House Calls

FAL 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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Page 41 of 54

assess the patient and provide additional help to ease the family's burden, such as picking up prescriptions, ordering medical equipment directly to the house, training caregivers in attending to specifi c health needs, and helping families process the anticipated loss. Staff members are also on-call around the clock to assist family members whenever needed. For patients who require intense 24/7 monitoring, inpatient facilities provide an even higher level of assistance. This summer, Roper St. Francis Healthcare began operating Roper Hospice Cottage, a full-service hospice facility in Mount Pleasant under the direction of Dr. Richter. "Our goals are to control symptoms, educate families, and eventually transfer hospice care to the patients' homes," she explains. Most of a patient's medical needs, including pain control and symptom management, are met on-site by a qualifi ed staff of physicians, nurses, and nursing aides, allowing the patient to avoid a hospital stay whenever possible. Although an uncomfortable conversation to begin, discussion about a loved one's end-of-life wishes should take place with the family as soon as it becomes clear that he or she is facing a terminal illness. Even if the patient is not yet ready to stop fi ghting, an awareness of options and resources can ease the burden of making decisions about one's fi nal days. And all parties involved should understand the ways in which hospice can improve the quality of living and dying. MYTH BUSTERS Given the emotional complexity surrounding end-of-life circumstances, the decision to begin hospice care can be fraught with apprehension and confusion. To help you better understand what the choice really means, we'll dispel some of the most common misunderstandings about end-of-life care. ❶ Entering hospice means I'm giving up. One of the leading misconceptions regarding end- of-life care is that entering hospice means you are waving the white fl ag, notes the Hospice Foundation of America. "I like to think of hospice as a shift of focus," explains Dr. Richter. "Yes, patients in hospice have an illness that cannot be cured, but our goal is to support patients in living their best lives for as long as possible." ➋ Hospice care is expensive. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances cover medications, equipment, and services provided by hospice. "Patients should always check with their hospice team fi rst to see if something is covered under their hospice benefi t," stresses Mello. ➌ I cannot go off hospice once I begin. Hospice is a choice and is reversible. If desired, patients can easily revoke hospice and go back to treating their illness. ➍ I will have to stop taking my medications and seeing my regular doctors. The hospice team works with patients to ensure medications are appropriate for their stage of illness. "Your hospice team collaborates with your physicians to provide care consistent with your goals," adds Dr. Richter. ➎ Once I enter hospice, I have less than six months to live. The medical criterion for entering hospice care is a prognosis of six months or less, if the disease assumes its normal course. "However, with the added support of a hospice team, patients often end up living much longer than the anticipated six months," notes Dr. Richter. h o u s e c a l l s { fall 2018 } 37 LIFE PRESERVERS Terminal patients extend their lives by an average of 29 days when they engage hospice services early, reports the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. The courtyard at Roper Hospice Cottage

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