When should I consider hospice, and who should make that decision?

It is appropriate to discuss all care options at any point after a life-limiting illness diagnosis. The decision is ultimately yours. Most people are not comfortable with the idea of stopping aggressive treatments to fight the disease. Shepherd’s Cove Hospice staff are sensitive to this and always ready to discuss your concerns and whether or not hospice is the best option for you.

Will I be able to make my own decisions?

Definitely. You are in charge of your own care.

When should I talk to my physician about hospice care?

You and your family should feel free to talk to your doctor about hospice care any time. More information about hospice is available from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association, the National Hospice Helpline (1-800-658-8898), the American Cancer Society, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Social Security Administration. Your physician can also contact SCH directly for more information at 256-891-7724.

What happens during a hospice admission?

You must legally have a physician’s order to be admitted to a hospice program. So SCH will first contact your doctor to make sure the doctor agrees that hospice care is appropriate for you. If you do not have a physician, we have medical staff available to help. Then SCH staff will visit with you and your caregiver/family to sign formal paperwork. This includes a consent, insurance forms, and a hospice election form. The hospice election form ensures you understand hospice care focuses on pain relief and symptom management, rather than curing the disease, and outlines services available.

Does hospice require a Do Not Resuscitate order?

No. A DNR is not required. It is your right to choose our advance directives. We will review all options with you.

Can I still use my regular doctor?

Absolutely. SCH will work with your primary care physician to coordinate and manage your care.

Can a hospice patient ever return to regular medical treatment?

Yes. If a patient’s condition improves and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can actually “graduate” from hospice care and return to aggressive therapies or simply move on with life. If a patient needs to return to hospice care down the road, the option is always available. A patient can choose to revoke hospice at any time for any reason.

What happens if I outlive the prognosis?

SCH will continue to provide the same care as long as you are certified by a physician to be hospice eligible. As long as you are in our service, we will follow your plan of care.