What is Hospice?

Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient’s pain and symptoms and attending to the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient at the end of their life. Hospice care may be right for you or your loved one when living with a life-limiting illness that has a six-month life expectancy (if the disease runs its normal course).

Why Hospice Care?

Hospice care allows people to enjoy the final stages of their life journey. The end-of-life process can be grim for some, and hospice care helps to ease the burden. Hospice care allows patients to begin their end-of-life journey in peace, and with dignity. Beyond this, hospice care takes some of the weight off the shoulders of loved ones.

At-home care allows patients to stay close to loved ones, but it can also be difficult for them when they are trying to carry the burden on their own. Hospice care helps to alleviate some of this burden.

Hospice care also allows patients to deal with their end-of-life process in a way that is specific to them and their needs. Everyone approaches death differently, and Comfort and Peace Hospice understands this. That’s why we focus on meeting not only the physical but also the psychological, emotional and even spiritual needs of our patients. Our professionals are top-notch and specifically trained to provide end-of-life care. This differs from short-term healthcare in that the goals are different, and so are the needs of the patient. We understand these needs and do everything in our power to meet them.

Whether at home or in our facility, Comfort and Peace Hospice will provide your loved one or you with the highest level of care.

Who is Hospice Care for?

While when people think of hospice they may immediately think of cancer, there are actually a wide variety of types of patients that can benefit from hospice care. Hospice care is for anyone that would like to improve their quality of life during their end-of-life journey. The expert team at Comfort and Peace Hospice in San Diego is trained to provide hospice care for patients suffering from a variety of different illnesses. We understand your needs, and we will make sure you are comfortable and secure during your final days.

If it is your loved one that is passing, we will ensure excellent care and comfort during their final days. The medical requirements for hospice require two physicians certifying that you have a terminal prognosis. This means if a condition continues, it’s likely that a patient will pass away within around 6 months. With that said, patients may actually live longer than 6 months, and if that is the case the hospice care may be extended.

Some common illnesses that patients suffer from that lead to the need for hospice care include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Liver disease
  • Renal disease
  • Stroke
  • and others

If you feel like you may need hospice services, you can speak with a physician. Often, though, health care providers will make the referral themselves if they believe a patient would be a good candidate for hospice care.

Insurance may be a factor with hospice care, so it’s important to check with your insurance provider or the insurance provider of your loved one to see if hospice care is an option. There may also be limitations with Medicare.

What to Expect

There are four levels of hospice care. The level of care is highly determined by the patients’ conditions. The physician and hospice nurse authorize the changes in level of care.

There’s no out of pocket expense and all medications & equipment related to the terminal diagnosis are covered.

The four levels of hospice care are:

Routine Home Care

Routine home care is provided by compassionate hospice professionals in the patient’s place of residence. The care is delivered by specially trained medical staff, spiritual and social work professionals and volunteers. Assistance with pain management, skilled nursing care and symptom management are provided. The interdisciplinary hospice team coordinates care with the patient and family.

Most patients, with the assistance of the hospice team, are able to remain in their place of residence, whether it is a private home, Assisted Livings or nursing home for the duration of their illness. If the patient lives in an Assisted Living or Nursing Home, the care delivered is in addition to the normal nursing and caregiving care provided by the facility with no out of pocket cost to the patient and family. The care is coordinated by our interdisciplinary hospice team in collaboration with the facility staff, the patient and the family.

We will collaborate with your primary caregivers to ensure the patient and family are comfortable and at peace.

Continuous Care

If the patient’s symptoms are out of control, continuous care will be initiated. Continuous care is provided by our hospice team for several hours a day, up to 24 hours a day, until the crisis is resolved. The hospice nurse will assist in determining when continuous care is needed.

Continuous Care is initiated when symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and respiratory distress are out of control and bedside support is necessary to control these symptoms.

  • We will be by your side irrespective of how long it takes to keep you or your loved one comfortable.
  • Continuous Care gives a higher level of support without having to relocate to a facility.
  • Once the patient has stabilized, we return to Routine Care.

General In-Patient Care

General InPatient Care is similar to Continuous Care. However, If the symptoms cannot be managed at home, we will care for the patient in a facility. During In-Patient Care we assess the patient daily and cover room and board as long as the patient requires this level of symptom management.

Once stabilized, our team transitions your loved one back to a routine level of care.

Respite Care

Respite care is available to the primary caregivers and family in need of rest from caring for the patient. There are several local nursing facilities, as well as private respite homes available for respite care. You or your loved one will be able to stay in one of our contracted facilities for up to five (5) days per benefit period, according to Medicare guidelines.

Respite Care is a short-term relief program designed to give the primary caregiver in need of rest an opportunity to tend to other concerns. Our team will relocate you or your loved one for up to 5 days and we cover room and board during this respite period.

  • Families choose respite care to “catch up” on life, attend important events (e.g. high school graduation, church events)
  • Caregivers often depend on respite care to get rest and recharge with peace of mind that their loved one is in good hands.
  • At the end of Respite Care, the patient is transferred to Routine Care in their place of residence.

What to Look for in a Hospice Care Provider

When looking for the right hospice care provider, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:

  • Frequency. Some hospice care providers provide more visits than others. Make sure you find a hospice care provider that can meet your needs.
  • Transition. Transitioning to hospice care can be difficult. The right hospice care provider provides a seamless transition and ensures the patient is comfortable throughout every step of the process.
  • Quick Response Time. If a patient is in need, it’s important for their hospice care provider to be there swiftly.
  • A Strong Staff. It’s extremely important that a hospice care provider has an amazing and full staff. Many hospice care nurses have full loads—upwards of 18-20 patients. At Comfort and Peace Hospice our goal is to improve this ratio so we can provide better care.
  • On-Call Services. Your hospice care provider should be on call 24/7. The need for an unplanned visit may arise, and you’ll want to feel comfortable knowing a hospice care provider can meet your loved one or you at any time of day.
  • Local Ownership. Local ownership is often a big plus, as these owners are part of their community.
  • Excellent Customer Service. Whether it’s a warm smile or help making paperwork easier, the right hospice care provider will provide the best customer service possible for both their patients and the loved ones of their patients.

What is Music Therapy?

One service that Comfort and Peace Hospice specializes in is music therapy. Not only is music therapy a fun idea, but it is also backed by clinical evidence. Research has shown that the ability to hear is one of the last senses that benefits and registers with dying patients. This is especially so when it comes to music.

There are a few different symptoms that music therapy can help with. These include:

  • Pain
  • Decrease brain function
  • Respiratory distress
  • Anxiety and Agitation
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Stress

Music therapy also helps with:

  • Mood enhancement
  • Communication and expression
  • Spiritual support
  • Caregiver and family support
  • Legacy projects
  • Family bonding

Music has a major impact on the brain, and research continues to reveal how much it stimulates many areas of the brain. Music is actually a multi-sensory experience, and it involves our ears, skin and eyes. Because of this, it can have a strong impact on a patient’s emotional, cognitive and even physical wellbeing.

Hospice Care for Veterans

Veterans have made amazing sacrifices for their country, and Comfort and Peace Hospice respects the sacrifices that they have made. We honor veterans, and we do the best we can to ensure they get what they need at the end of their life. Some of our veteran care includes:

  • Assistance with VA and other military benefits
  • Assessment of military service
  • Honor ceremonies and events
  • Connection with VA services
  • Providing counseling and care that deals with service-related memories or issues
  • Assisting with military funeral and memorial services

We want to ensure veterans get the sendoff that they deserve.

How Long Can Someone Stay in Hospice Care in San Diego?

While people often think of hospice care as a short process, a patient can actually benefit from hospice care for an extended period. As long as patients “meet” Medicare hospice criteria, they can continue to benefit from hospice care. Hospice care is usually around 6 months or less. If it’s determined that a patient is in decline by a physician, hospice care may be extended beyond six months.