient's goals, values and wishes. This plan of care describes who will visit, how often they will visit and what they will do. The plan of care will also determine the need for medicines, medical equipment and whatever else may be needed. The purpose of the plan of care is to focus on comfort, not to find a cure. It is a guide for patients and family to help make the most of their remaining time together.
Care coordination is available through the Care Navigation Help Desk. It can be difficult to know what type of care is needed at each stage of illness. Care coordinators are available to help determine what type of care is needed and connect you with the resources to get that care.
Personal care can include bathing, shaving, dressing changes, linen changes and household services to keep a safe and clean living space. Hospice home health are trained and certified to help with personal cares for the patient in his or her home.
Symptom management is also called comfort care. It treats the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient while focusing on comfort and having the highest quality of life possible. The nurse case manager provides pain and symptom management. He or she is a registered nurse (RN) and may also be a certified hospice and palliative care specialist.
Companionship and support is available through trained hospice volunteers. A volunteer coordinator on the hospice team will call the patient or the family to talk about how a volunteer might help. Volunteers can help by driving patients to and from medical appointments, giving the caregiver a break from caregiving responsibilities, doing light housework or preparing meals.
Respite care gives caregivers a break from their responsibilities of caring for the patient. It provides support for the caregiver by giving him or her time to rest and take care of personal matters. Allina Health Hospice has trained volunteers to provide this service.
Spiritual care is a broad service available to the patient throughout his or her stay. It is tailored to the patient's personal and spiritual points of view, regardless of his or her faith, religion or cultural background. The chaplain can provide spiritual and emotional support by listening to the patient's life stories and experiences, and talking about any spiritual concerns the patient may have. The chaplain also provides guidance and explores the role of spirituality in illness, suffering and healing. Together, the chaplain and the patient's spiritual leader make sure the patient is getting the highest quality of spiritual care.
Grief counseling is available for 13 months after the patient's death. Family members will receive information about grief counselors at Allina Health Hospice by mail after the death of their loved one. Some of the resources available include booklets and bibliographies, referral lists for local support groups, phone counselors, volunteer grief support visitors and grief counselors.
Community resources can be recommended through your social worker. Resources and services may include patient counseling, family or caregiver counseling, financial and legal information (such as power of attorney, Family and Medical Leave Act, money management or social security application), discharge planning, children's support and patient and family advocacy.
Other therapies such as physical, music and massage therapy are available on a limited basis. These therapies are used to treat the patient's symptoms and make the patient more comfortable. Your case manager will be able to determine availability of these therapies based on the patient's plan of care.
This 79-page guide is designed to help family members and caregivers as their loved ones transition to hospice care.
Home-based hospice care
Routine hospice care includes regular visits by members of the hospice care team. This may take place in the home or other places of residence, such as a nursing facility.
Reimbursement for care: Routine hospice home care is paid to the hospice for each day that the beneficiary is under the care of the hospice and is not receiving one of the other categories of care.
Continuous hospice care is provided during short periods of crisis (usually instead of hospitalization) when the patient needs continuous care to manage his or her pain and symptoms. This may take place in the home or other places of residence, such as a nursing facility.
Reimbursement for care: Continuous hospice care is covered only as necessary to maintain the terminally ill patient benefiting at home. The care must be predominantly nursing care.
Inpatient hospice care
General inpatient care is provided to manage the patient's pain and symptoms when it is no longer possible to do so in the home. This may take place in a Medicare- or Medicaid-certified hospice inpatient facility, hospital, skilled nursing facility or residential hospice.
Respite care is short-term care provided when the caregiver needs a break from his or her responsibilities of caring for the patient. This may take place in the home, in a Medicare- or Medicaid-certified hospice inpatient facility, hospital, skilled nursing facility or residential hospice.
Reimbursement for care: Respite care may be provided only on an occasional basis and is not reimbursed for more than five consecutive days.
Residential hospice care is provided in a free-standing facility which is designed to be home-like with personalized care provided 24 hours a day. When providing care at home is no longer possible, residential hospice care is a fitting alternative.
Reimbursement for care: Room and board expenses are separate from hospice care and generally paid by patients or their family.
Residential hospice care is provided when care is needed 24 hours a day. It is offered in a freestanding facility that has a home-like setting. Residential hospice is a good option when:
A residential hospice can give peace to spouses, family and friends who cannot provide the round-the-clock care their loved ones need, but want to honor their loved one's request to be in a home-like setting. It can provide a caring alternative when caregiving at home is no longer an option.
Homestead Hospice House (Owatonna, Minnesota)
Homestead Hospice House is a state-licensed, eight-bed residential hospice located in Owatonna, Minnesota.
To arrange a tour, please call 507-446-0936.
J.A. Wedum Residential Hospice (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota)
The J.A. Wedum Residential Hospice is a state- and Medicare-licensed 12-bed residential hospice in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
To arrange a tour, please call 763-236-2950.
Hospice questions and answers
Hospice is a special way of caring for people with a terminal illness, their families and their caregivers. It treats the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient, and focuses on comfort and having the highest quality of life possible (known as comfort care). Every hospice patient and family is assigned to a hospice team. The hospice team, patient, family and caregiver will create a plan of care according to the patient's needs.
The patient's primary care provider may not begin the discussion about hospice but must approve admission to hospice. Hospice is available to any patient whose primary care provider believes he or she has 6 months or less to live. It is the patient and his or her family who need to talk to the hospice team about whether the patient would benefit from having hospice care.
We are available at any time during a patient's life-limiting illness to discuss the appropriateness of hospice care. When the patient is ready to focus on symptom control and pain management (comfort care), hospice is appropriate.
Hospice is available to patients at home, or other place of residence such as a hospice inpatient facility, hospital, skilled nursing facility or residential hospice.
Allina Health Hospice is available to anyone living in our service area throughout Minnesota.
Hospice nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays). Each patient has a schedule of planned visits from members of his or her hospice team.
Hospice care is covered by most insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers. Private pay options are also available. Our admission staff can help evaluate your coverage by calling 651-635-9173 or 1-800-261-0879. It is our policy to never refuse service to anyone, regarless of their ability to pay.
Our business office is able to answer questions about your hospice bill by calling 612-262-1779. For your convenience we also offer an online bill pay option.
Myths and facts about hospice
Truth: Hospice is actually about taking control and living well for the last days of life. Hospice allows patients to live their final days in the comfort and familiarity of their home surrounded by family and friends.
Truth: Hospice keeps the patient comfortable and not suffering while "nature takes its course." Only medicines and actions to make the patient more comfortable are used or added. Dying is not hurried or delayed. Hospice is about living well during the final days of life.
Truth: The hospice team treats the unique physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient, and focuses on comfort and having the highest quality of life possible (known as comfort care).
Truth: Hospice is available to any person with a terminal illness when his or her primary care provider believes the patient has 6 months or less to live.
Truth: It is the patient and his or her family who choose hospice care, not the patient's primary care provider. The patient and his or her family need to talk to the hospice team about whether the patient would benefit from having hospice care.
Truth: Hospice is available for anyone. In fact, hospice can cost less than hospital or nursing home care. Generally, hospice services are reimbursable expenses under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.
Truth: Under federal law, hospice benefit does not have a time limit. The patient's primary care provider may approve admission to hospice when he or she believes the patient has 6 months or less to live.