Hospice

Hospice is not about giving up hope. It’s about changing what you hope for. In this time of need, when you or a loved one is approaching the end of life, your hopes can focus on what truly matters. This includes making sure the patient is pain free and comfortable, and that family members have the support they need.

The Mercy Hospice team provides specialized care and comfort for those whose life expectancy is six months or less, and when treatments to cure a condition or prolong life are no longer being pursued.

When this time comes, the Mercy Hospice team will create a warm and compassionate setting where patients can be among family and friends – with a focus on promoting the quality of life for all. This setting can be wherever you call home:

  • A home and apartment
  • Nursing home
  • Assisted living facility
  • Independent care facility
  • Hospital

Mercy Hospice Services

We strive to serve everyone with dignity and care that addresses the body, as well as the mind and spirit. With a focus on making the transition to hospice care smooth, easy and complete, we:

  • Provide medical equipment, supplies and medication related to the hospice diagnosis.
  • Offer specialized dementia and cardiac hospice programs, and we are a partner in the “We Honor Veterans” program.
  • Ease symptoms with effective pain management techniques.
  • Offer spiritual and emotional aid to patients and their loved ones.
  • Provide 24/7 on-call service to patients and families.
  • Coordinate short-term hospitalization for the treatment of acute symptoms.
  • Utilize specially trained volunteers for companionship and support
  • Provide respite care and relief for caregivers.
  • Utilize complementary therapies for comfort, symptom and pain management, including massage, aromatherapy, pet and music therapy.

Personalized support continues through visits, phone calls, grief support groups and individual meetings. In addition, our bereavement professionals help families and friends prepare and embrace life without their loved ones. Bereavement care is available to family and friends for up to a year following the loss of a loved one.

What Makes Mercy Hospice Special

Mercy is non-profit, faith-based. Tending to the spiritual needs of patients and families is not a secondary service, but a primary focus of our care.

Guided by our Christian mission, we make sure patients have the care they need, regardless of their financial situation. As needed, we have access to the Mercy Foundation for funds to help cover certain patient and family needs and expenses.

A Team Approach to Hospice Care

Mercy hospice care is a delivered by a team of medical and support professionals who develop a personalized care plan for each patient. This team includes a medical director, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, chaplains and volunteers.

Care is highly coordinated and all team members have access to the same electronic health record. They always know the current status of the patient.

And as needed, patients and families have easy and coordinated access to a rich network of Mercy physicians and services.

When the time comes for end of life care, Mercy will be at your side. You can rest assure that that your hopes and needs will receive all the loving attention possible.

Learn More About Hospice Care

Free online education program.

What Makes Mercy Hospice Special?

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Myths About Hospice

Many of us may need hospice services someday – if not for ourselves, for our loved ones. Hospice has been shown to be one of the best options in the last months of life because it offers a wide variety of benefits, not only for those who are dying, but for their loved ones. Despite its many advantages, hospice is often misunderstood, and many myths exist about what it is and who needs it.

Myth #1 - Only patients with cancer can receive hospice care.

Patients have many diagnoses, such as congestive heart failure, dementia, and neuromuscular diseases. Only about half of the patients in hospice have cancer.

Myth #2 - Hospice is a place.

Hospice is not a place. Hospice is a philosophy that allows most people to stay in their familiar surrounding at the end of life.

Hospice moves into your home to be the caregiver. Hospice staff is available for assistance or visits 24 hours a day and will help families make arrangements for caregivers as needed.

Myth #3 - Hospice means a patient has six or less months to live.

Patients receive hospice benefits based on the following criteria: health is declining, and death could occur within six months or less.

Patients can’t have hospice if they live in an extended care facility. Hospice complements the care in the extended care facility. Professional expertise in end-of-life care is provided to patients, family and the facility staff.

Myth #4 - Patients are taken off all their medications.

Patients are not taken off all their medications. The benefit of each medication is carefully evaluated and with help of the physician, the hospice team will manage the pain and symptoms with the appropriate medications and treatments.

Myth #5 - Hospice is just for people close to death, within days or hours.

Patients and families who choose hospice sooner are better prepared and know what to expect at the end of life.

Myth #6 - Hospice patients can’t call 911 or receive emergency services.

Hospice staff educates patients and their families about their choices for emergency care. Mercy Hospice care can lower re-hospitalizations.

Myth #7 - People die sooner with hospice services.

Many patients live longer than expected because they have the support of hospice services. Hospice care doesn’t hasten death.

Myth #8 - Hospice is for people who have given up hope.

Hospice is not about giving up hope, it’s changing what you hope for. The hospice team can help the patient and family focus on what truly matters to them.

Determining When It's Time For Hospice

When a terminal illness has been diagnosed (life expectancy less than six months), and cure-oriented treatment is no longer being pursued, hospice is an option. Determining when to turn to hospice is never an easy decision.

Hospice does not take away hope, it changes what you hope for:

  • Hope to be pain free and comfortable.
  • Hope that your family will be supported.
  • Hope to enjoy things and people you love.
  • Hope to get your affairs in order.

 What are some signs that you and your family are ready for hospice?

  • You and/or your family, desires only comfort measures be given.
  • You no longer desire to be hospitalized or treated in the emergency room.
  • You, or your family, have noted that you have lost weight and have had a decrease in appetite.
  • You have been admitted to the hospital frequently for symptom management.
  • You are not “bouncing back” to usual level of function after repeated illnesses.
  • Your physician feels that there is no further medical treatment available.

Will our doctor tell us when it’s time for Hospice?

Sometimes your doctor is the first to mention Hospice. Other times, you or your family seek information. Hospice is not giving up hope. Hospice is all about living as fully as you can. It is important that you and your doctor talk openly and share the same goals for maintaining quality of life. Hospice is an option for comfort and care, which in many cases may actually lengthen life and increases the quality of the time remaining. Patients and families can benefit most from Hospice care when they seek support earlier rather than in a crisis.

What are some signs that our family could benefit from Hospice?

  • You, or your caregivers, are physically and/or emotionally exhausted from provided care.
  • Your family is feeling isolated because of care-giving demands or the uncertainties of what is to come.
  • You or your family begin to feel overwhelmed physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually due to your illness.
  • You or members of your family need emotional support to cope with the situation.

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