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Frequently Asked Questions


Good Shepherd Hospice is a unique care program designed to meet the special needs of terminally ill patients and their families. Good Shepherd Hospice is not a facility; instead we provide services wherever the patient lives – at home or in a long-term-care setting. Hospice helps patients and families cope with the physical, emotional, social, financial, and spiritual aspects of a terminal illness. Hospice focuses on controlling physical and emotional pain to assure each patient the greatest level of comfort and dignity possible.

When should the decision about entering a hospice be made?

At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice. The earlier that hospice becomes involved, the more it can do to help make the patient’s final days, weeks, and months as comfortable and satisfying as possible.

Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice or should I raise it?

The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice at any time with their physician. Most physicians know about hospice and will provide honest information about the appropriateness and benefits of the hospice option.

How is patient care paid for?

Hospice is a benefit under Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans.

Can a hospice patient decide to try aggressive treatment?

Yes. A hospice patient can revoke hospice at any time they opt to return to aggressive therapy. Hospice nurses are available 24/7 to provide assistance including assessments and communication with the hospice physician.

How does hospice assure comfort for the patient?

Hospice patients are cared for by a team of physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains and trained volunteers. Each individual provides care based on their area of expertise. Additionally, hospice provides medications, supplies, and equipment needed to care for the patient.

What kind of assistance does hospice provide the family?

The process of dealing with the long, progressive illness of a loved one can be made less complex and more manageable with the support of hospice staff. Hospice team members are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day to provide assistance.

What is the hospice approach to pain management?

Almost all physical pain can be controlled with professional medical care. Our physicians and nurses are up to date on the latest medications and methods for pain and symptom relief. Our chaplains and social workers are available to assist patients and family members with spiritual and emotional pain.

Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what is happening?

The goal of hospice care is to teach the patient and family how to remain symptom free, alert and active throughout the illness; and we typically have very successful results.

How do I sign up for hospice?

Remember – you do have a choice regarding care and treatment of a serious illness for yourself or a loved one. Contact Good Shepherd Hospice for more information on how we can help.

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