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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. It’s 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 aren’t 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. It’s 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. Don’t 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?

Until you are reading this you may have thought all hospice is the same. It is not. In your county there may be as many as six different hospice providers. Hospice of Chattanooga is the only not-for-profit, community-based hospice while the others are operated by for-profit companies.

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 area’s 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. 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 regularly scheduled visits to the hospice patient’s home. This level of support and expertise at the end-of-life is what you want.
  • Hospice of Chattanooga offers more than medical support during the end-of-life journey. It is hard to explain the stressful and demanding time this can be 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. It’s 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 have people trained as bereavement counselors who provide grief support to family members for up to 13 months after the hospice patient’s death. This grief support is extensive and often includes individual counseling, support groups, memorial services and other helpful resources.

REMEMBER to ask for us by name when talking to the doctor, referral nurse or case manager. Say our whole name: Hospice of Chattanooga.

You can be sure you're choosing this area's hospice with the most experience and expertise!

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?

If you or the patient you are concerned about is on the Medicare program, then Medicare will cover the full cost of hospice care. This means the patient understands that they will no longer seek traditional, agressive medical treatments aimed at finding a cure for what is classified as a terminal diagnosis. Please note that this payment does not cover the cost of room and board, so if your loved one will be living in a facility, make sure your nurse or social worker explains what might be out of pocket expenses for you and what Medicare or Medicaid will cover.

Our hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. 

The Hospice Medicare benefit covers all services related to the terminal illness:

  • Medical and nursing care
  • Medications for the patient, delivered where they live
  • Medical equipment and supplies which are delivered to the patient's home or wherever the patient lives
  • Certified nursing assistant for personal care
  • Social services and counseling
  • A Chaplain

As your only 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.

For more detail on what Medicare will and will not pay for, click here.



Upcoming Events

November 30, 2015 : A Brave New World

December 1, 2015 : Living With Your Grief

December 2, 2015 : 1st Wednesday Support Group

December 2, 2015 : A Brave New World

December 3, 2015 : Healing Hearts Family Night

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