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Hospice Care Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Hospice care? ^top

Hospice is a philosophy of comfort care designed to control symptoms and improve quality of life for the dying patient and his/her family.

CHANS Hospice is a medically supervised program that offers medical, personal and spiritual care to help the person with life threatening illness to live well in his/her last days. CHANS Hospice provides nurses, home care aides, social workers, and spiritual supports in the home to monitor symptoms, manage pain and discomfort, and provide education and support. In addition CHANS Hospice care includes bereavement services for family and loved ones, which are available prior to the impending death and continue for the 13 months following death, to support the grieving.

CHANS Hospice is family- and person-centered. Our staff strives to educate and assist everyone involved in making decisions about living well and fully, current care needs, and end of life planning, care, and support.

CHANS Hospice provides a direct and easily accessible link to 24 hour medical, spiritual and emotional support, and establishes quick and clear communication among the patient, the family, doctors and in-home support personnel.

2. Why should, I, or a loved one, choose Hospice care? ^top

Hospice care provided by CHANS Home Health Services focuses on improving quality of life though pain and symptom management, and providing support for the patient and family, enabling the patient to remain in the home. The Hospice philosophy of care focuses on the patient’s quality-of-life goals, and allows the patient and family to play active roles in making decisions about care. Hospice care neither shortens nor lengthens life, but supports the emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being of the patient and the needs of family caregivers.

3. How do I qualify for Hospice care? ^top

Your doctor can help determine if you are medically eligible for Hospice care. Typically, the person qualifying for Hospice care has an illness that is no longer curable, has decided against further treatments, and instead, is focused on comfort and quality of life. Most Hospice insurance benefits require a projected life expectancy of between 6 and 12 months. The staff at CHANS Home Health Services can work with the family and the insurance company to provide in home care and services, and related medications, equipment and medical supplies.

4. How do I sign up for Hospice care? ^top

After you, your family and your doctor determine that Hospice Care is the right choice for you, your doctor will notify CHANS Home Health & Hospice that you would like to begin services. The doctor will let CHANS know what kind of care you will need. Then CHANS Home Health & Hospice Hospice staff will contact you to arrange a time to visit your home and to begin services.

5. Do I need to sign up for Hospice care to find out more about it? ^top

No. You or your family can contact CHANS Home Health & Hospice at any time. We are happy to answer your questions, provide further information, and problem-solve to determine if Hospice care is the right choice for you, your family and your medical situation. If you would like one of our staff to visit you and your family in your home, or in the hospital, free of change, to discuss if Hospice Care is right for you, simply call 207-729-6782, and ask to speak to someone in the Intake Department or in the Hospice Department.

6. How long can I receive Hospice care? ^top

Hospice care is not just for those who are in the end stages of life, and are actively dying.
Hospice care is provided to any person who has a life expectancy of about 6 months to 12 months. Hospice care will support them in their goals to remain home, and provide for medical and personal needs. Coverage for Hospice care does not end after a pre-determined number of months.

7. Where is Hospice care provided? ^top

CHANS Hospice care is provided in your home or in a family member’s home, with as little interruption to family routine as possible.

8. What if I don’t live at home? ^top

CHANS Home Health Hospice staff provides care to those living in local nursing homes or assisted living facilities, just as they would if you were living at home. CHANS has strong, working relationships with all of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our catchment area; and works with the staff at each facility to provide the best coordinated care possible.

9. What if I can’t stay at home? ^top

If for some reason you or your loved one cannot remain at home, CHANS Home Health & Hospice Hospice social workers will assist in finding accommodations in a local assisted living facility or nursing home. If the patient’s condition requires more aggressive treatment to manage symptoms, CHANS provides inpatient Hospice care at Mid Coast Hospital and Parkview Adventist Medical Center. Specialized private hospice rooms are also available at the Mid Coast Senior Health Center to provide for your comfort. In addition to private patient rooms, the Mid Coast Senior Health Center has a family suite for loved ones, with sleeping arrangements, internet access, private bathroom, kitchenette, television, phone and children’s area.

10. How will my Hospice care be paid for? ^top

Most insurance plans have a policy specifically to cover end-of-life care. Medicare and Maine Care pay for 100% of illness-related care, medicines, supplies and equipment ordered by your doctor. Most private insurance plans provide expanded coverage as part of their hospice benefit. If your coverage is limited, or you have no insurance, CHANS Home Health & Hospice Hospice social work staff can assist you in applying for Maine Care (the State of Maine’s Medicaid program) to provide for your insurance needs.

11. Are there other expenses that I should expect? ^top

Since the Hospice benefit pays for expenses related to the illness, you will still be expected to pay for medicines and supplies for chronic conditions that do not apply to your diagnosis. For example, if you have high blood pressure, and have a cancer diagnosis, you will still be expected to pay for your high blood pressure medication.

If you or a loved one needs more care support than can be provided through CHANS Home Health & Hospice Hospice, or through Hospice Volunteers of Mid Coast Maine, our social work staff will help identify other sources of support, such as other family, close friends and neighbors, faith-based supports, and private pay options for care.

12. Who directs my care? ^top

You do! And when you can no longer advocate for yourself or your care needs, CHANS Home Health & Hospice Hospice staff will work closely with your primary caregiver, and family, or implement your living will or advanced directive to carry out your wishes for your care.

13. What is a primary caregiver? ^top

A primary caregiver is the person who agrees to provide for all of your care needs, or agrees to coordinate services of those who will be providing for your care needs. A primary caregiver is usually a spouse or parent, but can be anyone who is willing to commit to being your caregiver and advocate.

Towards the end of life you will need someone to be available to tend to your pain management and other needs around the clock. Your primary caregiver is generally that someone. 24-hour care ensures that you remain safe, and that all of your needs are met.

14. I still have more questions ^top

Call CHANS Home Health & Hospice during business hours, and ask to speak with the Hospice Coordinator at 207-729-6782.

Further information is available at the Maine Hospice Counsel website, www.mainehospicecouncil.org. Click on the “Links” option.

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Mid Coast–Parkview Health CHANS Home Health & Hospice Mid Coast Hospital, Brunswick Maine Mid Coast Medical Group Mid Coast Senior Health Center Thornton Oaks Retirement Community