You may call St.Vincent Hospice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The phone number is (317) 338-4060 or toll-free (888) 780-7284. The hospice staff can contact your physician and/or your insurance provider to assist you in accessing hospice care.
Hospice is a concept of care, not a place of care. Patients can receive care in several settings.
- In their own homes -- Home care team members visit on a scheduled basis and are also on-call for urgent needs.
- In nursing facilities -- Individuals residing in nursing homes, or extended care facilities, are also eligible for hospice home care. Hospice staff coordinates care with the facility staff, and provides pain and symptom management services as well as emotional and spiritual support.
- In-patient at a local hospital or a St.Vincent Health facility
- For intensive symptom management or short-term crisis care
- For brief stays when family or caregivers are unable to care for the patient at home due to physical or emotional limitations, or exhaustion. (The patient usually returns home when the symptoms or situation are under control. If the patient is unable to return home, the hospice assists with alternative placement)
An interdisciplinary team cares for hospice patients. The team members work with the patient and family to develop and implement a plan of care. Team members include:
- Attending physician: Usually the patient's own primary doctor who works directly with the hospice team in the day-to-day management of the patient's care
- Hospice physician: A medical director and team physicians direct the hospice team's patient care.
- Registered nurse: Specially trained to manage pain and other symptoms, and answers questions and educates the patient and family about care, also acts as a case manager and coordinates the team's patient care
- Social worker: Assesses the patient and family's emotional, cultural, psychological and social needs, including coping skills, financial counseling and assistance, and support systems; then provides emotional support and makes referrals to other services or community agencies
- Chaplain: Assesses the patient and family's spiritual needs and religious preferences, works closely with the patient's own clergy and can provide additional spiritual resources or support , and can assist with funeral planning and bereavement services
- Home health aide: Provides direct personal care, including bathing, mouth care, skin care and socialization, and can assist with walking and range-of-motion.
- Dietician: Available for consultations about nutrition
- Therapists: provide physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Volunteer: Specially trained to provide socialization, visitation and active listening for patients and families
The hospice team assesses the need for medical equipment and provides any necessary equipment such as hospital beds, oxygen, walkers and wheelchairs, shower chairs, and bedside commodes, as needed. Supplies may include incontinence pads and briefs, dressings and bandages, bedpans, urinals, and catheters. The patient/family is responsible for non-medical supplies, including toiletries, linens and gowns.
Hospice covers medications related to the hospice diagnosis, including narcotics, as needed for comfort and symptom management. Hospice does not cover medications not related to the patient's diagnosis, and the patient must purchase most non-prescription medications.
St.Vincent Hospice has an on-site pharmacy for in-patients and home care patients. The hospice nurse can usually deliver medications at a scheduled visit if the patient knows when he or she will need refills and notifies the nurse in advance. Patients and families may pick up medication at the hospice pharmacy if required. Hospice can also work with a local pharmacy or delivery pharmacy for urgencies or after-hours crises.
St.Vincent Hospice provides assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please call the hospice office. Do not call 911 unless you want life-prolonging, aggressive interventions. A chaplain and social worker are also on-call for spiritual or emotional needs. A home health aide is on-call on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. A member of the administrative team and a hospice physician are also available.
In the early weeks of care, it may not be necessary for someone to be with the patient all of the time. Many patients are physically and mentally capable of living alone and can manage with intermittent visits by the hospice team. As the illness progresses, the patient may require more assistance. The hospice staff assesses the patient's needs on an ongoing basis and makes appropriate recommendations.
Advance directives are documents that state an individual's preference about medical treatment decisions or designate another person to make decisions on the individual's behalf according to the patient's wishes. These directives take effect when a patient is no longer able to make his or her own health care decisions.
Although hospice does not require a patient to have an advance directive, families often find it very helpful and comforting to know their loved ones wishes. Hospice social workers are available to discuss and assist in preparing advance directives.
A patient can cancel or revoke hospice care at any time for any reason. A patient may elect to resume hospice services at any time if medically eligible. St.Vincent Hospice may not discharge any patient because he or she is unable to pay for hospice services, the illness is too expensive to manage, or the condition requires hospitalization for symptom control.
Most hospice patients choose to die at home. The hospice team educates the patient and caregivers and prepares them for what to expect during the dying process. A family may elect to have private time with their loved one during this time or may request the hospice staff to be present. At the patient or family's request, we will arrange a transfer to the inpatient unit when death appears imminent.
We offer bereavement care to the patient's family members or significant others for a period of at least thirteen months from the date of death. The hospice bereavement program can provide encouragement through phone calls, newsletters and grief support groups.
Terms you should be familiar with include:
- A living will is
a document that informs doctors and other health care providers of the
patient's wishes concerning life-prolonging treatments or procedures
when a terminal condition exists.
- A health care representative document allows the
patient to appoint another person to make medical decisions if he or she
is no longer able to do so. This document also makes it possible for a
patient to state specific wishes regarding life-prolonging treatments or
- A power of attorney is a legal document that
enables an individual to appoint another person to make decisions about
financial affairs, in addition to health care decisions, should he or
she become unable to make those decisions.
- Upon admission to the program, hospice asks the patient to state his
or her preference regarding life-prolonging procedures such as
artificial respiration or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. If a patient
does not desire attempts at resuscitation in the event of cardiac or
pulmonary arrest, hospice informs the attending physician. Hospice
obtains a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order from the physician. This DNR
enables hospice staff to allow the patient to die peacefully and