The philosophy of hospice is to provide compassionate expertise to meet the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of patients and families in our community. Many questions arise when it comes to hospice care, so we asked Renown Health experts, April Lennon, RN, and Amy Backus, MSW, to address patients’ biggest fears.
What will happen to my pet when I die?
Your hospice social worker can discuss this so your wishes for your pet are carried out. We can help you arrange for a family member, friend or a shelter to take care of your pet.
I don’t want Hospice to prolong my life without a positive outcome.
Hospice philosophy is neither of prolonging or hastening life, instead our focus is to bring care and comfort at the end of life. Hospice focuses on building a plan to enhance the quality of life for our patients. We work with patients, families and the medical team to determine the best action to take in end-of-life situations.
I’m fearful of not knowing what will happen or when.
The hospice team, specifically our spiritual care and social work team members can help you work through these fears giving you support during this process.
I don’t want to be in pain.
Our hospice team specializes in comfort, including pain management. It’s very normal to be concerned about pain. One of our goals is to manage your pain. Your Registered Nurse Case Manager (RNCM) will discuss your individual pain preference. We can provide education on medications and pain management.
I’m afraid my children will not honor my wishes and think they know what’s best for me.
We promote your right to self-determination and your ability to make your own decisions. You are the decision-maker about your hospice care. We can also assist you in completing an advance directive and Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, (POLST) which will further clarify your wishes.
I want all of my loved ones to know and understand what I want.
Completing an advance directive and POLST will spell out what you want. Your hospice social worker can also discuss your wishes with your family.
I don’t know much about hospice – it’s a distressing topic and hard to know if I’m doing it right.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at first. Our caring hospice team provides education and teaching. We explain hospice care at each visit. We are also available for phone calls and questions 24/7.
I fear that I will be resuscitated (I’m a DNR) and will live in pain.
If you are a Do Not Resuscitate, (DNR) we will assist you in completing a POLST, which is a physician’s order. Your POLST will be kept where you live and everyone involved in your care will be made aware of your wishes.
My finances – will I be able to afford Hospice Care?
Typically hospice care is covered by Medicare or private insurance.
I fear that my organs will not be donated even though I’m a registered organ donor.
The hospice team will be in contact with the organ and tissue donation team. As long as the Hospice team clearly understands your wishes, we will help fulfill your donation wish.
I fear there will be a cost to my family for my organs to be donated.
Organ and tissue donation are at no cost to the donor. The recipient of the donation works with their own insurance company to cover any costs.
I am allergic to pain medication.
This is important information to share with your hospice RNCM. Additionally, we can explore other ways to manage your pain.
I fear the stress my death will have on my family members.
Our Hospice team members, including our Social Workers and Spiritual Care providers, are especially trained to help families navigate the anxieties and stresses related to a loss. Hospice provides bereavement services for 13 months after the passing of a hospice patient. These services include group support, memorial services, grief support, and information about the mourning process.
I fear dying before my spouse because I am their caregiver
Not only will the hospice MSW and Chaplain assist you with your concerns, they will also help you in preparing a plan for your dependents.
Will I have enough time to notify loved ones and get them here to say goodbye if possible?
Having Advanced Care Planning completed before becoming ill is always ideal. Discussing your hospice care wishes early on with your family is highly recommended if you have6 months or less to live. With this in mind a hospice social worker and chaplain can help you and your loved ones say good bye to family coming from out of town with suitable timing.
I don’t want to become a burden on my family.
Again, your hospice social worker has resources and options for care. For instance some of your family members (or friends) may feel privileged to help provide end of life care. In the meantime, you may want to have a family meeting to discuss concerns.
I don’t want to die alone.
Of course, our hospice team can help to identify a support system for you. Similarly we can also help with care-giving resources. Important to remember, hospice also has spiritual care and volunteers for emotional and social support.