Frequently Asked Questions About Inpatient Hospice

What is inpatient hospice care?

The Hospice Inpatient Unit at St. Luke's will give families facing end-of-life challenges a peaceful, homelike environment.
  • Larger patient rooms - will allow families to stay with loved ones around the clock. Each room will have sleeping accommodations and a private bathroom where family members can shower.
  • Gathering space - will offer grieving families room to share experiences with one another, including other grieving families, and access to amenities not typical on a hospital floor. The family lounge will have an aquarium and computer station; the kitchenette will include a family dining area. There will be a laundry room, children's area and grief resources.
  • Private areas - will give family members space to seek comfort and visit with hospice doctors, nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers, volunteers and music, massage and pet therapists.

Who provides care?

Experts with extensive hospice training will be on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When is Hospice needed?

 Hospice is needed at the hospital when pain medications and high-level care must be provided by nurses, doctors and staff during situations such as:

  • A patient on a ventilator shifts from curative care to comfort care. It is virtually impossible to send the patient elsewhere and maintain comfort.
  • A patient with a severe, life-threatening condition who's treated in St. Luke's Emergency Department will not recover. Family members prefer not to transfer the patient across town or leave the hospital because the patient may pass or decline during transport.
  • A hospital patient is too fragile or unstable to be transferred.

 In addition to serving patients who can't go home or be transferred to another care facility during their last days, St. Luke's Hospice Inpatient Unit will provide high-level hospice services for:

  • Respite care - offering breaks to caregivers at home, for up to five days at a time. For example, a husband caring for his wife with ALS brings her to the hospital for five days once a month so he can rest and reconnect with family and friends. Or a daughter brings her dad to respite care while she attends a family reunion.
  • Symptom management - to give current hospice patients suffering tremendous pain or other symptoms in their home the option of being admitted to the hospital.

What levels of care are provided?

The Ed and Joan Hemphill Hospice Unit offers levels of care as defined in the Medicare Hospice Conditions of Participation in order to meet the specific needs of each patient:

General Inpatient Level of Care

This care is 100 percent covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances. It is considered short-term. General Inpatient Level of Care is available for pain and symptom management that is not able to be achieved in the home-setting or in a facility.

Inpatient Respite Level of Care

This care is also 100 percent covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurances, but is limited to five days. Respite care offers a break for the patient's primary caregiver. The task of providing care 24 hours a day can be exhausting. By bringing a patient into respite care, the caregiver can get some much needed rest. It has also been used to allow a caregiver the opportunity to get away to an important family gathering such as a birth, graduation or wedding. Our goal is always to get the patient back to their own home or placed in a facility if the family is no longer able to care for them in the home, if possible.