If your loved one has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), you know that its symptoms can be stressful for both patients and caregivers. With hospice care, these symptoms can be addressed by the right team of experts and the right support.
At VNS Health, we are committed to providing the best hospice care for all patients, including those with COPD. Our specialized COPD hospice care program is designed to meet the needs of COPD patients, improve their quality of life, and reduce hospital visits. In turn, this relieves stress for both patients and caregivers.
What Is COPD Hospice Care?
COPD can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. It often comes with challenging symptoms, leading to high rates of hospital readmissions and emergency room visits.
Hospice care focuses on treating physical and emotional needs rather than curing a person’s illness. VNS Health COPD hospice care offers people with advanced COPD the right level of care as their illness gets worse. The goals of VNS Health’s COPD hospice care are to improve quality of life and reduce hospital visits by:
- Managing COPD’s two most challenging symptoms — severe shortness of breath and the anxiety it causes
- Reducing pain, fatigue, and other symptoms
- Supporting caregivers and family members by building confidence and reducing worry
Hospice care is not “giving up” at the end. Instead, COPD hospice care offers your loved one the comfort and dignity they deserve. What’s more, hospice care allows you to make the most of your time with your loved one by taking away the stress of unneeded hospital stays that COPD symptoms often cause.
Benefits of COPD Hospice Care
VNS Health COPD hospice care was created in partnership with leading New York City pulmonologists (physicians who specialize in respiratory care). It focuses on the unique needs and challenges of end-stage COPD patients. With COPD hospice care, your loved one will get the care they need, when they need it.
Who Is on Your Loved One’s COPD Hospice Care Team?
- Hospice team physician and advanced practice nurse: Oversee the COPD hospice care
- Hospice team physician: Communicates with other physicians and assists with medication
- Respiratory therapist: Does initial assessment and manages respiratory devices
- Home health aide: Assists with activities of daily living
- Hospice volunteers: Offer support and companionship
- Registered nurse, social worker, rehabilitation therapist, spiritual care counselor, registered dietitian: Provide additional support and expertise
VNS Health COPD hospice care also provides medication and equipment, including:
- Medical equipment, such as an oxygen tank
- Medications included in the hospice plan of care
- Comfort pack to address symptoms such as shortness of breath and anxiety
When Should We Consider COPD Hospice Care?
COPD is a chronic illness, meaning people often live with it for many years. Because of this, knowing when your loved one is sick enough for hospice care can be difficult.
It may be time to think about hospice care if your loved one has COPD and has these symptoms:
- Increased trips to the emergency room or calls to their physician
- Longer — or more frequent — hospital stays
- Increased shortness of breath, even when resting
- Extreme weakness or fatigue
- Frequent bronchitis or pneumonia
- Increased anxiety or depression
- More changes to treatment or medication, with less benefit
- Increased need for help with tasks like dressing, bathing, and eating
Keep in mind that getting the right care early is important. Waiting to start hospice care means that you lose out on the benefits of the added support, decreased symptoms, and improved quality of life.
What You Can Expect from VNS Health COPD Hospice Care
People with advanced COPD need skilled experts by their side. That’s where VNS Health’s COPD hospice care comes in.
They have the training and resources to give your loved one the care they need and deserve. They will also help you feel confident in keeping your loved one as comfortable as possible at home.
While you’re receiving COPD hospice care, you can expect:
- Medical care related to COPD
- Personal care, according to the care plan
- Emotional support and spiritual care, including help with family issues and making peace
- Help with practical issues, such as creating a will or a health care proxy (a document naming someone to help you make decisions about care if you cannot do so yourself)
- Oxygen, equipment, and medications delivered to home
- Hospice comfort pack for emergencies
- Other services, as needed
While your loved one is receiving COPD hospice care, you can expect:
- Education on how to care for your loved one, what to expect, and what to do in an emergency
- Help with making decisions about care
- Round-the-clock access to a hospice nurse through VNS Health’s caregiver helpline
- Emotional support and spiritual care to help you cope with your own feelings and help you support other loved ones
- Support with family issues
- Respite care, which allows you to take a break or attend an important family event knowing your loved one is in good hands
- Grief support for 13 months to help you and your family through milestones and anniversaries
Insurance Coverage for COPD Hospice Care
Hospice care, including COPD hospice care, is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and most private insurance companies