Legal Rights and Responsibilities

An essential part of hospice care has to do with the legal rights and responsibilities involved with the provision of this service. It is crucial that a patient and their family must be aware of the various legal implications that are involved with hospice care so as to avoid any potential confusion with the law, as well as know the rights they are entitled to should any of them be infringed upon. Taking the time to go through all paper work related to a hospice service provider is one effective way of gaining such knowledge.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Any valid hospice provider will take the matter of privacy and confidentiality with the highest regard. It is essential that a hospice adequately protects the information that they are provided with by a patient and ensure that it does not fall into the wrong hands. Most information provided will include a section that states that the hospice will only be able to provide health and other personal information belonging to a patient upon the authorisation of the said patient, or that of an individual with a valid similar authority. The hospice may also provide such information if required to by law when dealing with legal circumstances.

A hospice is otherwise required to treat any information given to them with the highest confidentiality and it is their legal duty to ensure the protection of such information. This protection is carried out via the implication of various related policies, as well as the implementation of security measures on their databases to prevent any unauthorised access. Patients considering hospice care should rest assured that their information will be safe in the hands of the service provider that they choose for their requirements.

Patients’ Rights

There are a number of rights that are due to any patient that chooses to implement the option of hospice care. As mentioned earlier, it is important that a patient is aware of these rights so as to know when they are being infringed upon. Some of the rights that have been granted to patients of hospice care have been developed and designed to ensure that an individual has a say in the implementation of the hospice services on offer. Some of these rights include:

• A patient has the right to choose the doctor that will oversee the programmes that will be implemented in their hospice care.
• They also have the right to receive effective pain medication and symptom management in relation to the terminal illness that they are suffering from.
• A patient holds the right to refuse a particular treatment or kind of care should they not wish it and cannot be forced or coerced into accepting it.
• A patient has the right to be involved in the planning of the kind of hospice care that they will receive upon their induction.
• A patient holds the right to the privacy and confidentiality of their medical records.
• They also have the right to be free of any kind of mistreatment, abuse or neglect from the hospice care provider.
• A patient has the right to any information regarding the hospice care they will receive including the scope and limitations of the services involved.

Patient and Family Responsibilities

In order for any kind of hospice care to be effective, the patient and their family or allotted volunteer caregiver will need to be aware of any responsibilities that they may have on their part with regard to the services offered. The responsibilities of the patient and his/her family will vary depending on the kind of hospice care that they are receiving. The main responsibilities, however, will remain the same and include:

• Following the directives of the attendant physician with regard to medication and any other related activities.
• Ensuring that they do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of the hospice care provider through their actions.
• Informing the hospice care provider and/or the related physician of any changes that might occur with regard to the patient and their condition.
• Complying with the activities involved in the agreed upon programme designed for the patient.
• Providing the patient with emotional and physical support when necessary.
• Informing the hospice care provider of any concerns, needs or complaints that they may have with regard to the patient’s condition and the services offered.

Hospice Frequently Asked Questions

Hospice care has grown in popularity over the years and a number of people have started to consider this particular service as a viable alternative for those who for one reason or another, are not able to find any solace in curative measures.Some of the more common queries raised with regard to hospice services and related care include:

When is the right time to discuss Hospice care?

Hospice care in most cases is considered when all curative measures have been exhausted to no effect and a patient wishes to spend their remaining days on this earth in peace and comfort. As such, the right time to discuss hospice alternatives can be said to be when an individual has run out of options with regard to curative care. Hospices could also come into discussion if an individual is in need of special care that cannot simply be provided by family and loved ones, and may require the input of a medical professional.

Where does Hospice care take place?

Hospice care can either take place within an individual’s own home, at a hospital or at a special medical care facility designed for such services. Where the services are provided will depend on a number of factors such as the particular condition of the patient in question, the services needed, and the availability of related requirements including equipment and professional staff.

Are Hospice services 24 hours?

Depending on the particular needs of the patient, a hospice service can either be full time (24 hours) or part time (scheduled according to requirements). The location of the hospice can also be a determinant as to whether the services can be provided 24 hours. One could choose to hire a live-in nurse if they wish to have around the clock service or check into a hospice or alternative medical facility for the same.

How does the Hospice service begin?

A hospice service usually begins with a consultation from a doctor who will be able to determine the kind of care that a patient might need. Topics such as the patient’s condition, symptoms, and care requirements will be taken into consideration during this consultation so as to elect a suitable programme for the individual in question. It should be noted that those paying for hospice with Medicare will need at least two physicians to confirm that they have six months or less left of life should their illness progress as expected.

Can you receive Hospice care at home?

In most cases an individual is able to receive hospice care within the comfort of their own homes with the help of professionals, family and loved ones. Professionals are able to set up a regular visitation schedule that would allow them to provide the patient with the care they need at their desired location. Family and loved ones can also be trained in the provision of hospice care to enable them to take over the simpler tasks involved in the service.

Can you receive Hospice care in a nursing home?

It is quite possible to receive hospice care in a nursing home as most of them are already set up for the provision of such services. Maintaining such care in a nursing home might in fact be easier to achieve in some cases as compared to having them rendered in an individual’s home instead.

How do you measure the quality of the Hospice?

There are a number of ways that an individual can measure the quality of the hospice they are interested in. One simple way of doing this is evaluating the feedback that the hospice has been able to receive from families that have previously used their services. The kind of packages on offer as well as the particular services included can also be used to measure the kind of service that a patient will be able to receive from a particular hospice.

How do you know if it is the right Hospice?

Determining whether a hospice is the right one for a particular patient can be done through comparing the needs of the individual in question to the services that the hospice offers. The quality of the services on offer should also be taken into consideration and this can be done through talking to families that have used or are currently using the hospice.