PHONE: 800.707.8922
REFERRAL PHONE: 800.707.8921
REFERRAL FAX: 216.383.5298

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What is hospice care?

A: It is compassionate, comfort-oriented care for the seriously ill with an emphasis on pain management, symptom control and emotional support for the patient and family.

Q: Why choose Hospice of the Western Reserve?

A: Hospice of the Western Reserve addresses the physical and emotional needs of our patients, families and caregivers. As a community-based non-profit hospice, services are available to people of all ages, including children, with a serious illness. Our transdisciplinary approach assists patients and caregivers in making choices by developing a care plan that focuses on the well-being of our patient.

Q: How and where does a patient receive care from Hospice of the Western Reserve?

A: To become a hospice patient, a person must have a prognosis of months rather than years to live and reside in Northern Ohio. We care for patients in their homes or in extended-care settings and provide support to caregivers.

Q: Does a patient need to be close to death before being referred to Hospice of the Western Reserve?

A: No. We encourage early referral so patients and families can better enhance the quality of life and access the support available to them.

Q: How does a patient start hospice services?

A: Family members, neighbors and patients themselves can call Hospice of the Western Reserve to start services or simply inquire about services available. Physicians, social workers and nurses often assist family members by initiating the call. The staff member who receives the initial call gathers information and schedules an assessment visit between a nurse and patient. The visit helps the nurse determine how the team can best fulfill the wishes of the patient, family and friends.

Q: Do all Hospice of the Western Reserve patients have cancer?

A: No. We serve patients of all ages with any disease.

Q: Can patients be admitted directly to Hospice of the Western Reserve from the hospital?

A: Yes. Our referral team works with the hospital discharge planners and social workers to initially assess the support needed for the patient after discharge. In some instances, the admission to hospice can take place while the patient is still in the hospital.

Q: How does Hospice of the Western Reserve offer support to family members?

A: Hospice of the Western Reserve’s transdisciplinary teams of staff and volunteers work together to provide many support services to family members. These include 24-hour access, personal care for the patient, nursing care, caregiver respite, professional counseling, expressive therapies, spiritual care, social work, pharmacy services, bereavement support and a broad array of volunteer services.

Q: What is the role of the patient’s physician?

A: Hospice patients continue to be served by their own physicians. Hospice team members work with each physician, serving as a liaison between physician, patient and family.

Q: How long can a patient receive hospice care?

A: Indefinitely, if the patient’s condition remains appropriate for hospice care. Patients sometimes experience improved health and do not need continuing hospice support. If their condition deteriorates later, they can be re-admitted.

Q: Who pays for hospice care?

A: Hospice of the Western Reserve is a Medicare/Medicaid certified hospice program, offering a comprehensive Hospice Benefit. This benefit includes the hospice team services, medications and/or appropriate treatments related to the terminal illness, medical supplies and durable medical equipment. Many medical insurance companies cover hospice services.

In order to cover unreimbursed services and continue serving patients regardless of ability to pay, Hospice of the Western Reserve greatly relies on memorial gifts, private donations, community support, grants and United Way funding. Helpful tips about financial assistance.

Advance Directives FAQs

Q: What about the withholding of artificially supplied food and water?

A: Depending on your medical condition, you can authorize the withholding of artificially supplied food and water (internal feeding and fluid tubes). If you are terminally ill and unable to communicate, and if your living will or Durable Power of Attorney states that you don’t want life support technology, then artificially supplied food and water can be withheld. If you are in a permanently unconscious state, artificially supplied food and water may be withheld only if you have written specific instructions about artificially supplied food and water in your living will or Durable Power of Attorney. If you don’t have either of these forms, Ohio law allows your next-of-kin to authorize the withholding of artificially supplied food and water when you are terminally ill and unable to communicate. If you are in a permanently unconscious state, your next-of-kin can make these decisions for you only after a 12-month waiting period and approval from a Probate Court.

Q: Whom should I choose to make all my healthcare decisions for me when I am unable to?

A: You can choose any adult relative or friend you trust to speak for you when you are unable to make your own decisions. Be sure you talk with that person about what you want. Then write down your wishes on your Durable Power of Attorney form. You should also talk to your doctor about what you want.

Q: Do my healthcare providers have to follow my instructions?

A: Yes, if your directions comply with state law. However, Ohio law includes a conscience clause, in case your healthcare provider is unable to follow your directions because they are in conflict with the caregiver’s conscience. In this case, you can be transferred to another healthcare provider who will comply with your wishes.

Q: If I have a Durable Power of Attorney, do I need a living will, too?

A: Many people want to have both documents because they can address different aspects of your medical care. A living will gives your instructions directly to your doctors, while a Durable Power of Attorney appoints another person you have chosen to make healthcare treatment decisions for you.

Q: What are my rights regarding medical treatment decisions?

A: You have the right to make your own medical treatment decisions. If you do not want certain treatments, you have the right to tell your doctor. Most patients can express their wishes to their doctor, but some who are seriously injured or unconscious cannot. However, you have the right to make your wishes known before such a situation occurs.

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Myths and Facts Brochure

Here's the truth about hospice care.