Hospice

The Northern Light staff were professional, thoughtful and knowledgeable about what they were doing. They all spent time with Judy to get to know her and understand what she was going through. They really wanted to know [my wife], and make her feel comfortable. 

– Brad, Northern Light Hospice client

It’s never easy to start a conversation about death but if you are facing a terminal diagnosis or if you are thinking about stopping curative treatments, it is time to learn more about the support services offered by Northern Light’s Hospice program.

Hospice services help those with a terminal diagnosis stay in their home, surrounded by family and friends.

Our hospice program provides compassionate end of life care and support in your home.  Our team works in partnership with patients and their families to coordinate a continuum of care based on patients’ unique needs and wishes.

Hospice is a holistic approach to health care for those with a life limiting illness.  The goal of hospice is not to cure illness but to alleviate pain, control symptoms, focus on quality of remaining life and provide spiritual, social, and emotional support for patent and family.

Northern Light’s hospice care focuses on comfort and symptom management. Our team is comprised of patient physician, medical directors, nurses, social workers, home health aides, chaplains, trained volunteers, and bereavement counselors.  Physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as wound care specialists, are available as needed. These are some of the ways that Hospice can help:

  • Managing physical symptoms

  • Offering emotional support to individuals and their families

  • Providing information about changes one might experience as the illness progresses

  • Guiding families in giving care and support to their loved one

  • Preventing hospitalizations with a hospice nurse available any time, day or night

  • Making bereavement support available to families in a variety of ways

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When an individual begins to experience a decline in regular self-care capabilities or other life-limiting symptoms, their doctor may suggest they consider hospice care. Once the doctor determines that the path of curative treatments is no longer appropriate and estimates life expectancy to be six months or less based on the Medicare Hospice Criteria, referrals can be made for hospice services.  While an individual must have a doctor’s referral to receive hospice care, they, or a family member, can call us without a referral to talk about options and to initiate the process.

People of any age, with any of the following illnesses, may be appropriate for a hospice referral if eligibility criteria are met:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Stroke or coma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia
  • Heart disease, such as Congestive heart failure or Coronary artery disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease, such as COPD or Pulmonary fibrosis
  • General decline in condition due to age or multiple health conditions

This list does not cover every condition however if there are any questions regarding eligibility or how we might offer Hospice care and support, please contact Northern Light Home Care & Hospice.

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When patients need pain control or other symptom management, an inpatient hospice facility can provide services that allow patients to receive quality comfort care during the end-of-life stages. Designed to be short term, patients will achieve comfort and return home or have a supported end of life experience.

Hospice trained clinicians are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week to work with physicians, care coordinators and discharge planners to:

  • Gather information on patients and family members
  • Evaluate for admission
  • Coordinate paperwork, orders, and transfers

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Studies show early engagement of hospice can extend and improve quality of life.

Anyone coping with a terminal diagnosis is welcome to inquire about Northern Light’s hospice programs at any point. We care for patients with a variety of illnesses including, Cancer, ALS, Heart Disease, COPD, Alzheimer’s, Liver Disease and more. You do not have to wait until your doctor recommends hospice to learn about your options.  Although many people believe that hospice care is designed to provide the necessary care for the final days of life, studies have proven that earlier engagement of hospice can extend life and improve quality of life as well.

Click here to visit the Northern New England Chapter ALS website.

The most appropriate time to begin receiving hospice care is when the decision has been made to switch from curative treatments to comfort care. Our hospice team can provide clinical, social, and emotional support to help clients make the most of each day.  At Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, our experienced team works closely with each individual and family to provide assistance and support throughout the process.

If you have received a terminal diagnosis, we urge you to consider beginning the conversation with our Hospice staff now so that you have all the information you need to make decisions about your care. To speak with someone on the Hospice team, please call (800) 757-3326.

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WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR HOSPICE CARE?

When an individual begins to experience a decline in regular self-care capabilities or other life-limiting symptoms, their doctor may suggest they consider hospice care. Once the doctor determines that the path of curative treatments is no longer appropriate and estimates life expectancy to be six months or less based on the Medicare Hospice Criteria, referrals can be made for hospice services.  While an individual must have a doctor’s referral to receive hospice care, they, or a family member, can call us without a referral to talk about options and to initiate the process.

People of any age, with any of the following illnesses, may be appropriate for a hospice referral if eligibility criteria are met.

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Stroke or coma
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia
  • Heart disease, such as Congestive heart failure or Coronary artery disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease, such as COPD or Pulmonary fibrosis
  • General decline in condition due to age or multiple health conditions

This list does not cover every condition however if there are any questions regarding eligibility or how we might offer Hospice care and support, please contact Northern Light Home Care & Hospice.

WHEN TO CALL NORTHERN LIGHT'S HOSPICE TEAM?

For some, there may be a time when the burden of life-prolonging treatments and interventions outweighs the benefit.  At those times, shifting the focus to comfort and symptom management can potentially improve quality of life for one’s remaining time.  Although some people think that hospice is only for the last days of life, in fact, people can benefit from hospice services while they are still quite active. Our hospice team can provide clinical, social, and emotional support to help clients make the most of each day.  At Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, our experienced team works closely with each individual and family to provide assistance and support throughout the process.  A Northern Light Hospice team member is happy to visit individuals and their families to discuss services and answer questions with no obligation to initiate service.

WHO PROVIDES HOSPICE CARE?

At Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, our hospice team is made up of an experienced and dedicated team of the hospice medical director, nurses, social workers, home health aides, spiritual care coordinator, bereavement support counselor, and trained volunteers as well as patient’s own physician. 

WHERE DOES HOSPICE PROVIDE CARE?

Through Northern Light Home Care & Hospice, services may be provided wherever you call home – a house, apartment, nursing home or assisted living facility.  Should a person require more care than can be provided in their current setting, the hospice team is often able to assist families in identifying resources to coordinate increased care services.

CAN HOSPICE CARE CONTINUE AFTER SIX MONTHS?

Studies show that engaging hospice care early on can actually prolong life and improve life quality. Some people live beyond their original prognosis once their pain and symptoms are under control.  The Northern Light Hospice team will continue to provide the same care as long as the qualifying criteria for hospice are met.

DOES HOSPICE "TAKE OVER" CARE AND DECISION-MAKING?

No.  Hospice merely implements the plans and wishes of the patient and family. Individuals and their families remain in charge of coordinating care and making medical decisions.  The role of the hospice team is one of support, guidance, education, and collaboration.  Hospice team members will provide information and options and assist with coordinating a plan that centers on the unique goals and needs of each person we serve and their family.

HOW IS HOSPICE CARE PAID FOR?

Medicare and Medicaid cover 100% hospice care.  Most insurance plans have a hospice benefit included in their coverage.  If you do not have insurance or are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, our staff may be able to provide assistance in identifying resources.  Northern Light Home Care & Hospice provides care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.  Accessing the Hospice benefit can save on some medical expenses as Durable Medical Equipment, such as wheelchairs, oxygen, or hospital beds, and medications related to comfort and symptom management are covered at 100%.

WHY ASK FOR NORTHERN LIGHT HOME CARE & HOSPICE?

Northern Light Home Care & Hospice provides a coordinated spectrum of services.  Our hospice nurses are trained to focus on comfort, pain management and quality of life. Specially trained social workers, chaplains, and volunteers provide additional support in a variety of ways including counseling, friendly visits and assistance with errands. Northern Light Home Care & Hospice also offers skilled nursing services, physical and occupational therapy, and wound care specialists so that any level of care needs can be arranged, coordinated and implemented smoothly.  Additionally, Northern Light Health facilitates continuity in moving across the spectrum from acute to home care.

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Our Hearts at Home Program helps patients with end-stage heart disease

Within the Northern Light's Hospice program is a specialization designed to serve patients with advanced heart disease. Our Hearts at Home program is designed to help our Maine patients with end stage heart disease remain comfortable in their home through the end of life and avoid disruptive trips to the emergency department.

According to a 2007 report in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, heart failure patients who enroll in hospice care live an average of 81 days longer than patients who don’t enroll in hospice.

Let us help with the symptom management and comfort care for your advanced heart disease. Please call (800) 757-3326 for more information.

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Our Partnership With The Quilts of Valor Foundation

When Home Care & Hospice staff member Donna Brookings mentioned that she was the State Coordinator for the Quilts of Valor Foundation and wanted to honor hospice patients that were veterans with a “Quilt of Valor,” our team of clinicians got right behind her. A simple request from the patient's clinician makes a presentation of a handmade quilt possible.

“Our goal is to thank these folks for their service to our country and to let them know just how much we appreciate them. It is truly a lovely experience. We schedule the visit with the patient and always try to have a loved one present. We then read a dedication and cover them with their quilt, which has been embroidered with their name.” explains Donna.

We anicipate that the hospice team will offer this service statewide in the future. To date, Quilts of Valor has given six quilts to vets in Cumberland and Penobscot County that were Home Care and Hospice Patients.


 

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Please call us for more information about Hospice at 800-757-3326.