Who makes referrals?

Anyone can make a referral. Physicians and Social Workers refer a large percentage of patients to hospice. Relatives and friends may refer a loved one. The patient may call for himself or herself.

Who is eligible for Hospice services?

A person diagnosed with a disease or condition from which he/she is not expected to recover, who is no longer receiving curative treatment, and who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease/condition runs its normal course, is eligible for Hospice.

Where can Serenity Hospice and Home provide care?

Serenity Hospice and Home is licensed by the State of Illinois to serve patients in Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties, as well as the towns of Walnut and Ohio in Bureau County. Service can be provided in a patient’s home, nursing home, assisted living facility, or in our 8-bed inpatient facility, Serenity Home.

Can the staff of a nursing home be considered my caregiver?

Yes, as patients at home, a relative’s home, or in a nursing home are cared for in the same way. The caregivers or nursing home staff will be trained on comfort measures. Hospice care will be in addition to the care offered by the nursing home.

How is hospice care different from regular medical care?

Hospice care is a patient-centered approach that recognizes impending death. It is different because the focus changes from curing the disease/illness to providing palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to relieve pain and control symptoms.

Who pays for Hospice?

Medicare or private insurance providers pay for hospice care. Patients without coverage may apply for Medicaid and Illinois Department of Public Aid. No one is turned away for inability to pay.

Does Hospice only care for patients with cancer?

No, hospice care is available to any person with a life-limiting, terminal illness. Some examples are: congestive heart failure, end-stage chronic lung disease, kidney or liver failure, and advanced Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

What services are covered by the hospice benefit?

Visits from the hospice interdisciplinary team, medications and equipment related to the terminal illness are covered by the Hospice benefit.

How will I know which medications will be paid for by hospice and which medications will be my responsibility?

The Hospice benefit pays for medication that provides comfort to the patient to relieve pain and constipation, treat nausea, calm restlessness, and promote sleep.

Can I still visit my doctor? What does the Medical Director do?

Yes, the patient’s primary physician remains in charge and participates in the patient’s care plan. The Medical Director assists in developing the plan based on the needs and desires of the patient. The Medical Director coordinates patient care with the primary physician and the hospice staff.

Does hospice provide care around the clock?

No, however, a hospice nurse is on call 24/7/365 to answer questions, help with concerns, or to come to the home if a crisis occurs.  Also the Serenity Home physicians visit patients in their homes.

How often does the staff visit the patient?

The nurse makes routine visits as decided by the Interdisciplinary Team deems appropriate. The frequency will change as the disease or condition progresses and the care needs change. If pain is out of control, or other distressing problems occur, the nurse may visit daily.  Nurses, social workers, chaplains, Nursing Aides and volunteers visit as often as deemed necessary by the family and interdisciplinary team.

Why must there be a primary caregiver in my home?

As the disease progresses, declines in the patient’s ability to function independently are to be expected and it would be unsafe for the patient to be alone. Medications and equipment need to be handled carefully to ensure they are used correctly. This requires a caregiver that is able and willing to perform the needed duties.

Why should I use the services of the volunteer, social worker, chaplain, and bereavement coordinator?

The patient and family are eligible to receive support services from the entire hospice team of trained professionals. Their focus is to address the emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of the patient and family.

What if I change my mind and want to return to curative treatment?

The patient may leave the hospice program at any time. Should the patient wish to return to hospice care at a later time, the Hospice Benefit can be reinstated.

What bereavement support is available to family members?

Our Bereavement program consists of supportive visits, as well as, correspondence and educational materials sent out at intervals during the first thirteen months of bereavement. In addition, we provide grief support groups. The purpose of these groups is to help find meaning in life, kinship, friendship, and understanding. Sharing and listening helps group members work through the grieving process. These groups are free and open to anyone in the community who has suffered a loss.

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