Hospice Care

Hospice In Northwest Central Pennsylvania

Hospice Care is a special kind of care that offers comfort and support to individuals who are facing any type of life-limiting illness. Your decision to choose hospice care is important. When you realize there is no cure and you no longer want to seek aggressive treatment, Hospice facilitates a shift to comfort-oriented care that focuses on quality of life.

The fundamental principle of hospice is that each of us has the right to live each day pain free and with dignity. A patient doesn’t have to be bedbound or critically ill to be admitted to hospice. Hospice cares for people of all ages, and it’s not just for those with cancer.

Being on hospice means that with or without this specific program, the outcome of an illness will be the same. But with hospice, a patient and family will have the support of a skilled team of professionals, including nurses, hospice aides, social services, pastoral care, volunteers and physical, speech and occupational therapists.

The hospice team schedules regular visits with patients. A hospice nurse is available on-call 24 hours a day to help family members and others manage symptoms at home.

Aides assist with personal care and comfort measures. Social workers can help with financial concerns and identifying resources. Pastoral care can help with spiritual well-being. This set group, along with therapists who provide help with movement and safety, swallowing and speech, try to keep patients comfortable.

But there is another part of the team that is different than most other programs. Volunteers are the one thing that differentiates hospice from most other medical services.

Hospice Volunteers

Volunteers – upon request of the patient or family – can visit patients. They can help with feeding, preparing easy meals, do a little light dusting or tidying up, or write notes to friends. Some have even mowed grass and planted flowers.

Volunteers can read cards that people have sent, read a book out loud or just sit and visit quietly. Sometimes, just a presence is all that is needed, and it can allow peace of mind for caregivers who may need a few minutes to themselves for appointments or a trip to the store.

All hospice-related visits are scheduled to best meet a patient’s needs.

And hospice is not permanent. If at any time a patient or his or her doctor feels that hospice isn’t right. A patient can also be discharged to accept an aggressive treatment and resume hospice, again any time a patient or doctor feels it is appropriate. Our hospice team has actually helped improve symptoms that our patients were having to the point they were no longer appropriate for hospice.

A patient’s primary care doctor is in charge of the hospice plan of care. The hospice team has resources for him or her, including pharmacists and the hospice medical director. The plan is reviewed by the hospice team on a routine basis, and the hospice medical director is available if a primary care doctor is away.

If a person’s medical needs become unmanageable at home, he or she may be admitted to the hospital or a nursing home for care.

How is hospice paid for? Medicare and most other insurances have a hospice benefit. The hospice team will verify this insurance coverage. Visits from the team are covered as are items related to the diagnosis, such as medications, supplies and equipment.

Some hospice-related items may not be paid for through Medicare and insurance. That is why hospice volunteers have fundraisers.

Hospice Care at Penn Highlands
Penn Highlands Community Nurses provides dignified end of life care for those patients who need comfort.

Penn Highlands Community Nurses

757 Johnsonburg Road
St. Marys PA, 15857
800-841-9397

Upcoming Hospice Care Events

December 20180212:00 AM

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