What to expect from us (FAQ’s)
Q: What services does River City Hospice offer and what should I expect?
A: River City Hospices’ services are available to patients with terminal diagnosis who no longer benefit from curative treatments and typically have been determined by a physician to have a life expectancy of six months or less.
River City Hospice’s services generally include:
- Regular home care visits by licensed, registered nurses to monitor patients’ condition and provide proper care while maintaining patients’ comfort.
- Physicians are available to aid in the medical direction of patients’ care, provided by a patient’s personal physician or a licensed physician affiliated with River City Hospice.
- Homemaker services and home health aides that will attend to patients’ personal needs
- Chaplain services for both patients and loved ones
- Volunteer support to assist loved ones
- Counseling services
- Bereavement counseling for patients and their loved ones to help with grief and loss
- Proper medications for pain relief and symptom control
- Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy
- Medical equipment and supplies, such as hospital beds, bandages, and catheters
Q: How does care begin at River City Hospice?
A: Hospice care typically begins as soon as a physician refers a patient. River City Hospice strives to visit the patient the same day the referral is made, so long as the visit meets the schedule and needs of both the patient and caregiver. Hospice care is generally ready to start within a day or two of the referral, but in urgent situations, services can begin sooner.
Q: What kind of support is available from River City Hospice for family members/caregivers?
A: We understand that in many cases, family members are patients’ main caregivers. Though, we acknowledge that loved ones also have a need for support services. When your relationship with River City Hospice begins, our staff will want to know the primary caregiver’s priorities to better understand how best support both patients and their family during this time. Naturally, support comes in many different forms, like visiting with patients and family members, regular phone calls to loved ones, despite any distance, to keep them updated on the patient’s condition.
Coupled with this, River City Hospice understands that counseling services for patients and their loved ones are an important part of the hospice experience. Following the patient’s passing, bereavement support for at least one year is offered to families. This support can come in the form of telephone calls, visits, informational materials about grieving, and of course, support groups. Counseling for individuals may be offered or River City Hospice may make a referral to a prominent community resource.
Q: What’s the physician’s role?
A: Knowing the role of the patient’s primary medical practitioner is important once the patient begins receiving care. Generally, River City Hospice patients may have their personal physician involved with their medical care. Our medical director will work closely with the patient’s doctor to better coordinate the medical care they receive, especially if symptoms prove difficult to manage. We believe that physicians’ involvement is important for exceptional hospice care. Naturally, our medical director is always available to answer inquiries regarding medical care in hospice.
Q: What role do volunteers serve?
A: Our volunteers are specially trained to further patients’ quality of life while simultaneously minimizing caregivers’ burdens. Our volunteers are available to help patients and their family members by running errands for them, preparing light meals, doing light housekeeping, as well as giving emotional support to both patients and their loved ones. Since volunteers spend time in patients’ and families’ homes, River City Hospice has rigorous application and interview process, ensuring that only the best and dedicated volunteers are helping our patients. Alongside this, our training programs teach volunteers about the importance of confidentiality, honing listening skills, spotting the signs of an approaching passing, and helping families with their loss and grief once their loved one has passed.
Q: How does River City Hospice keep the patient comfortable?
A: As the illness progresses, patients may begin to experience pain, among other symptoms. Because of this, River City Hospice staff are trained to anticipate, assess, prevent, and treat all kinds of symptoms that cause discomfort. Since pain management is an important part of hospice, we’ve utilized surveys and studies to measure how well we perform. Naturally, our staff also work with patients’ personal doctors to ensure that all medications, therapies, and procedures achieve the goals in patients’ care plans; this care plan is regularly evaluated to reflect new goals and changes.
Q: Is hospice care available after business hours?
A: River City Hospice care is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, even after the administrative offices have closed. We also have nurses ready to respond to patients’ calls within minutes. Coupled with this, we always have social workers and chaplains available.
Q: Can I be cared for by River City Hospice if I’m in a nursing home or long-term care facility?
A: Put simply, yes. River City Hospice will assist patients in nursing homes with visits from our registered, licensed nurses, chaplains, social workers, and dedicated volunteers, all alongside the services the patient’s nursing home provide. Should patients in nursing homes desire our services, the facility and River City Hospice will develop a written agreement to ensure residents can receive hospice services.
Q: What if during my final phase of life I can’t stay at home because of my increasing care needs?
A: If a patient can no longer reside in their private residence, River City Hospice will work with free-standing hospice houses and inpatient centers to care for the patient. It is important to know whether insurance providers cover this type of care and how hospice coordinates payment.
Q: How can I ensure that quality care is provided?
A: We regularly conduct family satisfaction surveys to receive feedback on our performance and programs. Alongside this, we employ and abide by the recommended standards of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to conduct both self- and field-evaluation.
Q: Do federal and state officials evaluate and inspect hospices?
A: There are a number of governmental and professional organizations that review hospice programs to protect patients. These reviews analyze typical hospice practices, policies, procedures, medical records, personal records, and generally incorporate visits with patients and families currently receiving hospice care. While the document is complex, our staff will happily share the survey report with you and answer any questions you may have to ensure that you fully understand everything and receive answers to all your questions.
Q: How do I pay for hospice care?
A: Discussions about payment can be daunting, but they don’t have to be. At River City Hospice, medicare, medicaid and private health insurance covers hospice expenses for eligible patients. There are also co-pays and deductibles that families may be able to receive. It is our tradition to offer services based off patients’ needs, not whether or not they can pay.
Q: When should I ask about hospice services?
A: There is no time better than the present. Even though the final phase of life is difficult to discuss, it is important for family members to discuss this early. Early discussions, while uncomfortable, drastically diminish stress when the time for care comes. By doing this, patients and their loved ones are able to make informed decisions with the guidance of their loved ones.
Have further questions?
Speak to a River City Hospice team member