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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for patients
What can I expect from hospice?
In choosing hospice, patients, families and their physicians recognize that curative treatment is no longer efficacious and their focus shifts from "cure giving" to care giving. With hospice's services and the physician's plan of care, patients and families can feel a sense of relief as professionals walk with them through the last phase of life. With St. Anthony's Hospice, you can expect to:
- receive excellent care from our nurses and certified nurse assistants
- have expert case management (social services) available
- receive spiritual care from our chaplains
- benefit from the caring assistance of our trained volunteers
- have hospice staff respond to patient needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- know that St. Anthony's Hospice personnel are experts in managing pain and other symptoms
- know that we accept all patients with terminal illnesses within our service area
- know that Medicare/Medicaid patients will receive medications, medical equipment and supplies relative to the terminal illness, at no cost
- be aware that no patient has ever been refused services due to their inability to pay
- know that family bereavement support is provided by our trained bereavement coordinators and will continue for 13 months after the death
May I keep my own doctor?
Yes. Your physician will play a crucial role on the hospice team. Your doctor will work closely with hospice to develop a plan of care that best meets your individual needs and those of your family and caregivers. In addition, the hospice nurse will keep your doctor regularly informed as to your condition and any changes that may be taking place.
What if my doctor hasn't spoken with me about hospice?
It is wise to request information about hospice before you need it, so that you can understand your options and access appropriate services when you want and need them. Feel free to raise the issue with your physician, and if you would like additional information, contact St. Anthony's Hospice at 314-525-7360 or 314-525-4606.
May I continue with my treatments and therapies?
Hospice specializes in palliative, or "comfort" care. Therefore, treatments and therapies focus on controlling symptoms and managing pain, rather than attempting to cure. Some treatments, such as chemotherapy, can be either curative or palliative, depending on the circumstance. You should discuss with your physician which palliative treatments will be provided in your plan of care. Patients who wish to continue to aggressively seek a cure should seriously consider whether hospice is right for them at this point in time.
Will I be in pain?
Pain is not an inevitable side effect of terminal illness. For more than 20 years, hospice doctors and nurses have dedicated themselves to providing the very best pain control and symptom management. With proper medication and management of an individual's changing condition, the vast majority of hospice patients can live alert and pain free throughout the course of an illness.
Is hospice care available for patients with any kind of terminal illness?
Yes. Years ago, hospice was associated primarily with a cancer diagnosis. However, in the last decade, hospice care has been made available to individuals with any life-limiting diagnosis, including:
- cardiac and respiratory diseases
- neurological diseases
- liver disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Alzheimer's disease
If you are not certain whether your diagnosis is appropriate for hospice, speak with your doctor or contact St. Anthony's Hospice at 314-525-7360 or 314-525-4606.
Will I become a burden on my family?
Many patients worry about this. You should know that hospice provides considerable support to your family, helping them to manage your care in an environment of trust and respect. Almost all families describe their hospice experience as one of the most meaningful in their lives — a time when they strengthened relationships and captured valuable memories.
What if my family is unable to care for me?
Hospice understands that some people do not have the option to stay with a family member who can serve as their primary caregiver. In such cases, St. Anthony's at de Greeff Hospice House is one option available to patients. Our hospice team will work with you to address your unique situation to ensure your safety and well-being.
How often will I see my hospice team?
The plan of care developed by your physician and hospice will determine the frequency of scheduled visits from the various members of the hospice team. This plan will evolve to meet your changing needs. In addition, you can reach a hospice nurse by telephone 24 hours a day, and emergency visits will be provided when necessary.
Will my personal beliefs be respected?
One of the founding philosophies of hospice involves an abiding respect for each individual's unique values. All hospice team members appreciate diversity in cultural heritage, faith, spirituality and lifestyle. St. Anthony's Hospice chaplains can provide an extra measure of support, offering spiritual comfort with an attitude of openness and acceptance.
How can I let my family know my informed health care decision?
You can help your family to understand you wishes by preparing them in advance. You may wish to discuss your choices with your family, friends, doctor, clergy or others close to you, so that you can gain a clear sense of the options and decisions which lie ahead.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.