An in-depth hospice agency guide outlining the processes and selection factors to follow when picking a Hospice Agency in Los Angeles in 2022.
Los Angeles is a sprawling modern city known for its ubiquitous Hollywood sign, theme park attractions, and its own pop culture. Lala land seems to never run out of activities and events, attracting tourists in droves, hoping to bump into a celebrity or two while basking in the perfect weather.
Although this Southern California city may be bursting with life, those on the other side face the biggest health challenges and lose their battle. As a loved one, you cannot help but be frustrated at being unable to do something that can change the course of their fate. Hospice care is a way to celebrate life, adding a little more quality in those crucial moments and embracing mortality with peace and dignity. With over 600 providers in LA County, there is no doubt that the right hospice agency Los Angeles patients can access is just around the corner and ready to serve with kindness and compassion.
Pain Management by a Hospice Agency Los Angeles Provider
The pain experienced by many terminally ill patients can be unbearable, to the point they would let out a shriek or cry loudly now and then. On top of that, other symptoms aggravate the situation, such as nausea, shortness of breath, constipation, insomnia, etc. This physical suffering can easily make a person despondent and mentally slide into a dark place. Hospice agency Los Angeles providers would use suitable medication to address this pain. While severe pain may not go away entirely, with the help of some drugs, it can lessen the immensity. A patient might be able to go to the bathroom unaided, for instance, or have much longer conversations with loved ones once they have taken their pain medication such as acetaminophen or certain opioids.
On the other hand, there are patients, especially those with dementia, who cannot express when they are feeling pain. The hospice specialist must determine the pain level to administer the precise dose or appropriate medication without doping up the individual. Under normal circumstances, they would ask the patient to rate their pain from zero (no pain) to ten (worst pain).
Here are signs that a patient is experiencing pain that they could not communicate with their hospice specialist:
- Eyes are rapidly blinking or tightly closed
- Rapid breathing
- High blood pressure, particularly the systolic reading
- Frequent fidgeting or pacing
- Taking a rigid posture
- Sudden withdrawal of attention or presence
- Unpredictably aggressive or irritable
Steps to Getting a Hospice agency Los Angeles Provider
Many regret not getting hospice sooner for their loved ones. It could have given family members that precious opportunity to spend more quality time with the patient, who would be pain-free and in better spirits. There should be no stigma when discussing a hospice agency Los Angeles provider. It can only benefit the patient with limited time left who would otherwise suffer from the effects of their illness running its natural course due to the absence of a cure.
- Begin the hospice discussion. If there is one person who should initiate the conversation about getting hospice care, that would be the immediate family, whether you are the spouse or child of the patient. Once the doctor certifies their life expectancy prognosis in which the patient is no longer responding to curative treatments and has six months or less to live, ask about hospice immediately. You can get their professional inputs and recommendations to guide your decision.
- Choose where the patient will receive hospice. Often, family members actively present in the patient’s life would prefer that their loved one stays at home where they can be with them. At the same time, being in one’s private residence will be more comfortable for the patient and add convenience and accessibility to families and friends. In any case, hospice is available regardless of location. It can cater to patients whether they are in an assisted living facility or need to be in a hospital or a particular hospice agency Los Angeles unit.
- Scout for a nearby hospice agency. It is important to pick a hospice agency in the Los Angeles location near the patient’s residence so they can handle emergencies much faster. But also, a more important consideration would be how the hospice agency fares in your evaluation based on the following:
- Check the accreditation of the hospice agency with the Joint Commission and certification by Medicare or the patient’s insurance provider.
- Find out who will comprise their hospice team. There should be at least a hospice doctor, pharmacist, nursing assistant, certified hospice specialist, and counselor each has specific tasks geared to improve the quality of life for the patient.
- Ask about their hospice services in great detail, medications they will use, and how they handle emergencies after hours. Check if they will also extend bereavement support to family members after the patient’s passing.
- Since most health insurance programs generally cover hospice services, inquire about out-of-pocket expenses or copayment schemes, if any, to get clarity.
- Decision time. See which hospice agency Los Angeles provider has checked most if not all of your criteria boxes. Coordinate your choice with the health insurance company and prepare the patient for hospice care.
Things That a Hospice Agency Los Angeles Provider Does Not Offer
While basic services are covered in full by health plans under Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance companies, and other providers, there are a few that some might expect would be included in the hospice package but are not.
- 24-hour bedside physician or nurse. Although the hospice agency would have round-the-clock monitoring, you cannot expect a doctor or even a hospice staff member to be with the patient 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Aside from the scheduled visits, you can call an emergency contact number instead if the need arises to get assistance.
- Room and board costs. Except for cases where the doctor requires the patient to stay in a facility, the cost of the patient’s accommodation in a hospital or hospice will not be paid by the health insurance program.
- Prescribed medicines for illness. In case the patient decides to resume medications for their illness, Medicare or the private plan will no longer cover the expenses.