Ask the Expert: Hospice

Q. When I need help, what options are available for providing care for someone?
A. If the help you need is due to a health problem, then your first point of contact should be your family physician to evaluate and offer treatment options that may improve your situation.  However, if the help you need is of a social or financial nature, then tapping into your local social and health support agencies may be more appropriate.  A good starting point to narrow down your search to address your specific need is to contact your local hospital social service/case management department such as Ball Memorial Hospital’s Case Management Department.  They can offer advice while working with your family physician and local service agencies to coordinate the care you need.  For further information, do not hesitate to contact Ball Memorial Hospital’s Case Management Department at 747-4456.

Q. What is Hospice?
A. Hospice (and Ball Memorial Hospice in particular!) offers quality, compassionate care for people facing a life-limiting illness and those who love them.  Hospice care involves a team-oriented approach to expert physical, emotional and spiritual support, designed to meet the person’s (and their caregiver’s) needs and wishes. The focus of hospice relies on the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free and with dignity, and that our loved ones will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.

Q. Who qualifies for hospice services?
A. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in most cases care is provided in the person’s home but also is provided in hospitals, and nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.  Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness. Hospice care is covered under Medicare, Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations.

Q. What are Advanced Directives?
A. Legal ways for competent adults to make their choices for health care known in writing before they may lose the ability to decide for themselves;

Indiana law accepts several types of Advance Directives: A Living Will, Appointment of a Health Care Representative, A Power of Attorney for Health Care, and a Life-prolonging procedures declaration.

Having a written Advance Directive is a meaningful step to take to protect your right to choose for yourself- but you also need to talk with your Physician, your family and your care providers about your choices and always give them a copy of your current Advance Directives.

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