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Hospice is a philosophy of care for people nearing the end of their lives, where the emphasis is on comfort care rather than curative treatment.

Hospice care combines pain and symptom management with practical and emotional support in the comfort of the patient’s home. Hospice services are also available at area skilled nursing and residential care facilities.

Hospice of Amador & Calaveras Brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Hospice care?

While the primary goal of healthcare is to cure disease, there are times when this is no longer possible. When the focus of care shifts from cure to comfort, hospice offers the expert medical care and human compassion needed by most patients and their families. As pain is relieved and symptoms kept under control, a patient is better able to participate in daily life at home with family and friends

Who qualifies for Hospice care?

A person diagnosed by a licensed physician as having an advanced disease with a life-limited expectancy. Referrals to Hospice of Amador & Calaveras may come from anyone, but the patient's consent and attending physician's authorization are required for admission.

What kinds of illness? Does hospice only care for cancer patients?

Hospice is appropriate for many end-stage terminal diagnoses including cancer, AIDS, ALS, heart disease, respiratory and lung disease and Alzheimer's disease.

What does hospice provide?

Each patient and their family have different expectations of hospice and needs, so what hospice provides can be quite varied. Some of the services we offer include:

  Regular visits from nurses, home health aides, and other Hospice staff
  Consultation visits and timely evaluations and admissions
  Pain relief
  Symptom management
  24-hour, seven-day availability of a hospice nurse, and a physician
  Emotional and spiritual support
  Assistance with practical needs
  Personal care
  Nutritional guidance
  Respite care
  Grief support for 13 months for surviving family members and significant others, including:
Education and support materials
Telephone contact at regular intervals
Specialized support groups for children, adolescents and adults
Visits by Hospice of Amador & Calaveras social workers and/or referral to appropriate
community resources as needed
Memorial services

 How are referrals made?

Normally, the patient’s doctor makes the prognosis that the patient has less than six months to live and refers the family to hospice. If a patient or family feels that hospice would be appropriate, they can contact Hospice of Amador & Calaveras directly at 209-223-5500, and we will consult with their doctor.

What happens after a referral is made?

Once Hospice of Amador & Calaveras obtains an order from the patient's physician for hospice care, a call is made to the family to assess their needs and explain hospice services. An appointment is then made with the patient and family. A nurse visits the patient and family members and provides in-depth information on what can be expected. Once the patient is admitted into hospice care, members of the hospice team (nurse, social worker, home health aid, chaplain and volunteers) schedule visits as needed to make sure the patient is comfortable and the family is supported.

Who pays for hospice care?

Medicare, Medi-Cal, most insurance companies and HMO’s cover hospice care. In addition, Hospice of Amador & Calaveras receives financial support from the community, United Way, proceeds from our thrift stores, fundraisers and individual donations – which allow us to provide care even when the patient cannot pay.

Will someone from hospice be here all the time?

Hospice does not provide routine around-the-clock care. However, Hospice staff teach the caregivers how to care for the patient, and Hospice provides intermittent nursing visits and 24-hour telephone access to nursing staff for information, support and visits if needed. The intensity and frequency of nursing care can be increased, depending on the medical needs of the patient.

Can I keep my personal physician under hospice care?

Hospice of Amador & Calaveras encourages your primary physician to be part of the interdisciplinary team. Hospice supplements rather than replaces your physician. Hospice works with physicians to support patient needs.

When is the right time to call?

If you’re wondering about the right time to begin hospice care, now is the right time to call. So often, we hear families express how they wish they had called sooner. Calling isn’t a commitment, only an opportunity to become educated and better prepared.

Is it true that I can’t have hospice until I am finished with all treatment?

Hospice accepts patients who are receiving, or may receive, palliative or “comfort” treatment. Each patient situation is considered and evaluated on an individual basis by the Hospice team.

The Hospice Team
Hospice of Amador & Calaveras provides services under a plan of care developed by a team of caring professionals and volunteers in conjunction with the desires of the patient and his or her caregiver, and approved by the patient’s physician.

Here are some of the ways the team provides help:

  • Nurses – Coordinate the individualized care plan and provide treatment to help manage pain and symptoms.
  • Medical Director – A doctor who assists in symptom management and is available to consult with the attending physician or other Hospice staff.
  • Social workers – Provide emotional support and counseling to patients and family members and participate in family conferences. They make referrals to community resources and assist with practical, legal and financial matters.
  • Home health aides – Assist with personal care including bathing and light housekeeping services.
  • Chaplain – Assists in identifying spiritual concerns, providing personal support and making referrals to the community of faith.
  • Volunteers – Trained compassionate volunteers provide companionship, transportation and emotional support, and communicate patient and family needs to hospice staff.
  • Grief support staff – Supports the family throughout the first year after the death and offers grief education and support.