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We’re here to walk alongside you, providing guidance and support…

Deciding whether hospice care is right for you or a loved one can come with questions, concerns, and a range of emotions. We understand that you may have to do it alone or with other family members, both of which can feel overwhelming. We’re here to provide information and support on every step of the journey. Read below for more information about what hospice is, how it can help you, and how to choose the right program for you.

Starting the conversation.

Deciding whether or not to receive end-of-life care is specific to everyone and may have different variables for each person. There are questions both the patient and their families will want to discuss together.

Once you start hospice care, you cannot change your mind or un-enroll.
Patients are free to leave hospice at any time, for any reason. They may also re-enroll in hospice, as long as they meet eligibility criteria.

Because this conversation can be uncomfortable, it is often avoided until the patient is too sick or unable to participate. This often leaves others to make such important decisions, which adds stress towards making the best choice for their loved ones.

Hospice is a place you go to die.
Hospice is a method of care delivered wherever a patient resides.

Family members may have different opinions about end-of-life care and may see hospice as betrayal or giving up, when in reality hospice is here to help them live each day to its fullest, maintain their dignity, and offer comfort. Some may also feel unprepared to care for their loved one at home, but a hospice team is available to help within their homes as well.

What is hospice?

In order to make an informed decision, it’s important to first understand what hospice really is.

Hospice is a service, not a place. Hospice is for anyone who has a life-limiting illness and has been given a six-month prognosis. It is for those seeking comfort care, not curative care and is based on the firm belief that the end of life deserves as much beauty and respect as the beginning.

Entering hospice care means giving up hope.
You’re not choosing to die; you’re choosing to live the last chapter of your life with the highest quality of life possible, for as long as possible.

Hospice is more than just medical care. Patients and their loved ones are supported by a dedicated interdisciplinary team including physicians, registered nurses, social workers, hospice aides, chaplains, community volunteers, and bereavement specialists. It gives patients the freedom to choose the support they need, and patients may opt to stop receiving hospice care at any time. It also places just as much emphasis on family members and caregivers as it does on the patient.

Hospice is not expensive. Less than one percent of patients at Hospice of the Piedmont pay for care, and no one is turned away due to inability to pay.

Why choose hospice care?

Hospice care isn’t always a simple choice, but many people have found it’s the right choice for them.

Many patients nearing the end of life value comfort rather than extensive efforts for an improbable cure. Hospice allows them to focus on quality time with loved ones, have control over how and where they choose to receive care, and place emphasis on the spiritual and emotional aspects of dying. In fact, reports show 90 percent of adults would prefer to die at home, free of pain, surrounded by loved ones. Hospice is designed to respect that wish.

Enrolling in hospice means death is imminent.
Some studies have shown that patients, on average, live longer on hospice than when pursuing curative care. Many of our patients have been in our care for months, some for years.

Seeking comfort rather than a cure doesn’t mean that care is ever withheld from patients. Hospice caregivers are trained to control many symptoms that may cause pain or fear. This provides for a better quality of life during a patient’s final chapter, especially when they’ve previously been hospitalized and in emergency rooms.

Hospice care also helps those affected by loss. Most types of healthcare only focus on the patient, but hospice supports the entire family. Caregivers and loved ones receive grief support, spiritual and social assistance training, or even help caring for the patient.

It’s an empowering feeling to be given options at the end of life, to be able to make our own decisions, and to know that our personal wishes will be carried out.

Important factors to make your decision.

If you have a life-limiting medical condition and have been given a prognosis of six months or less, the following questions can help you make this decision:

  • When would you want aggressive curative treatment, and when would you want care focused more on comfort and quality of life?
  • What are your greatest fears when thinking about the final phases of your life?
  • What do you hope your end of life journey will be like?
  • Who will provide care for your family once you are gone?
  • Will there be financial burdens?
Entering hospice care means giving up hope.
You’re not choosing to die; you’re choosing to live the last chapter of your life with the highest quality of life possible, for as long as possible.

If you are a caregiver making decisions for a loved one, some questions you may ask yourself include:

  • If my loved one understood what is happening now, what goal would make sense to them?
  • Despite good medical care, has my loved one’s symptoms and overall condition progressed to a point that it cannot be adequately controlled?
  • What therapies would she/he consider beneficial or not worth doing?
  • If a cure is not possible, are there things they would want to avoid or attempt to minimize, such as pain and suffering?
  • Would my loved one believe that the side effects of medical treatments outweigh the benefits?
  • Has my loved one endured multiple hospitalizations, emergency department visits, or frequent use of other healthcare services that cause stress or discomfort?
  • Do I understand enough about the benefits of hospice care to help me make the best decision for my loved one?

Why do people choose Hospice of the Piedmont?

As one of the few non-profit hospices in the area, we offer a wider range of services than most for-profit hospice organizations. We do so by reallocating any funds back into services for our patients. More central Virginians choose Hospice of the Piedmont than all other hospices combined, and we believe our expansive services play a large part in that choice.

  • We’re here to serve our community. Our bereavement services are available to anyone, at no cost, whether they were a part of any hospice program or not.
  • We’ve excelled in providing care for over 40 years with a greater depth of experience than any other hospice in the area.
  • Our Center for Grief and Healing offers extensive bereavement services.
  • Our Center for Children provides supportive care through expressive arts and therapies for children and teens who have been affected by loss.
  • Our Center for Acute Hospice Care is a 10-bed in-patient unit, open to those qualified with more serious medical needs.
  • Our Hospice House is an 8-bed unit for patients who don’t have the support they need at home but are able to reside in a home-like setting.
  • The We Honor Veterans program provides care for the unique needs of veterans. We’re proud to be one of few hospices with a 4-star rating in this program.
  • We provide educational support for caregivers and put emphasis on exceptional training so that they have everything they need.
All hospice organizations are the same – owned and operated by the same parent company.
Hospice organizations are NOT all the same; many are for-profit organizations, whereas our nonprofit status allows us to offer more to our patients and families.
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