Where do I begin?
Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and at a loss for words is normal. No matter how you feel right now, you are not meant to start this journey alone. At Good Sam, we are here to support you and your loved one every step of the way.
What is Hospice?
Hospice is specialty care for people living with advanced illness who wish to focus on comfort and relief from distressing symptoms rather than curative treatment. Hospice is a philosophy of care that promotes quality of life and the alleviation of suffering.
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness along with treatment meant to cure. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Our mission is to affirm life in the midst of illness and grief and, above all, to honor what matters most to each person and family served.
When we care for patients and families, we are their partners. We are beside them at each stage of the journey, and we understand this is a sacred chapter in life where every moment counts. Our commitment to helping our patients live life as comfortably as possible is something we take very seriously. We want them to have choices, and most importantly, we want their dignity to remain intact. That’s what matters most to us.
We are the only community based, non-profit hospice serving the Roanoke and New River Valleys. Simply put, our patients and families come first. We see everything we do for others as an opportunity to give back. All income and donations are channeled back into our specialized services so we can continue to provide an unparalleled level of care. Our resources are also used to create “extra” services like Complementary Therapies, our Memory Catchers program, and extensive bereavement support.
As a community-based entity, we live and work in the communities we serve. We devote substantial time and resources to our community through end-of-life education, advance care planning, counseling programs, and outreach groups. We do not answer to an out-of-state corporate structure, possibly with other service lines besides hospice. Instead, Good Sam is the first hospice in the Roanoke Valley to obtain Medicare and Medicaid certification and offer the full range of hospice services to people needing this special kind of care. Everything we do is for you, not profit.
For Families and Caregivers
Download our brochure with the button below.
When should we consider Hospice?
At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of a patient’s options so that you are better able to make informed decisions. Hospice care is appropriate for people who have a prognosis of approximately six months or less. It is important to remember that many people receiving hospice care continue to enjoy activities that are meaningful to them.
How do I choose a hospice for my loved one?
When choosing a hospice, some questions you may want to ask include:
- Is the agency a licensed hospice?
- Is the agency Medicare certified?
- Is the agency a not-for-profit organization that accepts memorial donations to provide hospice care and support services to patients who cannot afford care?
- Does the agency maintain professional memberships with the Virginia Association for Hospices and national organizations?
- Is the hospice staff highly experienced in caring for patients with complex needs including patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, end-stage heart or kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS or AIDS?
- Does the agency provide extensive resources and services for individuals dealing with grief and loss?
- Does the agency offer additional services such as Complementary Therapies, Memory Catchers, Doula services, etc.?
Does Hospice Mean Giving Up?
Hospice means aggressively pursuing what matters most to each patient and family. It is ensuring the choice to live life with the highest level of comfort, dignity and respect. Rather than giving up, hospice actually empowers patients and families to decide what they want at the end of life and to act on those decisions. The hospice team serves as a safety net, equipping them to carry out their wishes.
Who can call for a hospice consult?
Anyone can call for a hospice consult. A physician will have to order the full clinical assessment, but anyone can request a visit from a hospice representative to explain services and answer questions. There is no obligation or expectation with this service.
How is hospice care covered?
Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover hospice 100%. This includes the cost of everything related to the hospice diagnosis – hospice staff visits, medications, equipment, supplies and therapies. When a patient does not have insurance or the financial resources to cover hospice, Good Sam provides care, regardless of the ability to pay.
How long can someone be under hospice care?
Medicare and Medicaid do not limit the length of the hospice benefit. Patients may enroll when the physician judges that the patient has an expected prognosis of 6 months or less if the disease runs it normal course and may continue with hospice as long as the 6-month prognosis is reasonable. Hospice care is never ended simply due to the length of time a patient has been under care. Because prognosis is difficult, that time may extend well beyond six months.
Can you change your mind after electing hospice?
Good Sam affirms the right of the patient to choose their treatment plan and alter course at any time. Sometimes people choose to “revoke” hospice and try something new. Later, they may choose to discontinue curative treatments and start hospice again.
In addition, sometimes patients discharge from hospice when their condition improves or stabilizes over a period of time. If their condition worsens later, they can simply choose to re-enter hospice.
When might palliative care be the best option?
For those dealing with serious or chronic illness, palliative care may be the right solution. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of an illness along with treatment meant to cure. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. For more information on Good Sam’s Palliative Care program, click the button below.
For Healthcare Providers
To view our resources for Healthcare Providers please click the button below.