The sooner the hospice team becomes involved, the more effective hospice care can be in helping patients and families achieve their goals.
Are you struggling with any of the following?
- An illness that is getting progressively worse
- Frequent ER visits and hospitalizations
- A high level of anxiety and stress about your care when at home and what to expect as your condition progresses
- Not knowing all you need to know about how to manage your medications
- Pain or other troublesome symptoms that interfere with quality of life
If so, you may benefit from hospice care.
Hospice Care Focuses on Living
Many people are surprised to learn that hospice care is about …
- Living with the disease
- Living in greater comfort
- Living with less worry
Hospice of the Foothills, now part of Greenville Health System (GHS), offers the peace of mind of knowing that you are receiving the best care possible. Specially trained staff, team-oriented care, and extended services that help both patient and family make the hospice approach one that provides not only healthcare services and symptom management but also comfort and relief.
Your physician can help you decide if hospice is right for you. When talking with your physician, ask about the services available through GHS Hospice of the Foothills.
When to Talk to Your Physician
Even though they understand and believe in the benefits of hospice care, many physicians hesitate to mention hospice care because they feel that the patient is not ready to discuss it. Physicians often are relieved when patients initiate the discussion. So if you have questions about hospice, bring up the subject with your physician.
If you think the time for hospice is approaching, talk with your physician about the benefits of curative treatment vs. palliative (comfort) care that is provided by hospice. To find out how hospice care may benefit you or a loved one in the future, talk with your physician now. Early discussions will help you prepare for any eventuality.
What to Say to Your Physician
When talking about hospice with your physician, keep the following points in mind:
- Make an appointment with the physician. Tell the physician you want to have a realistic discussion about your condition, prognosis and treatment options. You want your physician to have a clear understanding of your wishes regarding your medical care.
- Make a list. Write down questions you want answered. List your symptoms and other problems; include your medical history.
- Be clear. Outline your wishes and opinions beforehand so that you can express them clearly to the physician.
- Ask a family member or friend to accompany you to the appointment with your physician.
- Take a copy of your living will and healthcare power of attorney to leave with your physician.
- How does the physician anticipate your condition will progress over the next six months or year?
- If your condition doesn’t improve over the next six months, what is the best course of care?
- What are some ways to ensure comfort?
- Is there any way to improve your quality of life?
- How will you communicate with doctors, pharmacists and hospitals?
- Who will help caregivers manage the demands from work, family, finances, and caregiving, and their own health and stress levels?
- Is GHS Hospice of the Foothills a viable alternative for your care?
- The key to an effective conversation is to express yourself clearly in a non-confrontational manner and to listen carefully. Use “I” statements such as “I feel that …,” “I would prefer to …,” “I understood you to say …”
- Make sure your physician knows your concerns about treatment options. When the physician speaks, listen carefully. Then, you might repeat what the physician has stated in your own words and ask, “Is that correct?”
- Let your physician know how you want your treatment to progress and how you would like to be treated medically, emotionally and spiritually.
- If you disagree with the physician’s recommendations, state your reasons or preferences in a non-confrontational way.
- If you need time to think about information you’ve been given, make sure your physician knows you have reservations or concerns and will want to continue the discussion later.
- If applicable, let your physician know that you want to be successful at remaining at home but will need help.
- Write down your physician’s answers to your questions and any follow-up questions you think of. Ask your accompanying family member or friend to also write down answers you receive.
- Make notes of any further research you may want to pursue.
What you need to know about GHS Hospice of the Foothills
GHS Hospice of the Foothills helps patients and their families by providing a different kind of care:
- The medical director leading the hospice team guides care and works with the patient’s primary care physician.
- Hospice-trained and certified nurses are available for scheduled visits and on an on-call basis around the clock.
- Counselors help patients and their loved ones face uncertainty and grief.
- Hospice-trained, certified nursing assistants provide care to assist the caregiver and patient in activities of daily living.
- Chaplains may be called on by anyone who desires spiritual counseling.
- Volunteers can help families by providing interim and respite care.
A Wealth of Resources
- Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance policies offer hospice benefits. This includes coverage for medications, equipment and medical supplies related to the hospice diagnosis.
- Because the hospice-trained staff works aggressively to control symptoms such as pain, anxiety, nausea and sleeplessness, those symptoms may become less troublesome. The patient’s outlook on life may improve; the patient may become better able to cope with the activities of daily living.
- For many patients, adding hospice care helps their condition improve or stabilize. Hospice care enables patients to experience a more comfortable and improved quality of life.
- Although the average length of hospice care is less than six months, some patients use these services for more than a year. In fact, if a patient’s condition improves sufficiently or stabilizes for a long period of time, he or she may leave hospice care.
- The grief counseling and emotional support available through GHS Hospice of the Foothills helps patients and their loved ones deal with their emotions to make the most of their time together.
- The support of the hospice team helps caregivers worry less, feel better about the job they are doing, sleep better and eat better, allowing them to better care for their loved one.
- GHS Hospice of the Foothills is the only hospice program operating in Oconee and Pickens counties that offers an inpatient hospice house (Cottingham Hospice House, which provides a comfortable, homelike setting for patients who may not be able to remain at home).
GHS Hospice of the Foothills provides a better quality of life and peace of mind: The earlier a physician refers a patient to hospice care, the sooner the patient and family will receive specialized care—and the more a family’s
concerns can be reduced. People with life-threatening illnesses often choose hospice care to provide them with the resources they need to remain at home and live each day to the fullest.
For more information about GHS Hospice of the Foothills services, call (864) 882-8940.
Location & Contact Information
390 Keowee School Rd.
Seneca, SC 29672
Phone: (864) 882-8940