What is the process for admission into the hospice program?

Once a referral is made, an informational visit is scheduled with the patient and any interested individuals so they can be well informed about the services provided by Hospice of Dubuque. If the patient and those involved with their care desire time to think about this decision, an admission to the program can be delayed. If an admission is desired, a mutually agreeable time is established for a nurse and social worker to make a joint visit to accomplish the admission.

Hospice of Dubuque Admission Criteria

  • The patient is terminally ill as certified by the patient's primary care physician.
  • The patient and family agree they no longer desire treatment aimed at cure.
  • The patient and family agree with the hospice approach to care and desire hospice services.
  • The patient has a primary caregiver, or there is a plan for a primary caregiving system when determined to be needed for patient safety.
  • The patient resides in Hospice of Dubuque's service area.

Does Hospice of Dubuque admit patients who have non-cancer diagnoses?

Hospice is a care option for individuals with any terminal diagnosis. The individual’s physician will determine if the disease has progressed to its end-stage. The diagnosis may be, but is not limited to, cancer, end-stage heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, ALS, stroke, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Hospice care is also available to individuals whose condition is declining due to old age, if it appears there is a limited prognosis.

How is hospice care different from the care provided by a home care agency or assisted living facility?

The hospice interdisciplinary team provides specialized care with experience in managing end-of-life issues and end-stage disease symptoms. Hospice of Dubuque works with all area assisted living facilities to provide residents with access to hospice care. The patient, their family, assisted living staff and hospice determine if supplemental caregiving support is needed.

Why would hospice care be needed if the patient resides in a nursing home?

Hospice considers a nursing facility to be a patient’s home. The hospice staff provides additional expertise to the nursing home staff in the areas of symptom management and end-of-life care. Both organizations work collaboratively for the benefit of the patient and family. Volunteers are also available to help provide respite, companionship and help to patients and their caregivers.

What happens if my condition improves or I decide to seek aggressive treatment?

While hospice care is in place, the hospice staff will consult with the primary physician on a regular basis to ensure that continued hospice care is appropriate. If the patient’s medical condition improves and the physician, along with the hospice interdisciplinary team, believes hospice care is no longer appropriate, discharge from the program will occur. Hospice care focuses on comfort, not cure. Services would be discontinued if more aggressive treatment for disease-altering care is pursued. Services can also be discontinued at any time by simply signing discharge forms.

What happens if I decide to leave the Hospice of Dubuque service area?

If a decision is made to move to a location outside of the service area, Hospice of Dubuque will assist in the transfer of hospice care to a hospice in the new community. If travel plans outside of the service area will be short-term, temporary discharge forms will be necessary prior to departure for Medicare or Medicaid recipients.

What is the difference between a living will, durable power of attorney and "DNR" or "Do Not Resuscitate"?

What is the difference between a for-profit hospice and a nonprofit hospice?

For-profit hospices exist to make a profit for the owner(s) or dividends for stockholders. Thus, decisions regarding the delivery of services are based upon goals for achieving market penetration and maximizing profitability. As a nonprofit organization, Hospice of Dubuque exists solely to fulfill its mission of providing compassionate care for the terminally ill and their loved ones. At Hospice of Dubuque, all patient care decisions are guided by our mission.

When is it time to call Hospice of Dubuque?

When a patient receives a limited life expectancy from their physician, or when a decision is made by the patient and family to pursue comfort care only, it may be time to ask if hospice care is appropriate. Early admission into the hospice program is beneficial to both the patient and their family. Some health changes that are easily recognized include:

  • Visible unintentional weight loss
  • Eating only a few bites of food at each meal or eating well at breakfast and poorly at dinner and supper
  • Short of breath when trying to talk or just sitting still
  • Swelling of feet and legs which is not relieved with fluid pills
  • Needing help with daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and eating
  • Changing from using a walker to using a wheelchair
  • Infections that come back over and over, such as infections of the lungs and bladder
  • Frequent trips to the hospital
  • Calling the doctor’s office often between regularly scheduled visits
  • Unable to go without oxygen for more than a few moments
  • Pain that is not relieved even when using the pain medication as often as allowed
  • Deciding to stop medical treatment for a condition, but wanting to stay comfortable

Who pays for hospice care?

Hospice of Dubuque believes everyone is entitled to hospice care, regardless of ability to pay. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies pay a fixed dollar amount for each day that a patient is receiving hospice services. If there is no insurance coverage or the primary insurance plan does not have a contract with Hospice of Dubuque, cost will be determined by a sliding fee schedule that complies with the Medicare restrictions regarding free care.

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(563) 582 1220

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Hospice of Dubuque
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Hospice of Dubuque
1670 JFK Road
Dubuque, IA 52002

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