Care & Services
The focus of Hospice care is comfort, dignity, empowerment, and quality of life. Hospice treats the whole person and allows the patients to decide what is right for them and the loved ones in their final days of life. Hospice supports the patient’s physical, spiritual, social, and emotional needs and encourages them to participate in life as fully as possible.
Not all hospices are the same. Hospice is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, etc. Each hospice provider is a different company. All hospices have the same general philosophy, but their services may differ. Some hospices are for-profit corporations, while others (like Hospice of Washington County) are not-for-profit organizations. In Iowa, it is your right to request the hospice of your choice if more than one hospice serves your area.
Hospice care is provided in a setting that best meets the needs of each patient and family. The most common setting is the patient’s home. Hospice care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals according to patient care needs.
Hospice provides nursing visits to assess, monitor and treat symptoms, as well as teach family and caregivers the skills they need to care for the patient. Team members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer questions or visit anytime the need for support arises.
Hospice is about living. Hospice of Washington County encourages our patients to live their lives to the fullest.
Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit. Patients also have the right to choose a different hospice provider at any time.
Hospice of Washington County is a not-for-profit hospice provider. Our patients and families receive services with no out-of-pocket expense. This means that the benefits and services our patients and families receive are provided with no out-of-pocket expense to them. Hospice care is submitted for reimbursement to the insurance provider, whether that be Medicare, Medicaid, or Private Insurance. We use community donations, memorial gifts, bequests, and hold several fundraisers throughout the year to provide care for those without insurance or those who are underinsured.
Patients are appropriate for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a condition that limits their prognosis to 6 months or less. At that time, curative treatment is no longer the patient’s choice or option and at that time comfort, care, and symptom management become the primary focus. Our team will work with the patient’s primary physician to obtain the information necessary to determine patient eligibility.
A patient can be referred to Hospice of Washington County by anyone including their primary care physician, family, or facility staff. HWC staff will gather the necessary information to begin the process including name, date of birth, contact information, primary care provider, and medical diagnosis and symptoms. Additional medical information, History, and Physical Information or H&P, will also be requested. This information will support the patient’s medical needs and diagnoses that determine their qualifications for hospice care by Medicare rules and regulations.
Once this information is received it is taken to the HWC Medical Director for review. He/she will determine from this information if the patient is appropriate for hospice care. After a decision is made a member of the HWC Admission Team will contact the patient/family to notify them of the decision.
If a patient is determined to not be appropriate for hospice services, the initial information will be kept on file and the patient can be reassessed in the future to access services once they are appropriate.
If a patient is found to be appropriate for hospice services a meeting will be scheduled with the patient/family by a member of the Admission Team to complete the admission process and paperwork as well as answer any questions that the patient/family may have. A Hospice Nurse will complete the Initial Nursing Assessment within 24 hours of admission, usually on the same day of admission. A Hospice Social Worker will complete the Psychosocial Assessment and other disciplines will make their initial visit within five days following admission.
Anyone can refer a patient to hospice, a family member or friend, medical professional, or even the patient themselves. We believe communication and education is an important part of providing exceptional care. Contact us anytime to arrange a conversation or consultation with one of our team members.