VNS Health Hospice Care’s team of compassionate and skilled cancer experts is here for you and your family as you navigate advanced cancer and hospice care.
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice care provides the right level of care as your loved one’s illness becomes worse. Hospice care is a unique kind of care centered on improving the quality of life of people who have an advanced illness, such as cancer, and their caregivers. Hospice care focuses on treating the physical and emotional needs of a person rather than curing their cancer.
If your loved one is in end-stage cancer, they may experience severe symptoms, which can change quickly. Hospice care focuses on controlling these symptoms and providing the care people with cancer need, when they need it.
At VNS Health, our hospice experts help:
- Ease physical symptoms of cancer, such as pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, trouble sleeping, and loss of appetite
- Work through the emotional symptoms of cancer, such as anxiety, depression, and fear
- Reduce unneeded hospital visits
Hospice care also helps caregivers and other loved ones by providing emotional support, answering questions, and relieving some responsibilities of care. And we can assist with practical concerns, such as financial planning.
Keep in mind that starting hospice care is not “giving up” at the very end. Instead, it offers your loved one the comfort and dignity they deserve in the familiar surroundings of home.
Hospice care also gives you and your loved one the chance to make the most of your time together by relieving symptoms and taking away the stress of unwanted hospital stays. It offers the tools and support you need to live life to the fullest extent possible.
Benefits of Hospice Care for People with Cancer
Cancer can bring up a wide range of emotions. If you or a loved one has advanced cancer, it’s completely normal to feel anxious, scared, or overwhelmed. You may also have questions about how to manage care or what comes next.
Hospice care from VNS Health is designed to meet the needs of your loved one as their illness becomes worse. As they live with end-stage cancer, they will face complex and varying needs — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hospice care provides the right level of care for your loved one from the comfort of home.
Who Is on My Loved One’s Cancer Hospice Care Team?
VNS Health Hospice Care teams include oncology-trained specialists, such as:
- Hospice and palliative care specialists
- Nurse practitioners
- Social workers
- Spiritual counselors
Our hospice teams work closely with your loved one’s health care providers and oncology team, who are already familiar with your loved one’s needs.
In addition to controlling symptoms of terminal cancer, VNS Health Hospice Care supports your loved one by helping them:
- Improve the amount and quality of time with loved ones
- Mend or maintain important relationships
- Reflect on their life
- Find peace and connection to spiritual or religious practices
We meet your loved one and your family where you are by providing high-quality and compassionate care as your loved one goes through this important transition.
When Should My Loved One Consider Hospice Care?
Many people think that hospice care is only for the last few days or weeks of life. In fact, a person can receive hospice care for 6 months, or even longer.
A person with cancer may be ready to start hospice care if:
- Their symptoms have become more severe and harder to manage
- Treatments have become more complex or seem less effective
- Their hospital stays are longer or more frequent
- They are often extremely tired
- They are worried about their family’s future
As a caregiver, you’ll also benefit from hospice care, which provides additional support with:
- Caregiving responsibilities and caregiver burnout
- Communicating with health care providers
- Financial and practical planning
What You Can Expect from VNS Health Hospice Care
At VNS Health, we are committed to providing hospice care for people with cancer that benefits and supports both patients and loved ones.
If you are a person with end-stage cancer, you can expect hospice care to:
- Provide home visits and care from experts, such as physicians, hospice nurses, and registered dietitians
- Manage medication for pain relief and controlling other symptoms
- Help with medical equipment, such as a hospital bed or wheelchair
- Assist with personal care, such as bathing, using the bathroom, and eating
- Provide emotional support and spiritual care, such as addressing fears and helping mend relationships
- Focus on your unique needs to improve quality of life
If you are caring for someone with end-stage cancer, hospice care will:
- Screen for and help relieve stress by providing support and education about patient care, your loved one’s cancer diagnosis, and what to expect at the end of life
- Provide practical support with financial matters and funeral or memorial planning, as well as other issues related to end-of life care
- Provide spiritual support by identifying sources of stress and helping you to cope based on your values, beliefs, or faith
- Help you explore what is important to improve quality of life for your loved one and your family
Don’t hesitate to talk to your loved one’s health care providers early about the benefits of hospice care. Discussing increased care can feel scary — but it’s important to remember that your and your loved one’s goals, values, and needs are front and center.
Starting hospice early can reduce symptoms and unwanted hospital visits. This helps you maximize your time with your loved one and improve everyone’s quality of life.
Does Insurance Cover Cancer Hospice Care?
Hospice care, including cancer hospice care, is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, and most private insurance companies.
VNS Health Oncology Hospice Care
VNS Health Oncology Hospice Care is a specialized program for individuals with a high symptom burden and complex care needs. This program is appropriate for people who:
- Have severe symptoms
- Require complex treatments at home, such as intravenous therapies or multiple drains
- Experience emotional distress due to factors like having young children at home or tense relationships with caregivers
- Experience spiritual distress related to their values, beliefs, and faith
- Are at high risk for hospitalization
The VNS Health Oncology Hospice Care program integrates hospice into the cancer care continuum by:
- Establishing a strong partnership with the referring oncology and palliative care teams
- Offering consultation with VNS Health’s oncology-trained specialists
- Creating patient- and family-centric care plans that employ evidence-based protocols