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Hospice Care at Palos Community Hospital

Hospice is a special kind of care designed to provide medical, emotional and spiritual support to patients and their families in the final phases of a terminal illness. Hospice is not necessarily a place but a particular type of care that focuses on providing comfort and support to the patient and family members. The family or nursing home staff continues to be the full-time primary caregiver with the hospice staff providing supplemental support.

Providing Pain and Symptom Control

Under the direction of a physician, specially trained Hospice professionals use sophisticated methods of pain and symptom control that enable the patient to live as fully and comfortably as possible. We help patients and their families and friends face the end of life together, with peace and dignity.

To learn more about the Hospice services we provide, please call (630) 257-1111. We're pleased to provide any information that can help you make an informed decision about the value of Hospice to you and your family.

Services

Hospice Services

The goal of Hospice interdisciplinary team is to provide for the holistic needs of the patient and family, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Care focuses on restoring dignity, allowing choices, providing safety and symptom management, especially pain control. Services can include:

  • Physician Care
  • Nursing Care
  • Physical Therapy 
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Social Services
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Home Health Aides
  • Massage Therapy
  • Specially Trained Volunteers
  • Medications
  • Medical Equipment and Supplies
  • Respite Care
  • Bereavement Support

Palos Community Hospital's Hospice team can help families care for their loved ones at home or in a facility, such as a nursing home, during the final months, weeks and days of life. If medically necessary, we also can provide inpatient care in a quiet, comfortable, private room at Palos Community Hospital.

Bereavement support for all family members continues for one year following the death of a loved one.

Who's Eligible?

Who is eligible for Hospice?

Residents of Will, DuPage, Kendall and Cook counties in the last months of a terminal illness are eligible for Hospice care. We're available to provide any information that can help you make an informed decision about the appropriateness of hospice care for you or your family member.

FAQ

Hospice Care Frequently Asked Questions

My mother was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. How do I know when it's time to enter a hospice program?
Expertly trained hospice nurses are available to visit and assess your mother. A registered nurse will consult with your mother's doctor to determine if your mother is eligible for hospice care. At any time during a serious, life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of your care options, including home health care, palliative care and hospice.

My father has dementia and won't eat much. Can Hospice help?
A change in a person's ability to eat often is a sign that dementia is entering the final stages. This would be an appropriate time to consider hospice care. The hospice dietician will assess your father, and make suggestions to adapt diet and feeding techniques. 

Does a patient have to have cancer to be in Hospice?
No, services are commonly provided to patients with end-stage cardiac, renal, lung, liver and nervous system diseases, including those with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, end-stage stroke and multiple sclerosis.

Can my mother receive Hospice care if she lives in a nursing home?
Yes, the nursing home will continue to be the primary care provider, with the Palos Hospice team providing supplemental care. The cost of the room and board at the nursing home will be the responsibility of the patient/family.

Who pays for Hospice care?
In Illinois, Medicare and Medicaid cover all hospice costs. Most private insurance companies provide similar coverage. Palos Community Hospital Hospice will be happy to contact your insurance provider to check coverage.

What kind of help can Hospice provide?
The Palos Community Hospital Hospice team consists of  the Hospice medical director, nurses, aides, social workers, chaplains, dieticians, a massage therapist and volunteers, all of whom work together with you, your family and your doctor to develop a personalized plan of care that meets the needs of you and your family. In addition to expert symptom control, the Hospice team also provides emotional support, education, practical support, medical supplies, medications and more.

My mother has been chronically ill for years. She is worse now but has rebounded before. What if she enters hospice and begins to recover?
Hospice care is an option for anyone in the late stages of a terminal illness, meaning that if the disease progresses in a typical manner, life expectancy will be about six months or less. If disease progression is slower but there continues to be a decline, hospice services will continue. If a patient shows marked improvement, he or she will be discharged from Hospice, but Hospice care will continue to be available should the patient need it at a later date.

Will entering Hospice hasten death?
Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. The focus will be on providing comfort measures to provide the best quality of life in the remaining weeks and months.

I don't know if I can handle my husband dying in our home. I have no medical experience. How will I know what to do?
It is normal to be uneasy when considering this option. The Hospice team will provide practical support in addition to teaching you how to provide the required care. The Hospice staff also can recommend resources to assist you in providing care.

I thought hospice was a place that people go to die. Where is it?
Hospice is not a building or place, but rather a philosophy of care. Hospice care provides comfort care and expert symptom management in whatever setting the patient resides.

Can my family physician continue to be my doctor if I am receiving hospice care?
Yes, in addition to our medical director, your own physician will continue to be part of the Hospice team. Your Hospice nurse will contact your physician to provide regular updates.

My father has been in Palos Community Hospital Home Health Care. His health is declining, and he will soon need hospice care. He likes the nurse currently caring for him. Will he have a new nurse in hospice?
Your father will be able to continue to keep his current nurse. All of our nurses are cross-trained to provide expert care to both Home Care and Hospice patients.

My father will be lost when my mother dies. How can Hospice help?
We have experience in dealing with situations like yours. The Hospice team will provide support to your family in preparing for your mother's death. In addition, the team will stay in contact for a year after the death to provide support to your father.

What is involved in initiating hospice?
Hospice services can be initiated by a family member or the patient's physician. The first step is to call Palos Community Hospital Hospice at 630-257-1111. At that time, a nurse will set up a convenient time for you to meet with one of our admissions nurses. We encourage all family members closely involved in care to be present for this meeting. The nurse will explain the hospice program and benefits in detail, and answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, the nurse also will consult with your family physician to discuss the appropriateness of hospice care. There is no obligation to register or any cost for this meeting. If your family decides they do want hospice care, services can be initiated immediately. The patient or family member will sign the needed consent forms and hospice care will begin.

I have heard that when a person goes into hospice, it is time to stop all medicine. Is this true?
No, the goal will continue to be attaining comfort and quality of life. The medicine that is needed will continue to be prescribed. In addition, Palos Community Hospital Hospice will pay for all needed medicines related to the treatment of the hospice diagnosis.

Who Pays?

Who pays for Hospice care?

The cost of Hospice care often is fully covered by major commercial and private insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Upon admission, we will discuss with you and your family how the services will be covered, and whether you will have any financial responsibility.