Hospice Care Available to DeKalb Medical Patients

hospiceAlthough the majority of hospice care is provided in a patient’s residence, a growing number of hospitals – including DeKalb Medical – are now offering hospital inpatients the option of hospice care in the hospital. In
fact, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s 2015 report on trends and statistics in the hospice industry, the number of hospice patients in acute care
hospitals at death increased from 7 percent in 2013 to 9.3 percent in 2014.

Hospice care has long been recognized for the compassionate
care provided to patients and their families. Hospice workers
focus on reducing pain and addressing physical, psychological,
social and spiritual needs for patients at the end of life.
Unfortunately, some hospital inpatients who have a number
of symptoms that must be addressed and who are not stable
enough for transfer to a hospice facility, have not had the
option of hospice care.
DeKalb Medical’s partnership with hospice provider VITAS®
Healthcare offers inpatients who are actively dying and have
symptoms that require clinical control an opportunity to
choose hospice care. Physicians – private physicians and
hospitalists – who want their patient evaluated for hospice can
write a palliative care consult order specifically requesting the
evaluation and notify the patient’s nurse that the consult has
been placed.
“If the patient qualifies for inpatient hospice and there are no
inpatient hospice beds at a hospice facility, if the patient is too
medically unstable to transport, or if the patient wants hospice
but for various reasons does not initially want to leave the
hospital, VITAS personnel can approve admission to General
Inpatient (GIP) Hospice,” explained Paul Olander, director of
Behavioral Health & Palliative Care Services. “Once the patient
is approved for inpatient hospice care, we discharge them to
GIP and VITAS manages their care.”
GIP designated beds are available at the North Decatur and
Hillandale hospitals. DeKalb Medical staff members who will
care for hospice patients received specialized training from
VITAS to prepare them to care for hospice patients under the
direction of VITAS nursing coordinators and medical directors.
Beds in the North Decatur ICU, 4200 or 4500 can be classified
as “Hospice” status beds and “Hospice” beds at Hillandale are
located on the fifth floor. The expected length of stay in GIP
status is 24 to 48 hours.
“Hospice is a subset of palliative care, which we’ve offered for
years, and the GIP Hospice program is another step to broaden
our services and focus on the needs of our patients,” said
Olander. “This program is the culmination of many months
of team work involving physicians, VITAS, and hospital
employees in information technology, palliative care, patient
access and nursing.”

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