Frequently Asked Questions
When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made, and who should make it?
Hospice can be discussed at any time during a life-limiting illness, along with all other care options. The decision should be made when all acute aggressive treatments have been discontinued. However, the sooner a patient enters a hospice program, the more opportunity there is to address not only medical needs, but emotional or spiritual needs as well. By law, the decision belongs to the patient.
Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy and friends.
What if our physician doesn’t know about hospice?
Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, it is available by calling Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, (360) 452-1511.
Can a patient living in a nursing home or convalescent home become a hospice patient?
Yes, hospice accepts patients who are in nursing homes or convalescent homes. Home is wherever the patient is. Patient care is coordinated between the teams to best serve the patient’s needs.
What specific assistance does hospice provide patients?
Hospice patients are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses and volunteers; each provides assistance based on his or her area of expertise. We refer and coordinate services with community resources for social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy and therapists. In addition, hospice provides supplies, equipment and additional helpers in the home as appropriate.
Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
Hospice neither speeds up nor slows down the dying process. The focus is not so much about dying. Hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge while attending to the needs of living.
What if the patient gets better?
If the patient’s condition improves, they can be discharged from hospice care and begin again at any time.
How does hospice “manage” pain?
Hospice nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. Pain medications are monitored frequently to assure appropriate relief of pain. The nurses obtain physician’s orders for pain medications or changes in dosage. Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pains are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it addresses these as well. Counselors, including clergy, are available to assist family members as well as patients.
Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies?
Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for at least a year following the death of a loved one. We also sponsor bereavement and support groups for anyone in the community who has experienced the death of a family member, a friend or a loved one.