Hospice care is recognized as a specialized modality of care for the terminally ill. It is based on a philosophy of care, not on the place of residency of the patient. Over the past few decades, with the resurgence of home-based care, patients and families are choosing to remain in the familiar surrounding near to loved ones who provide care and comfort. However, many of those eligible for hospice care reside in nursing homes or long term care facilities.
Penn Wissahickon Hospice provides services to residents of long term care facilities when that facility is considered the eligible individual's home residence. The hospice and the nursing facility agree upon a coordinated plan of care that reflects the hospice philosophy of enhancing quality of life thorough expert pain and symptom management.
Penn Wissahickon Hospice provides an interdisciplinary team approach to support and enhance end-of-life care provided in the nursing facility. The team works closely with the patient's own physician. It consists of a medical director, a registered nurse, a social worker, a chaplain, a volunteer, a home health aide, a pharmacist, and if needed, therapists. All aspects of care related to the hospice diagnosis are covered including:
The facility staff is in a unique role of functioning as the patient's own extended family and also as a member of the hospice team. Hospice bereavement services are extended to the family and staff who cared for the patient.
Eligibility requirements for residents of a nursing facility are the same as for patients living in their own home who desire a focus on comfort and palliation of symptoms rather than curative approaches. If eligible, services are financed under Medicare Part A, or Medicaid, or private insurance. Patients residing in a skilled nursing facility using their Medicare Part A Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) benefit are not eligible for both SNF coverage and hospice. Patients and their families must choose which of the Medicare Part A benefits will be of most value.