Hospice is a special type of care for people who are facing serious illness and who have a limited life expectancy. Our goal is to help patients achieve the best quality of life possible, managing symptoms, pain, and anxiety, while providing emotional and spiritual support for patients and families.
Most hospice patients prefer to remain at home and our hospice team helps to make that happen. Care can be provided in the patient’s home, the home of a family member, a nursing home, senior apartments, assisted living facilities, or a residential hospice facility such as the SSM Health Hospice House.
Your hospice care team is led by a Hospice RN Case Manager and may also include:
- Hospice Medical Director
- Hospice Nurse Practitioner
- Hospice Nurses
- Hospice Home Health Aides
- Medical Social Worker
- Grief & Spiritual Counselor
- Hospice Volunteers
- Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapists
When is the right time for hospice?
Thinking about hospice can be overwhelming. However, hospice is not just for patients in the last days or weeks of life. The sooner an eligible patient is admitted to hospice, the sooner the care team can begin effectively treating symptoms and managing pain. Caregivers and family members also benefit from the support provided by the team.
People are often eligible for hospice when they are facing the end-stage of a chronic illness, their health status is declining, or their disease is progressing and not responding to curative treatments.
If you have questions about hospice or eligibility for services, please contact us for an Informational Visit. We can speak to you and your family about how our services can help. Call 1-800-924-2273 or request a visit online.
Palliative care may be available for patients who do not meet the eligibility requirements for hospice or who choose to continue with curative treatments. Learn more.
Who pays for hospice?
The Medicare Hospice Benefit covers the services provided by the hospice care team. The benefit also pays for many types of home and medical equipment as well as medications related to the terminal illness are generally covered when approved by the team. Many HMO’s and private insurance companies also provide coverage for hospice services. Our staff can assist in determining coverage.
What about respite services?
There may come a time while on hospice services that a patient’s caregivers need a break. Caregiver stress can lead to physical and emotional distress that can interfere with the ability to provide care.
Respite care can provide temporary, short-term assistance in caring for a hospice patient in order to allow caregivers time to emotionally recharge and become better prepared to handle the normal day-to-day challenges of caregiving.
Respite care comes in many forms and at a variety of locations; SSM Health at Home has partnered with many community facilities for respite care.
What if the patient’s symptoms cannot be managed in the home?
General Inpatient (GIP) Care is for patients who cannot comfortably remain in a residential setting and require skilled nursing care around the clock to maintain comfort.
While SSM Health at Home successfully manages pain and symptoms at home for the vast majority of our hospice patients, there are times when GIP care is the best short term solution. In these rare cases, the individual may be eligible for a short term general inpatient level of care.
GIP can be provided in a Medicare-certified hospice, hospital or skilled nursing facility that meets the conditions of providing inpatient care. SSM Health at Home has partnered with many community facilities for GIP care.