Common Questions About Hospice

We know this is an emotionally intense time and you have questions. Now is the best time to learn more about hospice services. Let us help you.

What is hospice care?

Hospice is a way to care for people who are facing a serious illness by focusing on symptom management as well as emotional and spiritual end-of-life issues, instead of trying to cure the underlying condition.

We suggest thinking about hospice when your serious illness is life-threatening, your hospital visits increase, day-to-day living becomes increasingly uncomfortable, treatment is no longer effective, or if your quality of life is diminished. Simply put, hospice care is beneficial when the burden of treatment outweighs the benefits.

Choosing hospice means you and your family no longer want to pursue curative care. Generally, a physician determines the point when your life expectancy is six months or less, most medical treatments and interventions are no longer effective, your serious illness will not be cured, and/or continued treatment of your condition will just prolong suffering. When this distinction is made, you can enter hospice care. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about hospice. Talking about dying won’t make it happen.

What is the difference between hospice and palliative care?

In its simplest terms, hospice care is for people who are living with a serious illness and have a life expectancy of about six months; palliative care is for those with life-limiting or chronic conditions without a terminal prognosis.  Palliative care teams walk together with a patient for about two years or more. The care philosophy of ensuring comfort is still at the core of both, but palliative care may be delivered alongside curative treatments.

When should I think about getting hospice help?

If the burden of your treatment outweighs the benefits, or you have had multiple hospitalizations over the last several months, you may be ready for hospice. There are usually other indications, as well, including unrelieved pain, repeated visits to the emergency room, frequent infections, a decline in physical functioning and eating, oxygen dependence, etc.

It is important to remember that you can continue to see your primary care doctor as a member of your care team. Your physician will provide us with direction about your care and the other members of your team will make recommendations; however, you are still in control of those decisions.

Why should I come to Hospice House?

Hospice House celebrates lives well-lived. Like the beginning of life, the end is meaningful, emotional, and grounding.

If you have been diagnosed with a serious illness and can no longer stay at home, we welcome you to our peaceful environment. While at Hospice House, you are held in high esteem and you would be empowered to live life on your own terms for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months.

When you are nearing the end of life, many changes will be happening in a short period of time. There may be changes in medications, sleep habits, fatigue, diet, and family roles, to name just a few. Hospice House works with your hospice care team to address each of these changes as they occur, to make your quality of life the best it can be.

Inside our walls, expert healthcare professionals and experienced volunteers devote themselves to providing excellent care. We are proud to offer comfort care, pain relief, psychosocial support, and support quality of life at the end of life. Caring for you is one of the highest callings of their lives; your comfort, dignity and respect is very important to us.

Who will care for me at Hospice House?

Hospice House has an excellent team of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants that provide round-the-clock care for you and your family. We work with your physician as part of your hospice care team.

Do I have to give up my medications?

No. Your physician will continue to prescribe appropriate medications for you based on your specific needs.

How will hospice manage my symptoms?

Hospice treats symptoms aggressively. We know pain and other symptoms interfere with eating, sleeping, visiting, and general quality of life.  Uncontrolled symptoms can also shorten life. You are always in control of your care and can decide how you want to treat your specific symptoms.

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Does choosing hospice care mean I’m giving up?

Hospice is not about giving up; however, it does mean pursuing different goals of care – comfort and quality of life. By shifting the focus of your care, you are choosing to improve the quality of your life by being free of uncomfortable symptoms, surrounded by family, and in the comfort of our home-like environment.

Hospice House care addresses your physical symptoms, spiritual and emotional support, and companionship needs. We want to give you the opportunity to enjoy life and celebrate the bonds and memories you share with family and friends. It allows you to accomplish your wishes and control your own months, days, and hours. Hospice is about living, not dying. We want to help you achieve your end-of-life goals.

What if my health improves while in Hospice care?

Sometimes your health may improve with hospice services, because the focus of your care shifts to comfort, pain relief, symptom management, and quality of life. You may start eating more and become more active.

Also, you can leave hospice care at any time, for any reason.

How will my family and I be cared for after I die?

Our team will support your family in the first few hours and help begin making necessary phone calls and prepare your body. The hospice team member will contact your funeral home at the appropriate time. Hospice also provides grief and loss counseling for your loved ones.

Who pays for my hospice care?

Hospice is covered under Medicare, Nebraska Medicaid, or private insurance. Hospice pays for medications, medical equipment, and supplies that are related to your serious illness. We encourage you to contact your provider for specific coverages.

There are daily care charges specific to Hospice House. Ask us about care charges and how Medicare, Nebraska Medicaid, private insurance, or self-payment are used.

Is a career in hospice calling to you?

The Hospice House Diary

The end of someone’s life is a sacred time. Contact us if you’d like to honor your loved one’s journey by sharing their Hospice House story here.
Call us At: 402.343.8600 Submit your story online