What is Hospice Care?
The term "hospice" originated in the Middle Ages and at that time referred to a place for travelers or strangers to stop for solace and refreshment before continuing on their journey. Today, "hospice care" is more commonly known as providing care for terminally-ill patients and their families. Hospice of Health First provides that special kind of care for individuals and their families facing an incurable illness.
Hospice of Health First's patients are cared for at home or in a facility (Nursing home, hospital, assisted-living facility, or Hospice House) by a team of specially trained physicians, nurses, Hospice Aides, social workers, chaplains, and specially- trained Hospice Volunteers. Care concentrates on pain control and symptom management so that patients can maximize the quality of their remaining time. Hospice Care is provided for the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs that patients and families experience when dealing with an end-stage illnesses. The focus of hospice care is on the patient as well as the patient's family because the family is in need of special care, too.
Typically, when a physician gives a patient six months or less to live, he or she will advise the patient and his or her closest family members to seek out Hospice assistance. However, there really is no exact answer as every family and patient is unique. Patients are evaluated to ensure they meet the below criteria to receive hospice care. Some families wish they had sought out hospice sooner as it often takes some of the burden off families, allowing them to spend more quality time with their loved one—who generally experiences less pain while in hospice care.
- Are medical treatments for your loved one with an end-stage disease no longer helping or working?
- Has the patient had one or more life-threatening infections during the past six months?
- Have there been multiple trips to the hospital or Emergency Room during the past year?
- Has there been unintentional weight loss and/or decreased food intake in combination with a serious illness?
- Does the patient have difficulty swallowing?
- Has there been a continued decline in the patient's ability to function?
- Has a physician noted that there's no further treatment available for the patient and that care will now focus on providing comfort to relieve symptoms, as opposed to prolonging life?
- Do caregivers need additional support to provide care?
- Is there any expectation for a meaningful recovery?
- Has a physician given the patient a prognosis of six months or less to live?
If your family member is in need of Hospice Care and you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you can contact Hospice of Health First at 321-952-0494 to discuss options for arranging professional Hospice Care.
There are some basic differences between Home Care, Private Duty Nursing, and Hospice. The biggest difference is that Home Care is typically short-term care for transitioning patients from hospital to home. Private Duty Nursing is a longer-term commitment for those needing more consistent, daily care. Hospice provides care for those diagnosed with a terminal illness.
For admission into Hospice of Health First, the following are required:
- Consent and/or referral by the patient's physician.
- The patient must currently reside in Brevard County.
- The patient has been diagnosed as having a life-limiting illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live.
- The patient has an available caregiver to make decisions.
Hospice services are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, most private insurance plans, and/or other managed care systems. While some Hospice providers won't admit patients who do not have insurance coverage for Hospice Care, Hospice of Health First is a not-for-profit organization and will never turn away anyone who cannot afford to pay.
- BCBS - HMO, PPO, NWB, Traditional
- Choice Care PPO
- Christian Care Medi-Share
- Coventry/First Health
- Disney Cruise Lines
- Evolutions HealthCare Systems
- Health First Health Plans
- United HealthCare
The following are direct quotes from anonymous family members who have experienced Hospice of Health First services. Let them tell you about their experiences:
"Prior to my mother's cancer, we had no real knowledge about Hospice. I cannot thank the wonderful, caring, efficient staff enough."
"The staff at the William Childs Hospice House did an exceptional job of not only helping my wife, but making sure the family was comfortable during this time."
"I couldn't have asked for a better team of caregivers or facility. The staff ensured I was kept appraised of my grandfather's health and condition as well as what to expect next—his passing was peaceful and the encouragement we received... was second to none. Thank you so much."
"I want you to know that I could not have asked for a better support team. They kept me well-informed and helped me through some very difficult moments. The nurses and entire staff were comforting and knowledgeable. I loved our caseworker and hope that when my time comes I am treated with the same dignity that my Mom was."
Hospice of Health First
1900 Dairy Road
Melbourne, FL 32904
321-952-0494 (Main number & referrals)
William Childs Hospice House
381 Medplex Parkway
Palm Bay, FL 32905
Bright Star Center for Grieving Children & Families
3661 Babcock Street
Melbourne, FL 32901
Hospice of Health First serves all of Brevard County and is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Patients and families can have peace of mind knowing that when they call Hospice of Health First, a knowledgeable staff member will always answer the phone.
The Hospice patient's plan of care is developed by the Hospice Team to meet the specific needs of each patient and their entire family (as a holistic family unit).
Our interdisciplinary Hospice Team consists of:
Hospice Medical Director —oversees the plan of care for all patients working in coordination with your physician and assists with symptom management, medical management, and home visits.
Attending Physician —always involved in the patient's plan of care in coordination with the Hospice Team.
Registered Nurses (RNs):
- Available 24/7 to address patients' pain and symptom management
- Communicate with the patient's physician and Hospice Medical Director
- Make routine visits and provide continuous careand respite services as needed for each patient
- Involved in advanced care planning, including Advance Directives, funeral planning, insurance eligibility, and transportation
- Supportive counseling available to enhance the patient and family's ability to cope with a life-limiting illness
Home Health Aides
- Provide assistance for activities of daily living and total care for patients
- Provide the patient and family with companionship and respite care as needed
Clergy (Hospice Chaplains)
Volunteer Bereavement Specialists
- Provide Bereavement Care for at least 13 months tailored to the individual and family
- Provide group and individual counseling as needed to deal with loss at no cost
Hospice of Health First
We will keep your loved ones feeling "at home".