Hospice is a special kind of care for people facing life-limiting illnesses. An interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers provide pain control, symptom management, psychological and spiritual support for the patient. Hospice also includes support and assistance to the patient’s family. Hospice care can be delivered at home or in a comfortable inpatient care center, enabling families to remain together in peace, comfort and dignity.
Anyone can refer a patient to Catholic Hospice.
To be admitted, a patient must:
- Have an incurable disease with a life expectancy of six months or less, as certified by a physician. Catholic Hospice serves patients with all diagnoses, including: AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Cardiac Disease, Congenital Disorders, Gastro-Intestinal Disease, Hematologic Disorders, Neurological Disorders and Renal Disease.
- Agree to treatment aimed at comfort rather than cure.
- Live in Miami-Dade, Broward or Monroe County at the time of service.
Hospice provides palliative care, which is a specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. Palliative care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Where palliative care programs and hospice care programs differ greatly is in the care location, timing, payment and eligibility for services. In hospice care, you must generally be considered to be terminal or within six months of death to be eligible for most hospice programs or to receive hospice benefits from your insurance. For palliative care, there are no time restrictions. Palliative care can be received by patients at any time, at any stage of illness whether it be terminal or not. Catholic Health Services offers Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation services, which include palliative care for those with short-term or long-term care needs.
Since there are no time limits on when you can receive palliative care, it acts to fill the gap for patients who want and need comfort at any stage of any disease, whether terminal or chronic. In a palliative care program, there is no expectation that life-prolonging therapies will be avoided.
Medicare-certified hospices typically provide nursing care, social services, physician services, counseling services (including spiritual and dietary), home care aides, bereavement services, physical and occupational therapies and speech-language pathology services. Short term, in-patient care (for respite, pain control, and symptom management), continuous care in the home, and medical equipment and supplies (including drugs and biologicals) are also available. Additional services can be offered. Therefore, the range of hospice services may vary from program to program. Care is structured to keep families together in the least restrictive environment possible.
Learn more about Catholic Hospice’s services and programs.
- Hospice care is a cost-effective, preferred alternative to the services provided in hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutional settings.
- Hospice treats the person, instead of the disease; focuses on the patient and family, instead of just the patient’s condition. Hospice focuses on extending the quality of life, instead of its duration.
- Hospice uses the combined knowledge and skills of an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including physicians, nurses, home care aides, social workers, spiritual caregivers, counselors, and volunteers.
- Catholic Hospice spends more time with the patient and their loved ones than any other hospice provider in Broward County.
Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance and managed care plans. Hospices heavily rely on grants and community support to fund services for patients with little or no insurance. Catholic Hospice raises funds for indigent patients who have no insurance or whose insurance does not cover all costs of care.
A health care advance directive is a written or oral statement made and witnessed in advance of serious illness or injury to address medical situations that may arise when a person becomes unable to make one’s own decisions. Executing an advance directive exercises good stewardship over the gift of life.
There are two forms of advance directives: the designation of health care surrogate, which authorizes a person to make decisions for the incapacitated patient, and the living will, which gives instructions to physicians and caregivers regarding medical care and treatment at the end of life. The Catholic Declaration on Life and Death merges both forms into one directive.
Every adult, 18 years of age and older, should designate in writing at least one health care surrogate to assist them in reviewing treatment options for an unexpected health crisis.
The health care surrogate should be chosen carefully as someone who will represent the patient’s wishes regarding medical care and treatment or act in the patient’s best interest if those wishes are unknown.
The Catholic Declaration on Life and Death is a health care advance directive for Florida’s Catholics and is approved by the Bishops of Florida. This directive conforms to both Florida law and the teaching of the Church. Designating a health care surrogate and providing guidance for end-of-life decisions is the best way to ensure that morally acceptable procedures are followed if you become incapacitated or unable to express your own wishes in the event of a medical emergency.
For more information on Advance Directives, please read on: Understanding The Catholic Declaration on Life and Death