When a patient with an advanced illness is ready to start the conversation about hospice, one concern inevitably arises: Where will I receive care? VITAS Healthcare has over 40 years of experience providing hospice care that focuses on improving quality of life, and we've found that most patients fare best where they're already most at ease: in their home.
Choosing Home over Hospital
Studies show that more than 70% of people would prefer to die at home, so its easy to see why thats where most hospice happens. Home offers the simple comfort of familiar faces and surroundings, and a reprieve from the hospital or emergency department.
Receiving hospice care at home doesn't mean giving up or compromising on quality of care. As part of the Medicare Part A hospice benefit, VITAS patients are entitled to whatever their terminal diagnosis requires. This includes medications, home medical equipment, supplies, supportive services and care from a team of experts. The interdisciplinary hospice team nurse, hospice aide, social worker, physician, chaplain, bereavement specialist and volunteers provides clinical, spiritual and psychosocial care to the patient and their family wherever they call home.
Expert Care for the Patient and Their Family
The team will teach the designated family caregiver(s) skills for day-to-day care. Individual members of the team will coordinate and schedule regular visits. Ultimately, the patient and family are the core of the team, and their input is factored into an evolving care plan. Our team supports the patients family during the most difficult moments of their loved ones last days of life. After a patient dies, VITAS offers bereavement support to the family for a minimum of 13 months. For patients with advanced illness, hospice helps make the best of those final months, weeks and days. VITAS patients enjoy being home among loved ones, free of medical expenses, and in the care of a team dedicated to their comfort and dignity.
Editors Note: Article submitted by Evalisa McClure, general manager for VITAS Healthcare. For more information about end-of-life care options, call VITAS Healthcare at 866.759.6695.
Did you know there are financial assistance programs available to veterans who need assisted living care? Our veterans made numerous sacrifices to uphold the freedom we enjoy today while their families kept the home fires burning. They are entitled to many benefits in appreciation for all they endured for America.Veterans benefits for senior living are available for qualifying veterans and their surviving spouses, as long as the veteran served at least 90 days of active duty, including at least one day during a wartime period, and received an honorable or general discharge.Veterans Aid and Attendance for assisted living careOffered through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Aid and Attendance is a monthly pension benefit that can help cover the costs of assisted living care. It is available for wartime veterans and their spouses who have limited income and require the regular attendance of a caregiver.Aid and Attendance is designed for individuals who need assistance from another person to complete everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and assistance with other daily activities. A veterans need for this benefit does not need to be the result of their military service.Funds received from Aid and Attendance benefits can offer a monthly benefit to help pay for assisted living and long-term care for a qualifying veteran and their spouse. The actual monthly benefit is determined by the veterans assets, income and medical expenses and conditions.Contact your local county Veterans Services office with questions on how to apply by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso.MedicareMedicare will pay for short-term care at nursing and rehabilitation facilities for seniors who need these services after an illness or injury that requires hospitalization. Medicare does not cover the cost for assisted living, home care or other senior living services.Long-Term Care BenefitsThe Veterans Administration provides both short- and long-term care in skilled nursing settings for veterans who cannot care for themselves. This benefit does not cover assisted living or home care.Housebound BenefitsVeterans confined to their homes and requiring assisted living care may be best suited to receive Housebound benefits. This program provides an increased monthly pension amount for those confined to their home due to a permanent disability.Applying for BenefitsThe Veterans Administration has regional offices that provide Veteran Service Organization representatives who may be able to answer simple questions about assisted living benefits, as well as provide free, basic advice on the application process.Many veterans seeking advice on applying for assisted living benefits hire a qualified attorney accredited by the VA or an accredited claims agent, who has passed a written exam about VA laws and procedures.The application process for assisted living benefits is often very lengthy. It is important to be thorough when completing the application and have all required documentation gathered and ready to submit.There are additional financial options to pay for assisted living care for individuals who do not qualify for veterans benefit. Click to find out more about financial options for senior living.Country Meadows offers affordable assisted living or personal care on its nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Our friendly co-workers are always available to help! Contact us today for more information.
Wings of Comfort: The Retreat Hospice by Saad Outdoor Oasis Transformed by Home Depot's GenerosityAt The Retreat Hospice by Saad, a haven dedicated to providing compassionate care during life's final season, an extraordinary transformation unfolded in 2023, thanks to the benevolent partnership with The Home Depot Foundation. This collaboration showcases the power of community service and highlights the incredible impact that thoughtful gestures can have on the lives of those facing the challenges of hospice care.Each year, local Home Depot stores rally theireams, resources, and expertise for community improvement projects. The range of initiatives is vast, from building homes for veterans to crafting bird sanctuaries for families in need. The Retreat Hospice became a recipient of Home Depot's volunteer projects, turning their grounds into a serene haven for patients and their families.Brian Clifford, the local Home Depot manager, collaborated closely with the dedicated team at Saad to bring to life a project that would resonate with the unique needs of Southern Alabama's population. The result was an oasis designed to connect patients with the tranquility found in nature, particularly through the enchanting world of native birds.One heartwarming suggestion from the family of a guest at The Retreat Hospice led to the creation of bird-friendly spaces visible from patient rooms. When the opportunity arose for Home Depot to enhance the hospice's grounds, the decision was clear a project that aligned with the desires of those seeking solace in the beauty of nature.Home Depot's generous donation included over 20 unique birdhouses, bird baths, feeders, vibrant flowers for a butterfly garden, lush shrubbery, potted plants, and new rock lining the walking trails. The transformation aimed to offer guests and their loved ones a variety of spaces for reflection, connection, and respite.The birdhouses, strategically hung from trees just outside each patients porch, have become focal points where families can be found rocking together, sharing laughter, shedding tears, reading, or simply enjoying quiet moments alone. The addition of beautifully landscaped areas and improved walking trails further enhances the hospice's commitment to providing a peaceful and comforting environment.The collaboration between The Retreat Hospice and Home Depot represents more than just physical improvements; it symbolizes a community coming together to support one another. The project not only contributes to the well-being of current patients and their families but also leaves a lasting legacy of compassion and kindness.To Home Depot, The Retreat Hospice expresses heartfelt gratitude for the choice to partner with them. The generosity and joyful service displayed by Home Depot's "army in orange" have left an indelible mark on the hospice's mission to care for the community with excellence. This transformative project will continue to be a source of comfort and solace for those navigating the final season of life, reminding everyone involved of the profound impact that acts of kindness can have on the human spirit. The Retreat Hospice by Saad is a private, freestanding hospice respite located in Mobile, Alabama. They offer 24-hour resort-level care. Contact the Retreat Hospice by Saad at 251-380-3810.
Assisted Living Tours: Find the Right Fit for Your Loved OneBy: Country Meadows | Assisted LivingWe spend our entire lives raising families, managing households, working, balancing checkbooks and making countless decisions. As we age, these everyday duties can become more and more challenging. Making a well-informed and thoughtful choice about assisted living for yourself or a loved one is a significant decision that can impact overall well-being. Too often people wait until a crisis occurs, necessitating a quick decision when selecting senior living. Preparing for assisted living by researching options and taking assisted living tours allows individuals to thoughtfully select senior living accommodations.There are many reasons why visiting and taking assisted living tours in advance are important.Facility atmospherePaying visits and taking in-person assisted living tours allow you to see for yourself the overall atmosphere and ambience of the community. This includes noting cleanliness and the layout as well as the general feeling of the environment. This firsthand experience can provide insights into whether a community is a good fit for personal preferences and comfort.Staff interactionDuring assisted living tours, meeting staff members and interacting with current residents can provide valuable insights. Note the level of professionalism, friendliness and responsiveness of the staff while gauging the overall satisfaction and happiness of residents. Pay attention to staff achievements and organizational awards such as certifications in programs that recognize great places to work.Establishing relationships with co-workers and management during a visit provides customers with insights as to the teams willingness to communicate and work with residents and their families, fostering a sense of trust and confidence in the care to be provided.Services and amenitiesAssisted living communities offer various services and amenities. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can personally evaluate the quality and context of services offered, such as dining options, activities, care, transportation and other options. This helps ensure the facility meets specific needs and expectations.Care philosophyEvery assisted living community may have a unique approach to delivering care. By visiting and taking assisted living tours, you can ask thoughtful questions and gain a better understanding of the facilitys care philosophy to determine if it aligns with expectations.Safety and accessibilityTaking assisted living tours helps seniors assess safety and accessibility features in a community. This may include building layout, emergency response system options and general safety measures and policies. Understanding these aspects is vital for ensuring a secure living environment.Stress and anxietyKnowing and being familiar with potential living arrangements in advance reduces the stress and anxiety associated with making urgent decisions. Taking assisted living tours provides familiarity with the location and offers a sense of security during what can be a challenging time.Good fitUltimately, assisted living tours help prospective residents ensure the community is a good fit for individual wants and needs. Factors such as cultural compatibility, community engagement and overall feel of the environment is subjective and only can be assessed through direct experience.Time for questionsDuring assisted living tours, visitors have the chance to ask questions and seek clarification about various aspects of what everyday life will be like in the community. This helps individuals obtain detailed information about policies, costs and other factors that help customers make informed decisions.Plan for the futureVisiting and taking assisted living tours before a crisis allows individuals opportunities for better long-term planning. It provides the time to explore different options, compare facilities and make decisions based on careful consideration rather than under the pressure of urgent circumstances.Country Meadows
VITASHealthcare, a pioneer in the hospice movement since 1978, is the nations leading provider of end-of-life care. Our name, derived from the Latin word for lives, symbolizes the VITAS mission: to preserve the quality of life for those who have a limited time to live.VITAS Healthcare provided $13 million in genuine charity care to hospice patients nationwide in 2019. This represents an average of 1 percent of our gross revenuesa ratio that few, if any, hospice providers can match.VITAS Healthcare serves people with serious illnesses. Our hospice care and palliative services provide comfort and preserve dignity in the face of terminal illness.