Professional Care & Services
Avera Hospice Mitchell patients are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy, therapists, dietitian, pharmacists, aide, and volunteers. In addition, hospice helps provide medications related to the terminal diagnosis, supplies, equipment, therapies and hospital services as appropriate.
The patient's primary physician or the hospice medical director oversees the patient's care.
The nurse makes regularly scheduled visits and coordinates the patient's plan of care with the patient, the patient's family and other team members.
The social worker is available for listening, counseling and offering practical support with assessments, consultations, education, resources, referral services, advocacy and discharge planning.
Along with volunteer clergy of many faiths, hospice works with the patient's own clergy to help with spiritual concerns while giving needed support and kindness.
Pharmacist and Dietitian
They provide support and advice regarding medication, symptom control and nutritional advice when difficulties arise.
Home Care Aides/Homemakers
They assist with personal care and household tasks as needed.
Physical, occupational, and speech therapists contribute their skills as needed.
A hospice volunteer assists the hospice team with:
- Making scheduled visits to patient/families at home to offer support, encouragement and help
- Providing support services as requested by hospice patient and family such as:
~ Bed side sitting with patients so support person can leave/nap
~ Occasional light housekeeping or meal preparation
~ Lending a listening ear for patient or family
~ Attending prayer service or funeral
~ Grocery shopping - or other shopping
~ Taking pets for a walk
~ Reading to patients
~ Doing puzzles, play games, cards
~ Writing letters
What is hospice?
Hospice is a special way of caring for people in the final stages of life. The goal of hospice is to provide emotional, spiritual, and physical support to terminally ill persons and their families. Hospice providers work with the patient and the patient's family to help provide support, compassionate care, pain and symptom management, as well as spiritual and bereavement care. Hospice care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospice care neither hastens nor postpones death, but affirms life. Comprehensive symptom control is emphasized to allow the individual to live each day as fully as possible.
When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made—and who should make it?
Any time during a terminal illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options with the patient's physician, including hospice care. By law, the decision belongs to the patient. Referral to hospice is obtained from the hospital, nursing homes, friends, family, clinics and many more.
Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?
The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with the patient's primary physician, other healthcare professionals, clergy or friends. Individuals may also call Avera Hospice Mitchell for information.
What if your physician doesn’t know about hospice?
Most physicians know about hospice. If your physician wants more information, it is available by calling Avera Hospice Mitchell at 605 995-2268.
Is hospice only for cancer patients?
No. Anyone whose illness is known to be life-limiting and has six months or less to live is eligible for hospice care. Many hospice patients have a non-cancer diagnosis such as end-stage heart disease, lung disease, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, renal failure, and senile dementia to name a few.
What specific assistance does hospice provide patients?
Hospice patients are cared for by a team of doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, personal care aides, clergy, therapists and volunteers. Each provides assistance based on his or her area of expertise. In addition, hospice helps provide medications related to the terminal illness, supplies, equipment, therapies and hospital services as appropriate.
When does a patient start receiving hospice care?
One of the first things hospice will do is contact the patient’s physician to make sure he or she agrees that hospice care is appropriate for this patient at this time. The patient will also be asked to sign consent and insurance forms. These are similar to the forms patients sign when they enter a hospital. The hospice election form says that the patient understands that the care is palliative rather than aimed at seeking a cure. It also outlines the services available.
The form Medicare patients sign also explains how electing the Medicare hospice benefit affects other Medicare coverage for a terminal illness.
Is there any special equipment or changes I have to make in my home before hospice care begins?
Hospice staff will assess your needs, recommend any necessary equipment and help make arrangements to obtain it. In general, Avera Hospice Mitchell will assist in any way it can to make home care as convenient, clean and safe as possible.
Is the home the only place hospice care can be delivered?
No. Although most hospice services are delivered in a personal residence, many patients live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.
How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?
There is no set number. One of the first things our hospice team will do is prepare an individualized care plan that will, among other things, address the amount of care giving a patient needs. Hospice staff visit regularly and are always accessible to answer questions and provide support.
Must someone be with the patient at all times?
It depends on the patient. Many patients, especially if they are receiving hospice care early in their illness, are able to be left alone. Since one of the most common fears for patients is of dying alone, we generally recommend someone be there continuously towards the end of life.
How difficult is caring for a dying loved one at home?
It is never easy and sometimes can be quite hard. At the end of a long, progressive illness, nights especially can be very long, lonely and scary. Hospice staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help family members and to visit should an emergency arise.
Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?
Hospice neither speeds up nor slows down the end of life process. Hospice provides its presence and specialized knowledge during the end of life process.
Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?
Certainly. If improvement in the condition occurs and the disease seems to be in remission, the patient can be discharged from hospice and return to aggressive therapy.
How does hospice manage pain?
Hospice nurses and doctors are up-to-date on the latest medications and devices for pain and symptom relief. In addition, physical and occupational therapists may be available to assist patients to be as mobile and self-sufficient as possible. They can be joined by others professionals in speech, dietary and massage therapies.
Hospice believes that emotional and spiritual pain are just as real and in need of attention as physical pain, so it addresses these, as well.
What is hospice’s success rate in reducing pain?
Very high. Using some combination of medications, counseling and therapies, most patients can attain a level of comfort that is acceptable to them.
Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what’s happening?
Usually not. It is the goal of hospice to help patients be as comfortable and alert as they desire. By constantly consulting with the patient, hospice has been very successful in reaching the patient's pain goal.
Is hospice affiliated with any religious organization?
Hospice care is not an organization of any religion. While some religious organizations have started hospices, these hospices serve a broad community and do not require patients to adhere to any particular set of beliefs.
How is hospice care paid for?
When a patient chooses hospice, payment for 100% of prescription and nonprescription drugs related to the terminal disease is covered under Medicare. Many insurance policies include hospice coverage for all or a portion of related costs.
How can I volunteer to help?
Volunteers are a precious resource for Avera Hospice Mitchell and for our patients. If you or someone you know is interested in contributing time or talent to help hospice patients, we would be happy to hear from you. We offer a complete training program for volunteers. Call 605-995-2268 for more information.
Do you help with bereavement services?
Avera Hospice Mitchell offers a variety of bereavement services to ease this transition in life for 13 months following the death of a loved one. The staff is available for individual counseling sessions, which are scheduled by appointment.
Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends up to a year following the death of a loved one through such services as personal contacts, phone visits, self-help literature and support groups.
Referrals to community agencies are made when necessary. Informational and support resources on bereavement are mailed to you on a regular basis for 13 months.
Our hospice holds a special Memorial Service each year in November for families who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
How can I make a gift?
Avera Hospice Mitchell welcomes donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, and religious and civic organizations. Insurance does not cover the full cost of care, so your generosity ensures that hospice is available to everyone in need.
Your gift can be a one-time or a pledge gift that is tax deductible. Our hospice staff can suggest ways for you to recognize a family member, friend or others by way of memorial gifts. Please make your check payable to Avera Queen of Peace and mail to:
Avera Queen of Peace Foundation
525 North Foster
Mitchell, SD 57301
Additional information, please contact Avera Hospice Mitchell at (605) 995-2268.