Often, one of the Texas Hospice patients suffers a “non-hospice diagnosis,” which is an injury or disease that is not related to their reason for coming onto our hospice service.
An example, which occurred to one of our patients this past week, is when a patient suffering from end-stage dementia breaks a hip. They may require hospitalization and surgery. All during the hospitalization, they remain on hospice. We attend to their and the family’s needs related to the dementia diagnosis.
Medicare continues to pay for the hospice benefit while covering the hip repair costs at usual medicare rates. Remaining on hospice does not add expense to the patient or their family.
The hospice community here in Fort Worth works closely with the hospital staff during these times. In this recent case, the Texas Hospice staff, including social worker, chaplain and nurse, spent a fair amount of time with the family, guiding them through the decision process, and providing comfort.
There were a fair number of decisions the family had to make. Here are a few:
- Do we want our loved one to have the surgery?
- Which hospital?
- Which surgeon?
- How aggressive should the post-operative physical therapy be?
- Which skilled nursing facility?
A good hospice agency should have knowledge of the local physicians and facilities so as to provide good direction to the family caregivers.
I am reminded of the biblical story in which four people helped their lame friend get to Jesus, who was teaching in a house. Since the crowd had made the doorway impassable, they lowered the man into place through a hole in the roof.
Just like the four friends, we, at Texas Hospice, want our patients and their families to meet Jesus, to know his love and power, and to always experience his healing.