We answer your questions about hospice care.
Review the questions answered here to find helpful information. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to call us.
When is hospice care appropriate?
Hospice care is appropriate for anyone with a limited life expectancy if the disease runs its normal course as certified by a physician. Predicting a patient's life expectancy is not an exact science, so a patient may continue to benefit from hospice care as long as the hospice medical director believes the patient continues to meet the hospice medical criteria.
Can I change my mind about hospice care?
You can choose to leave hospice care at any time if you would like to resume treatment focused on healing or seek other advice. Sometimes patients improve and are discharged from hospice care. Hospice care can be resumed later if the patient's condition warrants it.
Will my personal physician continue to be involved in my care?
Your own doctor knows you best. He or she is a vital component of the hospice team and will be involved in helping to structure your individual plan of care.
Does hospice do anything to shorten or lengthen a patient's life?
Hospices do nothing to either speed up or slow down the dying process. Our hospice team provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the dying process. Hospice works to relieve suffering, control symptoms and enhance quality of life, while remaining sensitive to your personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices.
Is hospice affiliated with any religious organization?
Hospice is a compassionate medical and supportive approach to caring for dying patients. It embraces people of all faiths and spiritual backgrounds. We work with people from all cultural backgrounds in the highly diverse Chicago area.
Where is hospice care provided?
Most hospice care is provided wherever the patient calls home—e.g., private residence, retirement center, assisted living facility, nursing home. Typically a family member or staff of the care facility serves as the primary caregiver. However, hospice care also can be provided in hospitals and dedicated hospice facilities, such as the Marshak Family Hospice Pavilion and Hospice Suite at Northwest Community Hospital.
How do I address concerns or medical issues while caring for a dying loved one at home?
Caring for a dying loved one at home is never easy and often can be quite difficult. Midwest CareCenter is available 24 hours a day for family members or caregivers to call with questions and concerns. If an emergency situation arises, nurses and social services staff will arrange for a visit.
Must someone be with the patient at all times?
If a patient is referred to hospice soon enough, it is usually not necessary for someone to be with a patient at all times. In fact, with their pain and symptoms under control, many patients are able to enjoy activities outside the home. Later, however, as a disease progresses, the need for more frequent and intensive care increases. At that point, we generally recommend that someone be with the patient at all times. Your care team will work with you to help address your concerns and find the best possible care options.
How long can a patient stay in the Marshak Family Hospice Pavilion or Hospice Suite at NCH?
Sometimes pain and symptoms cannot be adequately managed at home, so it becomes necessary for the patient to be admitted to an inpatient setting like our hospice pavilion. The pavilion is staffed and equipped to provide 24-hour medical and supportive care. The length of stay in the pavilion varies because admission is based on medical necessity. The Marshak Family Hospice Pavilion and Hospice Suite at NCH are not long-term care facilities; rather, the ultimate goal is to provide care to relieve the patient’s symptoms and help the patient return home.
Do pain medications prevent patients from being able to talk or know what's happening?
Not often. The goal of hospice is to enhance the quality of the patient's life, and that means keeping patients comfortable and as alert as they desire. Continuous assessment of the patient's condition helps keep pain under control.