(949) 723-0585
Fax: (949) 356-7224

image two women talking for patient care

What is Hospice? | Your Hospice Team | The Levels of Hospice Care | What are Hospice Services? | Where is hospice provided?
When should hospice be brought in? | Why should hospice be brought in? | How is hospice paid? | How can our family access hospice care?

Hospice Care

What is Hospice?

Hospice is not a place like a hospital or nursing home, rather it is a philosophy and a service. Hospice is another level of care for a person who is terminally ill.

You and your loved ones have a choice when dealing with chronic illness or a terminal diagnosis. If aggressive treatment or hospitalization is no longer your wish when suffering from qualifying long-term or life-limiting conditions, hospice care provides you the option to approach end-of-life care with comfort, compassion and dignity. Services typically include physical care, counseling, medications, equipment, and supplies for the terminal illness and related conditions. A specially trained team of professionals and caregivers provide care for the “whole person,” including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Hospice is also there to support the patients inner circle (family, friends and caregivers). The care comes to the patient, wherever they call home in their own home, skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility.

Your Hospice Team

Hospice team circle

The Levels of Hospice Care

There are four levels of care provided for hospice services:

  • Home Care
  • Continuous Home Care (CC) sometimes referred to as crises care
  • General In-patient Care (GIP)
  • Respite Care

The four levels of hospice defined by Medicare are routine home care, continuous home care, general inpatient care, and respite care. A hospice patient may experience all four or only one, depending on their needs and wishes.

Hospice Care at Home

Once a patient has accepted hospice care, they will receive routine care aimed at increasing their comfort and quality of life as much as possible. Routine care may include pain management, symptom management, emotional and spiritual counseling for the patient and family, assistance with daily tasks, nutritional services, and therapeutic services. Routine hospice care can be provided wherever you call home (a private home, an assisted living or board and care or a skilled nursing home facility). Care will be based on the patient's needs and tailored specifically to them.

Continuous Hospice Care

Sometimes referred to as crisis care, continuous hospice care may be necessary when a patient experiences a medical crisis or when their symptoms require more intensive management. Round-the-clock nursing or extended periods of nursing support during this kind of medical crisis benefit the patient and the family, allowing caregivers the opportunity to step back from the hands-on care and focus on being with their loved one in a family role.

Inpatient Hospice Care

Inpatient care may be necessary if a patient's symptoms can no longer be managed at home. The goal here is to control severe pain and stabilize symptoms so that the patient can return home, if possible. Some patients may choose to spend their final days in an inpatient center (this is typically a skilled nursing facility that is contracted with the hospice agency).

Respite Care

Inpatient hospice centers also offer respite care for home hospice patients. These occasional, short-term stays can provide a much-needed break for loved ones providing care at home while allowing patients to receive appropriate, round-the-clock symptom management.

Your physician and hospice team will guide you throughout the end-of-life journey, and determine the appropriate level of hospice care for you or your loved one. Across the four levels of hospice care, the philosophy remains the same: to offer whole person, expert medical care and emotional support that respects the unique wishes of the patient. Understanding where and when hospice care is offered is the first step to understanding the choices you or your loved one has when it comes to the end-of-life journey.

What are Hospice Services?

Families who come to Essence Hospice for help receive services customized to their needs. These services can include:

Help with bathing and personal care
Many people feel better after a bath. Shampooed hair that is nicely styled and a good shave or a little makeup can do wonders for self-esteem. Seriously ill individuals, however, are often unable to bathe or groom themselves. Assisting another person in and out of the tub or shower can be physically demanding. When a family member tries to provide this care, they run the risk of injuring the loved one or themselves. Our certified home health aides have been trained to safely move people. Having one of our aides visit two or three times a week to help with bathing and grooming relieves family members of worry and risk. At Essence Hospice, we know there are many things that only family members can provide. By letting our aides help with tasks such as bathing and grooming, family members can focus on spending time with their loved one.

Home visits from your hospice team several times a week

Wherever a patient calls home (a private home, an assisted living or board and care or a skilled nursing home facility), members of our staff come to visit several times each week. A nurse may visit to check on the patient’s condition, answer questions, and recommend changes in medication, diet, equipment, or supplies. Depending on the needs of the patient or family, other visitors may include home health aides, a social worker, a chaplain, and/or a volunteer. These professionals offer important advice and support to family and friends who are delivering day-to-day care.

Management of pain and other difficult symptoms

Our staff is trained in “palliative care,” a branch of medicine that focuses on easing pain and discomfort and providing symptom management. In palliative medicine, “pain” can include physical, emotional and spiritual distress. As a result, our team is holistic in its approach. When our staff feels the best remedy for a patient is a change in medication, we will ask the doctor for a prescription. But other times the remedy may be to change a sleeping position, modify, or simply talk through an emotional issue and gain clarity on a difficult family concern.

Emotional and spiritual support

Serious illness and facing the end of your life or a loved ones brings up many difficult questions, fears, worries and concerns. Essence Hospice staff has received special training to help people address these issues. Our social workers, chaplains or nurses can meet with the patient or the entire family. They can help everyone come to a better understanding of the situation and determine how to meet everyone’s needs with grace and love.

24-hour assistance and advice

Nights and weekends can be intimidating but they don’t have to be. Patients of Essence Hospice and their families are encouraged to call the office 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have licensed professionals available to answer your questions. It is not necessary to wait until morning if your loved one is in pain. You call and we respond. If it’s something we can help with over the phone, great. If not, our staff will come to your home to check the patient, offer recommendations, and make sure you are comfortable with the treatment being suggested.

Patient and family caregiver education

With all the rush and commotion in the doctor’s office, it’s not always easy to remember everything you’ve been told – or even what you wanted to ask. Our nurses are available to answer your questions. In the comfort of your home, our staff can explain the disease and the medical issues that surround it. They understand the day-to-day impact of living with your loved one’s condition: the symptoms, side effects of treatment and progression of the illness. We’re here to help in any way we can. Even in the context of an incurable condition, knowing what to expect helps many patients and families relax and feel less anxious about the process.

Coordination of multiple services

Pharmacies, doctors, equipment suppliers, home visits… it can be mind boggling to juggle all the different services and providers your loved one may need in order to stay comfortable. Our staff will coordinate multiple services so that caregivers can concentrate on their loved one’s daily needs without worrying about paperwork, shopping for providers, arranging for physician orders, etc.

Help for family caregivers

At Essence Hospice, we know that family members, friends and caregivers are valuable members of the caregiving team. Their special connection helps the patient feel comfortable and safe. But we also realize these caregivers are undergoing a very stressful and difficult time. Our goal is to support them, emotionally and physically, so their health is not compromised. Our social workers and chaplains are available to help the family as they process the powerful issues that often arise when a loved one is seriously ill, this is necessary so that family caregivers are able to maintain their own strength and health. We can also arrange for respite care for a patient, to give the caregiver a much-needed break from the demands of caregiving. Respite care may be utilized for a patient when the caregiver has to go out of town overnight or is sick themselves.

Where is hospice provided?

Our staff and volunteers come to the patient’s home, wherever that may be – a private home, an assisted living or board and care or a skilled nursing home facility.

When should hospice be brought in?

If you are the family member, clergy, friend or medical professional of a terminally ill person, we encourage you to contact Essence Hospice. Our staff can offer guidance about how to raise the subject of hospice with someone who may be in need of our care.

The following signs of change in the seriously ill individual may indicate it’s time to call Essence Hospice for an assessment.

  • Inability to complete daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and moving around
  • Appetite change and/or weight loss
  • Changes in skin, including color, sores, and swelling of feet or other parts of the body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased talking
  • Increased confusion
  • Falls
  • Multiple ER Visits

Stress and fatigue in caregivers may also be an indication that it is time to reach out to us. We can help with resources and guidance in determining a proper level of care for your loved one be it Home Health, Palliative Care or Hospice. We are always happy to be a resource to our patients, their families and the community.

For assistance, please contact us at (949) 246-6009.

Why should hospice be brought in?

By transferring much of the patient care and medical oversight to Essence Hospice staff, the patient and their family can focus on their time together.

Experience the comfort and peace that walks through the door with your Essence Hospice team.

Improve quality of life and care

Receive comfort care and symptom management

Reduce stress through financial coverage.

100% of the medications, medical equipment and supplies related to your hospice care will be paid for and delivered to the patient’s home.

Expand the patient’s circle of care through connections to medical, financial, legal and social resources.

Help all to understand the patient’s wishes and help to see that those are fulfilled to the best ability.

Assist the patient and family to prepared and find peace.

Knowing what to expect brings peace of mind and empowers caregivers with confidence to provide end of life care.

How is hospice paid?

Payment for hospice services is covered 100% by Medicare for eligible Medicare beneficiaries

Medical or Cal Optima will typically cover at 100% as well

Many private insurance policies also provide a hospice benefit coverage

How can our family access hospice care?

Anyone can make a referral to Essence Hospice. Patients and families are encouraged to call Essence Hospice directly – whether or not they have a physician referral – to seek advice and information at any time during their illness.

If it appears hospice care would be beneficial, Essence Hospice’s staff will work closely with the appropriate people to help facilitate a referral and admission to our program. Meetings to discuss each patient’s unique needs can be arranged at a time and place that is convenient for family.

For assistance, please contact us at (949) 246-6009.