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When should you have the conversation?

At Hospice of Chattanooga we believe now is the right time to talk about how you want to spend the final weeks and months of life. It important that we make our wishes known, long before we enter a medical crisis and while we still have a voice to express how we want to live.

Having the hospice conversation begins with your physician. Ask your doctor to explain to you the advantages of hospice care compared to aggressive treatments aimed at extending life. Ideally, this discussion should take place annually during your routine wellness exam.

If you are already diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, you should have the hospice conversation each and every time you visit your doctor. Itís important to remain educated on all of your options. We believe there will come a point in time when hospice care is the best choice for you and your family. Hospice is designed to treat the medical, emotional and spiritual needs you and your family will face while helping ensure that this journey is meaningful and free of pain.

Maybe you arenít the person in need of hospice care. Maybe you are visiting this site to learn about hospice care for a loved one. We know this is a sensitive subject to discuss. Be sure to choose the right time and place and plan out your conversation ahead of time. Let the discussion unfold naturally and be flexible. Itís possible you may have to revisit the idea of hospice care again at a different time.

Every moment matters. Not just now, but at the end-of-life, too. Donít wait to make your decision known. Have the hospice conversation with your physician and loved ones today.  

What services do we provide?

At Hospice of Chattanooga our care is family focused. We understand that the end-of-life journey can be demanding and stressful for everyone involved. In addition to meeting the patient’s medical needs, our staff works very hard treat the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient’s loved ones, too. We offer the following services to our hospice families:

  • Regularly scheduled visits to the patients homes by a physician and registered nurse with expertise in end-of-life care.
  • The support of a certified nursed assistant to assist with personal care services like bathing and administering medication.
  • Counseling, guidance and support from a licensed clinical social worker.
  • Spiritual counseling provided by a non-denominational chaplain.
  • Grief support and counseling for loved ones lasting at least 13 months after the hospice patient’s death.
  • Trained volunteers to assist families with errands, light housekeeping, companionship, etc.

In addition to providing hospice or end-of-life care, Hospice of Chattanooga also has a palliative care program. Born from the hospice movement, palliative care is a special program designed for the chronically ill and individuals faced with multiple illnesses. Unlike hospice, patients enrolled in palliative care services are not terminally ill. The goal of palliative care is to help chronically ill individuals maintain their routines and day-to-day life as much as possible. Hospice of Chattanooga has its own palliative care clinic where patients can come and receive care that will manage their pain and symptoms.

In addition to providing hospice and palliative care, Hospice of Chattanooga also has special programs for children facing a life-limiting illness. To learn more about our pediatric and perinatal programs, click here.  

How do you know when hospice care is appropriate?

To be appropriate for hospice care, an individual should have months, rather than years left to live. However, many people misunderstand what hospice care is. They think enrolling in hospice is giving up on life and wait until the very final hours to call the Hospice of Chattanooga care team. We encourage you to take advantage of our services sooner. We need time to do our very best work.

So how do you know if itís time to seek the care of Hospice of Chattanooga? Here are a few of the signs and symptoms that suggest your loved one would benefit from hospice care:

  • Your loved one grows weaker each day.
  • Your loved one is losing physical abilities.
  • Your loved one visits the hospital more frequently and those hospital stays last longer.
  • Your loved one is losing weight quickly.
  • The number of illnesses your loved one faces grows each week and month.
  • What used to be simple is difficultófor example eating, bathing and walking becomes harder and harder to master.

There is one sentence we at Hospice of Chattanooga hear repeated over and over again. Patients and families tell us countless times each year, ďWe wish we had called Hospice of Chattanooga sooner.Ē Donít wait until itís too late to benefit from all the help we can offer you and your loved ones. Call the Hospice of Chattanooga main telephone number (423) 892-4289 today and learn more about the family focused care provided by our agency. You donít have to do it alone.

Why should you choose Hospice of Chattanooga?

You may have already learned that there are many hospice providers, not only across the country, but here locally, too. We know how important it is to choose the best hospice provider for you and your family. Not all hospices are the same and we believe Hospice of Chattanooga provides a higher level of care. Here are the top reasons why we believe Hospice of Chattanooga is the areaís best choice for you and your family at the end-of-life.

  • We have a team of full-time physicians on staff. Some hospice providers have only one physician who volunteers a portion of his or her time to serve as an unpaid medical director for the hospice. Often these volunteer medical directors are limited in the amount of direct care they can provide to hospice patients. At Hospice of Chattanooga we have a team of hospice physicians who work full-time for our organization. They are experienced in dealing with end-of-life issues and make regular scheduled visits to the hospice patientís home. This level of support and expertise at the end-of-life is invaluable.
  • Hospice of Chattanooga offers more than medical support during the end-of-life journey. The end-of-life is a stressful and demanding time for both the terminally-ill patient and the surrounding family members. At Hospice of Chattanooga, you will have a team of chaplains, social workers and other experienced individuals readily available to you. At the end-of-life, soul pain hurts just as much as physical pain. Itís important to resolve emotional and spiritual issues, too.
  • Hospice of Chattanooga has an extensive bereavement and counseling program for grieving family members. Medicare requires that all hospice providers have a licensed clinical social worker on staff to do family counseling. Hospice of Chattanooga goes above and beyond this requirement. We raise money to employ specially trained bereavement counselors who can provide grief support to family members for up to 13 months after the hospice patientís death. This grief support is extensive and often includes individual counseling, support groups, memorial services and other helpful resources.

Where is hospice care provided?

Hospice care is provided in a variety of settings. Ideally, hospice care is provided in the patientís own home environment. The Hospice of Chattanooga care team will travel to the patientís private home to provide care on a regularly set schedule.

There are times, however, when the patient requires around-the-clock care and assistance. Hospice of Chattanooga also treats patients who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Our hospice care team offers an additional layer of support and end-of-life expertise beyond what the assisted living facility or nursing home staff offers.

In some instances patients approaching the end-of-life will experience a high level of pain and need to be admitted into the hospital to get that pain under control. Hospice of Chattanooga also assists patients residing at hospitals in our region. We also have our very own Hospice Care Center, where patients can come and receive 24/7 end-of-life care for as long as needed.

Who pays for hospice care?

Medicare covers the full cost of hospice care for terminally ill individuals who choose the Medicare Hospice Benefit and agree to stop seeking traditional treatments aimed at finding a cure. Most private insurance plans also cover hospice care and reimbursements vary by plan.

As a not-for-profit hospice provider, Hospice of Chattanooga never turns away a terminally-ill individual because of an inability to pay for our services. We rely on support from the community and donations made to The Hospice of Chattanooga Foundation subsidize our non-reimbursed care.

To learn specifics about what Medicare will and will not pay for, click here.

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September 12, 2015 : Healing Hearts Camps for Kids

October 10, 2015 : Healing Hearts Camp for Teens