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How can I be sure quality hospice care is provided?


How can I be sure that quality hospice care is provided?

Many hospices use tools to let them see how well they are doing in relation to quality hospice standards.  In addition, most programs use family satisfaction surveys to get feedback on the performance of their programs.  To help hospice programs in making sure they give quality care and service, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has developed recommended standards entitled ‘Standards of Practice for Hospice Programs’ as one way of ensuring quality.

There are also voluntary accreditation organizations that evaluate hospice programs to protect consumers.  These organizations survey hospices to see whether they are providing care that meets defined quality standards.  These reviews consider the customary practices of the hospice, such as policies and procedures, medical records, personal records, evaluation studies, and in many cases also include visits to patients and families currently under care of that hospice program.  A hospice program may volunteer to obtain accreditation from one of these organizations.

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio we offer a variety of hospice care options based on your individual needs. From in-home or continuous care needs to Palliative Care services, you can be confident the team as Hospice of Southwest Ohio will take great care of your loved one.

Ready to get started? Click the Getting Started link in the upper right hand corner or learn more about our organization.



Can I be cared for by hospice somewhere else?


Can I be cared for by hospice if I reside in a nursing facility or other type of long-term care facility?

Hospice services can be provided to a terminally ill person wherever they live.  This means a patient living in a nursing facility or long-term care facility can receive specialized visits from hospice nurses, home health aides, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers, in addition to other care and services provided by the nursing facility.  The hospice and the nursing home will have a written agreement in place in order for the hospice to serve residents of the facility.

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio we offer a variety of hospice care options based on your individual needs. From in-home or continuous care needs to Palliative Care services, you can be confident the team as Hospice of Southwest Ohio will take great care of your loved one.

Ready to get started? Click the Getting Started link in the upper right hand corner or learn more about our organization.



What role does a hospice volunteer serve?


What role does the hospice volunteer serve?
Hospice volunteers are generally available to provide different types of support to patients and their loved ones including running errands, preparing light meals, staying with a patient to give family members a break, and lending emotional support and companionship to patients and family members.

Because hospice volunteers spend time in patients’ and families’ homes, each hospice program generally has an application and interview process to assure the person is right for this type of volunteer work.  In addition, hospice programs have an organized training program for their patient care volunteers.  Areas covered by these training programs often include understanding hospice, confidentiality, working with families, listening skills, signs and symptoms of approaching death, loss and grief and bereavement support.

We are so thankful the many volunteers who spend their time with those we care for! If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with our organization, visit our Volunteer Page to learn how you can get involved.

we offer a variety of hospice care options based on your individual needs. From in-home or continuous care needs to Palliative Care services, you can be confident the team as Hospice of Southwest Ohio will take great care of your loved one.

Ready to get started? Click the Getting Started link in the upper right hand corner or learn more about our organization.



How does hospice keep the patient comfortable?


How does the hospice work to keep the patient comfortable?
Many patients may have pain and other serious symptoms as illness progresses. Our Hospice staff receive special training to care for all types of physical and emotional symptoms that cause pain, discomfort and distress.  Because keeping the patient comfortable and pain-free is an important part of hospice care, many hospice programs have developed ways to measure how comfortable the patient is during the course of their stay in hospice.  Hospice staff works with the patient’s physician to make sure that medication, therapies, and procedures are designed to achieve the goals outlined in the patient’s care plan.  The care plan is reviewed frequently to make sure any changes and new goals are in the plan.

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio we offer a variety of hospice care options based on your individual needs. From in-home or continuous care needs to Palliative Care services, you can be confident the team as Hospice of Southwest Ohio will take great care of your loved one.

Ready to get started? Click the Getting Started link in the upper right hand corner or learn more about our organization.



Will I be the only patient served?


Will I be the only hospice patient that the hospice staff serves?
Every hospice patient has access to a hospice volunteer, registered nurse, social worker, home health aide, and chaplain (also known as the interdisciplinary team).  For each patient and family, the interdisciplinary team writes a care plan with the patient/family that is used to make sure the patient and family receive the care they need from the team.  Typically, full-time registered nurses provide care to about a dozen different families.  Social workers usually work with about twice the number of patients/families as nurses.  If needed, home health aides, who provide personal care to the patient, will visit most frequently.

All visits, however, are based on the patient and family needs as described in the care plan and the condition of the patient during the course of illness.  The frequency of volunteers and spiritual care is often dependent upon the family request and the availability of these services.  Travel requirements and other factors may cause some variation in how many patients each hospice staff serves.

Click here to learn more about the HSWO team focused on serving our patients and their families.



How Does Hospice Care Begin?


How does hospice care begin?
Typically, hospice care starts as soon as a formal request or a ‘referral’ that is made by the patient’s doctor.  Often a hospice program representative from HSWO will make an effort to visit the patient within 48 hours of that referral, providing the visit meets the needs and schedule of the patient and family/primary caregiver.  Usually, hospice care is ready to begin within a day or two of the referral.  However, in urgent situations, hospice services may begin sooner.

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio we offer a variety of hospice care options based on your individual needs. From in-home or continuous care needs to Palliative Care services, you can be confident the team as Hospice of Southwest Ohio will take great care of your loved one.

Ready to get started? Click the Getting Started link in the upper right hand corner or learn more about our organization.



A Christmas Message


To our valued staff, volunteers, friends and partners ~~
Another year has swiftly passed and this brings us to the brink of a new
year – a year that will bring significant challenges, to which we will, no
doubt, rise above. This year has shown that despite the enormity of the
challenges facing us as part of the health care reform, we are resilient
and will remain so.

During this special season, the lives of millions of Americans will be
filled with the spirit of giving, the importance of family and friends, and
a sense of healing, renewal and new opportunity. That spirit lives year-round
in every kind of community in every corner of the country.

The holiday season takes on added meaning for all Americans, and none
more than the men and women who serve in the Military. We know that
holidays are especially tough for their families. Please hold these
families in your thoughts and prayers.

To our loyal friends and partners, a big THANK YOU for contributing
to our accomplishments during 2016. We look forward to continuing and
developing our relationship with you in 2017.

To the Hospice of Southwest Ohio and CareBridge Palliative Care teams,
thank you for being part of this dynamic organization, you are the
BEST!!! Fortunately, our caregivers possess the skills, care and
compassion that make up for more than the challenges ahead. For that,
all of us can be truly thankful.

So, in keeping with the spirit of the season I reflect on the many gifts our
organization provides to our partners, families and the community
every day ~~ I express my pride and gratitude to those I work with …the
people who make the mission and values of Hospice of Southwest Ohio
and CareBridge Palliative Care a reality … I want to be sure to express
the same pride and gratitude to the communities we serve and our loyal
friends, volunteers and partners that sustains us in so many ways.
Along with my staff, I want to use this opportunity to wish you, your
families and staff a Blessed Festive Season and a prosperous New Year.
May these days be filled with joy, peace and hope for the New Year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

david-walsh
David P. Walsh, CEO
Hospice of Southwest Ohio &
CareBridge Palliative Care
7625 Camargo Road
Cincinnati, OH 45243
(513) 770-0820



Does Morphine Make Death Come Sooner?


It’s commonly known that morphine and related medications are used in palliative and hospice care and we’re often asked about their role in the dying process. Morphine and other medications in the morphine family, such as hydromorphone, codeine and fentanyl, are called opioids and may be used to control pain or shortness of breath throughout an illness or at the end of life. A patient’s doctor may prescribe morphine if the person is experiencing moderate to severe pain or shortness of breath, which helps maintain a level of comfort up to the time of death.

When a patient is receiving regular pain medication such as morphine in the final hours or days of life, there is always a “last dose”. To family at the bedside, it may seem like the drug caused or contributed to the death, especially if death occurs within a few minutes. However, this dose does not actually cause the person’s dying. It is simply the last medication given in the minutes or hours before the death naturally occurs.

We know that morphine and other opioids are not a factor in the death of a person with advanced illness. The following information explains why:

1. There is no evidence that supports the idea that opioids speed up the dying process when the patient receives the right dose. In fact, research suggests that using opioids to treat pain or shortness of breath near the end of life may actually help a person live a bit longer. Pain and shortness of breath are exhausting, and people nearing the end of life have limited strength and energy. So, it makes sense that treating these symptoms might slow down the rate of decline, if only for a few hours.

2. If a person has never received morphine, the initial doses given are low and are gradually increased to relieve the person’s level of pain or shortness of breath. After a few days of regular doses, the body will adjust and the patient becomes less likely to be affected by the side effects. It would take a much larger dose increase over a short time frame to harm someone.

3. The last dose is the same as the doses the patient has previously received and tolerated. The way the medication is given might change when someone can’t swallow any longer. If the medication needs to be given by a different route, the dose is calculated to equal the amount previously given by mouth.

4. There’s a difference between natural dying and dying from too much morphine. When someone has received too much morphine they typically can not be woken up. The person’s breathing becomes very slow and regular. Sometimes only one or two breaths are taken in a minute and they’ll appear calm and comfortable.

Bottom line, morphine and related medications often play an important role in maintaining the person’s comfort throughout an illness and the dying process, but are never utilized as means to bring about death.



When is the Right Time For Hospice?


Now is always the best time to learn more about hospice and ask questions about what to expect from hospice services.  Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern.  This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice is needed.  By having these discussions in advance, patients are not forced into uncomfortable situations.  Instead, patients can make an educated decision that includes the advice and input of family members and loved ones.

voice-your-choice-logo

At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we believe you deserve to “Voice Your Choice” when it comes to end-of-life care. Through our Voice Your Choice program, we encourage you to talk with your family and loved ones about your wishes. Our program provides educational resources to help you start the conversation and walk you through the process.

Click here for more information about our Voice Your Choice program.



Hospice of Southwest Ohio Chaplain Tracy Paul Downs receives the Award of Excellence


Tracy Paul

The Ohio Council for Home Care and Hospice (OCHCH) presented the Award of Excellence in Hospice to Chaplain Tracy Paul Downs for her more than 10 years of service to the patients, family members and staff at Hospice of Southwest Ohio.

If you ask patients and families about their experiences with Chaplain Tracy Paul Downs, MA Pastoral Care, during this journey of life, they would all positively reflect on the care, compassion, courage, strength, hope and love she provides each and every person she touches.

Read more.



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At Hospice of Southwest Ohio, we are dedicated to providing quality comfort care and support in meeting the medical, emotional, spiritual and psychological needs of our patients, families, caregivers, staff and community in a way that affirms life and supports choices in an environment of dignity and respect. HSWO’s caring employees and volunteers are empowered to fulfill this vision…with every patient…every day.


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