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What is Hospice?

Medical Director of Hospice and Palliative Care, Dr. Stuart Vander Heide, answers your questions about Hospice care.

What is Hospice?

Hospice cares for people facing a life-limiting and terminal illness. Hospice provides expert medical care, pain management, as well as emotional and spiritual support for patients, families, and loved ones. Hospice works as a team comprised of nurses, social workers and home health aides to assist in caring for the patient and their family. We also have a strong base of volunteer support, which can assist families with everything from respite care to grocery shopping. Spiritual support is also available to families.

Is Hospice a place?

No!  Hospice services can be provided in your own home, apartment, hospital, assisted living facility, and even in nursing homes.  In addition, some hospice organizations have a Hospice Residence that can be utilized to provide respite or ongoing care.

Is there only one Hospice?

No!  There is a choice among hospice providers.  Hospice organizations may be community-based, faith-based, non-profit, and even national for-profit chains. Selecting the right Hospice service is a very personal choice and should take into consideration things like the credentials of the physicians and care givers, response times, spirituality preferences, and also what kinds of support services there are available for the family, e.g. respite care, bereavement.

Can I still keep my Primary Doctor?

Yes! Your primary doctor can continue to coordinate your medical care while receiving hospice benefits.  In addition, a Hospice Medical Director can work with your primary doctor adding expertise to the care plan.

How much does it cost?

Hospice is a covered benefit!  Hospice services are covered by Medicare and most insurance providers.  Cost should never be an obstacle for receiving hospice care.

When should I call hospice?

If you’re even thinking about calling Hospice, it’s probably time. Make the call. Many people wish they would have called and started hospice services sooner.  Moreover, there is no cost to have a nurse visit you and provide information and guidance regarding hospice care.  Again, if you have a question, call today.

Does North Ottawa Community Hospital have a Hospice?

Yes! In fact, this year Hospice of North Ottawa Community is celebrating 35 years of community-based hospice services, and it is the longest running hospice service along the lakeshore.

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