Frequently Asked Questions
What is hospice?
"Hospice" is a proven method of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments. Hospice recognizes dying as part of the normal process of living, affirms life and neither hastens nor postpones death. The focus of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient's end of life experience by offering comfort and dignity. A team oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support tailored to meet the patient's needs and wishes.
Who Qualifies for Hospice?
Any individual, regardless of age or ability to pay, with a physician's referral indicating the patient has "6 months or less to live if the disease runs a normal course.” This may be a result of one of many different life limiting conditions including: end of stage heart disease or cancer, Alzheimer's, dementia, lung, liver, or kidney diseases. Curative treatment is no longer desired or expected to be effective. In general, referrals will be accepted as physician certification is received. The patient's level of acuteness will be a factor as they are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
What is the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice?
As you may know, Joe Richardson II and caregiver(s), along with a team of dedicated individuals established the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice (SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE). As a long time member of our community, Joe and his late wife, Sharon, recognized the need for a special place to care for loved ones at the end of life. As a result, he has devoted some initial financial support and other resources to establish a center in honor of his wife.
What is Palliative Care? Who Qualifies?
Palliative Care Medicine will also be an option offered to patients and their families at SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE. "Palliative care" represents comprehensive, multi disciplinary care for patients with advanced illness whose treatment goals emphasize quality of life but may not yet meet the six month prognosis requirement to qualify for the hospice benefit. Palliative care lessens the burdens and suffering of advanced illness through: 1) aggressive medical management of pain and other debilitating symptoms; and 2) counseling and support for the social, psychological and spiritual needs of the patients and their families.
What Services and Levels of Care are provided at the SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE?
There are four levels of hospice care, defined by Medicare and paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and most other insurance plans. They allow a hospice program to keep the patient in the setting that best meets the needs of the patient. Some or all of these care options may be used as part of a patient's hospice care benefit.
What are "Bereavement" Services?
We can't take your pain away but we can share it. Grief can be an overwhelming experience that may at times seem to have no end. SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE understands the grieving process and offers support to care giver(s). SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE will provide a full range of bereavement services for the care giver(s) and friends.
Will I have to change my current physician?
We encourage you to keep your current physician relationship. SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE is open to everyone in the community regardless of the agency or physician they are working with. Our Hospice Team will work to ensure a continuum of care.
Will insurance pay for care at the SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE?
Why is an independent hospice facility necessary when most people would choose to die at home, or could go to the hospital or nursing center?
When asked specifically, nine of 10 adults would prefer to be cared for at home rather than in a hospital or nursing center if diagnosed with a terminal illness. However - in 2003, the reality was that approximately 50% of Americans died at a hospital, 25% died in a nursing facility and only 25% died at home. These statistics are also true in Sheboygan County. (*Reference: "Knowledge and Attitudes Related to Hospice Care," conducted for The National Hospice Organization by The Gallup Organization, Princeton, NJ. September 1996.)
Where is the SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE located and what features does it provide?
The SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE is centrally located and less than 30 minutes away from any Sheboygan County resident. The approximately 30,000 square feet SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE is located just outside Sheboygan Falls and overlooking the Mullet River. Extensive landscaping creates a park like setting and includes a therapeutic garden and nature trails. A series of pathways and gardens traverse the site.
Does the SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE provide Community Education?
SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE has speakers available to community businesses and other groups to talk about issues concerning death, dying, grief and life-threatening illnesses. We can act as a resource to schools, physicians, therapists, local colleges, and churches who want to design their own program concerning death, dying and grief responses. SSR also offers a lending library of transition and grief related materials, including books, videotapes and music. In addition, a "Community Memorial Service" is a tradition for those in Sheboygan County experiencing the loss of a loved one, under any circumstances - hosted by SSR COMMUNITY HOSPICE.
Can you help patients with a terminal illness while they are still seeking treatment and have longer than six months to live?
Yes, these patients would be eligible for our Palliative Care Program. This is available for individuals with a terminal or life-limiting illness whose prognosis is longer than 6 months and are still seeking aggressive treatment. Palliative Care provides access to our entire team of specialists (Registered Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Social Workers, Chaplain and Volunteers). Our focus is on relieving pain and reducing the symptoms of the disease; while maintaining the highest possible quality of life. Palliative Care is covered by private insurance and private pay (a sliding fee scale is available if needed).
As an independent not-for-profit organization, can you serve me if I belong to a provider network?
Since we are independent and not part of a network, we serve patients and their families with all different types of insurance coverage and affiliations. Any physician can follow their patients into our services. We work with them to ensure the best possible care in any setting the patient chooses including a nursing home, assisted living facility, their own home, or the Hospice Center.
What if a patient can’t stay in their own home any longer?
A patient now has the option to come to our Hospice Center where we can provide acute, routine and respite care. Patients already in our Home Hospice Program will have priority for a bed at the Hospice Center as their illness progresses and they decide to move from their current setting.
Do all of your patients have a cancer diagnosis?
Patients who contact us for hospice, or are referred by their physician or other care givers have many different types of terminal illnesses including congestive heart failure, pulmonary disease, cancer, and failure to thrive, to name just a few.
Will Medicare pay for Hospice Services?
Most often hospice services are covered by Medicare or Medicaid (includes all medication, the services of the Hospice Team, and equipment) or private insurance. Room and board at the Hospice Center is billed separately; we serve patients and their families regardless of their ability to pay.
Does your Hospice Team provide services in my home, or do I have to come to the Hospice Center?
We provide services to all terminally ill patients in any setting – their homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals throughout the region, as well as, at the Hospice Center. Patients who are already served by the Home Hospice Program will have priority for a bed at the Hospice Center as needed.