Our Hospice FAQ

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, Inc. is a not-for-profit, community based program providing care to persons with an advanced illness in a 16-county service area in southern Indiana. Our Hospice services are provided wherever the patient is — Home, Hospice Inpatient Facility, Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or Hospital. Our Hospice recognizes that individuals with a life limiting illness have special physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs. Our Hospice staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing quality care and services to every patient and their family who need our special services.

Curative measures are those intended to cure a patient's disease. Palliative care means symptom control (e.g. for pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety). Our Hospice is expert in controlling the distressing symptoms that a patient may have as a result of their disease.

Our Hospice is an independent home based program offering a total support system to patients and families who are dealing with an advanced illness. It is not a religious organization, but the nature of Our Hospice's philosophy encompasses spiritual issues. The issue of addressing spirituality is a personal decision, and Hospice will respect and honor the patient's and family's wishes.

When a patient is referred to Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, our staff makes the process as simple as possible for the patient and family. The patient will be asked to sign a consent form to confirm understanding that hospice care is aimed at comfort and pain relief, rather than cure. Please see the next page for a graphic of every step.

Admission Process Outline
Sometimes, patients need extra care for pain or symptom management. If a patient needs specialized, around-the-clock care, we can provide it either at our Hospice Center located in Columbus, Indiana or at another residential facility  where we can manage episodes of acute pain or symptoms related to their illness.
Our Hospice care is available for anyone in our service area whose doctor has indicated that their medical condition is no longer responding to treatment. This includes persons residing in a home, long term care facility, or assisted living facility. Very often we hear loved ones say they wished they had used hospice earlier in the illness. The earlier someone begins receiving hospice care, the more assistance and support the hospice team can provide to the patient, the caregiver, and the family.

Our Hospice professionals and volunteers are specially trained and dedicated to providing skilled medical and supportive care. Services include:

  • Private rooms
  • 24 hour nursing care provided by Registered Nurses
  • Home Health Aides to assist with personal care
  • Consultation and visits by Our Hospice team professionals as needed: Physician, Social Worker, Chaplain, Dietitian, Therapist (physical, occupational, speech), Pharmacist
  • Volunteers to support patient and family
  • Pain and symptom control
  • Patient/family education and instruction
  • All meals provided
  • Kitchenettes for families to use
  • Library
  • Chapel with a meditation garden
  • Quiet outdoor spaces that includes a courtyard, the Serenity Garden, the Terrace Garden and private patios for each patient room
  • Bereavement follow-up for 13 months

Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies pay for acute inpatient and respite care for Our Hospice patients.

Respite care is available to patients whose family and/or caregiver may need a short break from caring for the patient.

Patients may have visitors at any time. Sleeping accommodations are available and are limited to two family members in the patient's room. However, families may continue to visit the patient throughout the night. Private tours are available by contacting the Our Hospice Center at 812.314.8053 or toll free 1.800.841.4938 ext. 8053, or by email at Stracey@crh.org.
The Our Hospice Medicare and Medicaid benefit covers all services related to the disease process on which an admission is based. This coverage includes nursing and social services, medical equipment and supplies, medication and acute inpatient care if needed.

Under Our Hospice Medicare, Our Hospice is financially responsible for all treatments and services related to the diagnosis on which an admission is based. The patient is not billed for these services and there is no deductible or co-payment.

Yes, the State of Indiana has a Our Hospice Medicaid benefit that is the same as the federal Hospice Medicare benefit plan.

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is licensed and certified as a Hospice Agency. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance will cover most services provided by Our Hospice of South Central Indiana. As a not-for-profit organization, services not covered are funded through: Memorial and Private Donations, Foundation & Community Grants, United Way, and United Fund. Our Hospice of South Central Indiana does not deny services to anyone on the basis of race, religion, age, color, gender, physical or mental handicaps, or the ability to pay.

Our Hospice provides the majority of its care in a patient's home, with family and friends acting as caregivers. In addition, Our Hospice can furnish care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or other types of residential facilities. The Inpatient Facility is available if a patient requires inpatient care in order to address severe symptoms or to provide respite for a caregiver.

Our Hospice is the only hospice organization in this service area with a Hospice Center located in Columbus, Indiana. The 14-bed facility provides a comforting and unique home-like atmosphere for patients and families. The Center is available to Our Hospice Patients who need:

  • Special care to manage episodes of acute pain or symptoms related to their illness
  • Respite care to give short-term relief to caregivers.

We offer exceptional patient care including:

  • Pain and symptom control
  • Assistance with personal care
  • Patient meals and nutritional needs
  • Patient and family education and information
  • Overnight accommodations for up to two (2) family members in patient room
  • Laundry facilities for family use

On rare occasions, a patient is referred to Our Hospice who does not have a physician. There are two options at this time: the patient may seek a physician through the physician referral services, or have Our Hospice seek the assistance of the Our Hospice Medical Director.

A patient may choose to have their primary physician remain as their "Attending Physician" or choose to have one of the Our Hospice physicians or Nurse Practitioner become their "Attending Physician" while under Our Hospice Care. If you would like for the Our Hospice physician to be your attending, he/she will continue to keep your primary doctor informed and communicate with him/her as needed.

Our Hospice provides care to all patients with an advanced illness regardless of age.

No. Each potential admission is individually assessed for appropriateness for the Our Hospice program. Our Hospice routinely has patients with end-stage congestive heart failure, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (Lung) Disease), ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), AIDS, Alzheimer's and other diseases. The Our Hospice physician and care team work closely with each patient and their physician to determine if Our Hospice is appropriate.

Neither is necessary for admission; however, Our Hospice encourages families to have advance directives. For additional information on advance directives visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at www.in.gov/isdh/files/advanceddirectives.pdf.

Through our Nursing Home Program, Our Hospice is able to provide services to persons with advanced illnesses in nursing homes. These patients may either be patients who transfer to nursing homes, or nursing home patients who are admitted directly to the Our Hospice program. The same care and services that are provided in the home setting are available to those in a nursing home.

Help from the Our Hospice team is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We have staff on-call after normal working hours to address concerns by telephone, or if necessary, with a visit.

Pain control is a prime consideration within the Our Hospice program and the staff stays current on the latest pain control medications and technologies. Our Hospice's goal is to enable the patient to be at home with loved ones, as comfortable and free from pain as possible. Early referrals allow more time to adjust pain medications to maximize pain control.

Our Hospice has a strong bereavement program with full-time bereavement counselors. Counselors maintain contact with Our Hospice families for a period of 13 months following the death of a patient. Regular phone contact, individual counseling, as well as support groups are available.

Volunteers are a vital part of the Our Hospice program. Volunteers participate in a comprehensive training program that orients them on the Our Hospice philosophy and program, and helps find their niche in Our Hospice volunteerism. Patient services are one of many roles available to volunteers who may choose from a list of opportunities. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering for Our Hospice is encouraged to contact the Manager of Volunteer Services, at 812.314.8044 or toll free at 800.841.4938 ext. 8044 or email esommers@crh.org.

Our Hospice maintains privacy protection and adheres to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). More information on this can be found in the Notice of Privacy Practices.

Hospice care is appropriate when someone has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and treatments are no longer effective. The goal of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is to provide relief from physical and emotional pain so that the patient and family can spend their remaining days with comfort and dignity, making every moment count for as long as possible.
 
There are many people who can benefit from the comprehensive support of hospice services but they are not receiving them. People don’t access hospice services for many reasons, including, lack of information about the value of hospice services, fear of the expense, a belief that their physician needs to refer them, or they are too ill to ask for hospice for themselves and they are relying on loved ones to manage their care. Don’t miss out on this special care.  We encourage you to ask for an information session to learn more about how hospice can help.
Hospice is a philosophy of care, not a place. Most hospice patients receive care in their home or the home of a relative or friend. Care is also provided in extended care facilities, assisted living facilities or at the Hospice Center.
If the patient’s condition improves, he or she can be discharged from hospice care to return to active treatment or resume daily life. If the patient should later need to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance programs will allow additional coverage.
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their physician, other health care professionals, clergy or friends; however, only the hospice professionals can determine if a patient is eligible for hospice. 

Anyone can refer a patient to a hospice program; but to be admitted, a patient must:

  • Agree to treatment aimed at comfort rather than cure.
  • Have an incurable disease resulting in a limited life expectancy, as certified by a physician.

Nursing Care 
Our nurses are dedicated to providing the best skilled nursing care for our patients. They manage the care of each patient and at Our Hospice we call them Case Managers because they report changes to the medical staff as needed.  They are experts in pain management and symptom control. Our nurses are all Registered Nurses (RN’s) and are on call  24 hours per day, 7 days per week to support patients wherever they reside. In addition to direct patient care, they offer assistance and education to family members and caregivers about how to meet the patient’s needs, as well as coordinate all medications and medical supplies as needed.

Medical Care
Our expert Medical Care Team of physicians and nurse practitioners oversees the medical care of the patient, provides expertise in pain and symptom control and works closely with the hospice team. Physicians support the 24 hour service and meet weekly with the team to discuss each patient’s progress. Patients may select to remain with their primary physician or select a hospice physician as their primary physician.  
 
Personal Care (Home Health Aides)
Our Home Health Aides (HHA) assist with personal care and other activities of daily living.  This support is available according to the patient’s needs. They work under the direction of the Nurse Case Managers. For individuals residing in extended care facilities, hospice home health aides will supplement the care provided by the nursing home staff.

Supportive Care (Social Workers & Chaplains)
Our masters-level Social Workers support the social and emotional needs of the patient and the family. They help coordinate community resources as well as provide personal counseling when needed.
 
Our Chaplains provide spiritual care and support for patients and family members. They meet individually with families and have a strong network of support in the community if the families wish to be connected to a particular faith network. 
 
Family Care (Bereavement, family support)
Our Bereavement staff provide counseling support by talking with patients or their family about concerns and understanding grief. Families receive bereavement support for 13 months following the loss of their loved one.
 
Volunteers
Our patient volunteers offer companionship for patients and provide brief periods of caregiver respite. 
 
Therapy
Speech, physical and occupational therapy is available to patients when needed, as well as a dietitian and volunteer pet therapy teams.

Most hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veteran Affairs and most employer and private insurance. As a not-for-profit organization, services not covered are funded through the following:

  • Memorial and private donations
  • Fundraising events
  • Foundations and grants
  • United Way and United Fund

Our organization was founded by local advocates to fill a community need for appropriate end-of-life care. At Our Hospice we believe that Hospice Care is Hope.  Hope for the best care possible during an advanced illness. Hospice is not a place, but a compassionate approach to care. Our goal is to extend the period in which a person can be safely and comfortably cared for as their condition progresses.  We help people with an advanced illness or condition to live life fully, maintain their dignity and keep control over their lives.  We can help with the transition from hospital to home, home to facility or traditional care to palliative care.

1. Is the medical condition no longer responding to treatment?

2. Is the patient considering stopping aggressive treatment?

3. Has the patient had frequent visits to a physician, hospital or ER?

4. Is the patient’s pain, nausea and shortness of breath difficult to control?

5. Is the patients level of activity preventing independence?

6. Does the patient need help with bathing, dressing, getting out of bed, walking or eating?

7. Has the patient experienced unintended weight loss?

8. Is the patient falling frequently?

9. Does the patient have extreme weakness or severe anxiety?

10.  Do you wonder if hospice might be an option?

Routine Home Care: Patients receive hospice care where they reside.
General Inpatient Care (GIP): Patient is provided inpatient care for pain control or other acute symptom management that cannot be provided where the patient resides.
Continuous Home Care: Patient is provided care where he or she resides for 8-24 hours per day to manage uncontrolled pain or other acute medical symptoms.
Respite Care: Inpatient care to offer temporary relief for the patient’s family or caregiver. Available for patients who do not reside in a residential facility.