Westlake Village Hospice, INC

westlake village hospice


Frequently Asked Questions for Hospice care

What is a hospice?

Hospice is a type of specialized care for patients who are nearing the end of their life. Hospice helps patients who are terminally ill live a comfortable life. Patients usually enter hospice during the last few months or weeks of their life. Hospice is personal and family-centered. Hospice provides many kinds of support through a team of highly trained professionals. The goal of hospice is to improve the quality of life and to meet the specific needs of individual patients.

Westlake is an outpatient hospice facility. Hospice care is unique to each patient and includes a wide spectrum of care to manage the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Hospice care focuses on the individual as a whole. Depending on the needs of the patient, hospice includes doctor and nurse care, prescription medicine, therapy, medical equipment, and supplies related to the patient’s condition. Hospice strives to ensure the comfort and well being of every patient, while making the most out of their remaining time.

Who pays for a hospice?

Westlake Village Hospice is covered by most medical insurances, including Medicare. However, Hospice can sometimes includes a small, out of pocket fee. If you have Medicare, Medicare pays the hospice provider for your care without a deductible. Patients will pay:

  • Your monthly Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance)and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) premiums.
  • A copayment of up to $5 per prescription for outpatient prescription drugs for pain and symptom management. In the rare case your drug isn’t covered by the hospice benefit, your hospice provider should contact your Medicare drug plan (if you have one) to see if it’s covered by Medicare prescription drug coverage(Part D).
  • 5% of the Medicare-approved amount for inpatient respite care.

The list of accepted insurance providers are outlined on our insurance page. Patients without insurance are sometime eligible to receive financial assistance for hospice care.

Who can receive hospice care?

Hospice is for anyone with a limited life-expectancy. Westlake Village serves patients in the Los Angeles and Ventura area. Patients eligible for hospice usually have a life expectancy of 6 months or less. Medicare requires that patients meet specific guidelines before receiving hospice. These requirements include:-Documented life-limiting prognosis by a certified physician(s), which means a life expectancy of six months, if the disease follows a normal course.-The patient elects to receive comfort (palliative) care, instead of seeking aggressive treatment.Many of the patients who receive hospice care are elderly. Westlake Village Hospice Care provides elderly patients with the familiarity of their home, which reduces falls and injuries and creates a more comfortable environment. If you or a loved one is in need of hospice care in LA County, Northridge, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Ventura County, Antelope Valley, or surrounding areas, contact us.

Hospice services – where are they received?

The services from hospice care are generally taken to where the person lives. This could be their house, a retirement community, assistance-based communities, etc. They can also receive hospice services at the hospital.

‍Hospice Care Levels The hospice “levels-of-care” are certain kinds of hospice treatment meant to cater to the varying needs of the patients.

The Medicare program mandates four levels of care.

Hospice services – where are they received?

  • Regular home hospice care
  • As-needed acute symptom management when in the home
  • 24/7 in-patient care when unable to be addressed in the home
  • “Respite inpatient care” when it’s not possible for the family caregiver to give care for multiple days

Hospice care: is it giving up?

It’s not giving up on your loved one, when you or they choose to put them into hospice care. At that point, treatment options will have completely run their course and there will be no other real options moving forward. Hospice care is the best option going forward, when it is chosen. Hospice is not about losing up, but making life better for the individual as the best choice going forward, surrounded by loved ones in their living arrangement.

What’s the right time for hospice care?

These services generally begin when the life expectancy is six months or less. These services should be considered when medical treatment has run its course and can’t fight the disease(s) anymore, or the symptoms are completely outweighing the benefits of treatment.

Prognosing and diagnosing: differences?

‍‍Diagnosing is when one identifies illness cause(s). Prognosing is predicting what course(s) the disease will take next.

A diagnosis identifies what caused the illness (example: cancer, pneumonia, etc). A prognosis predicts which path the illness will develop going forward.

For patients who are terminal, prognosis boils down to determine how much longer the disease will run course before the patient dies.

Hospice care: signs a patient is ready

If the downsides of treatment are outweighing the treatment itself, it may very well be time to consider transfer to hospice care.

More indications:

  • Multiple er visits
  • Pain that lingers despite attempts for reduction
  • Consistent rate of infection
  • A quick decline in physical function
  • Loss of weightbeing out-of-breath on a semi-regular/regular basis

Hospice care: qualification?

Patients are eligible to enter hospice care when they have symptoms and signs that their life will be ending in six months or less from the disease(s) they are being treated for. There are methods the physician uses to determine when and how to make the transfer from treatment into the hospice care situation.

How many times will the hospice doctor and nurse need to visit?

A hospice nurse will work with the patient and/or family to determine the best plan of action going forward within the hospice system. This will determine how many visits the patient needs from the doctor and nurse(s), and how many the patient will get. Depending on individual patient needs, it could be a few or it could be regular visits.

Is my doctor able to continue treating me in hospice?

You will be able to continue being seen by your doctor, yes. The hospice doctor and team members will work with your physician to determine the level of care they need to continue giving you as you remain in hospice. This is determined by the doctor.

Will the family still have a voice if the mom is currently in hospice care?

They will have a say, yes. In fact, their say drives the hospice plan that is laid out for their mother.

If the hospice patient has a special need(s), does this affect things?

The care plans are individualized for the person’s needs, so they will still get the treatment they need.

What if a loved one needs some specialized equipment?

The hospice will provide the equipment needed for the patient. Whether it’s an oxygen machine, special chair, etc., it is the hospice that will be acquiring and provided in the various equipment that each patient needs.

Medication and other medical supplies will also be provided; families will be consulted to determine precisely which supplies the patient needs for their situation.

Who keeps us informed on our loved one, from the hospice?

The main nurse in the hospice will inform you on your loved one’s status and condition, and will keep you updated on what’s going on the entire time. The family is part of the hospice team, so they will always be kept in the loop as well as consulted when questions arise as to the patient’s requirements and needs.

Do i need hospice care if i have home healthcare treatment?

The hospice is going to offer many advantages that home healthcare treatment doesn’t have. This includes medicines, equipment, and visits from staff that are necessary.

Typically, the goal of home healthcare is to help the patient become more independent, and the number of visits will go down as the frequencies of the various symptoms decrease. Hospices’ goals are to ensure the full comfort of the patient as their symptoms continue to grow. The service will evolve to fulfill the needs that the patient has.

My mom is in a nursing home – what advantage does hospice care have over it?

Nursing homes focus on daily care and daily routines that manage day-to-day living issues for elderly people. Hospice care provides additional help and benefit from dedicated medical teams that go far beyond what a typical nursing home offers.

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