Levels of care for your patients
As the first hospice in Central Texas, Hospice Austin was established more than 35 years ago by a group of doctors and concerned citizens for the sole purpose of serving families. Since then, we have provided end-of-life care to any person who needs us, regardless of complexity of disease, cost of care, or our patient’s ability to pay.
Our goal is to support you in providing the best palliative care possible in whichever way works best for you and your patient:
• Telephone consultations with you on pain management/palliative care
• Availability of the hospice physicians and staff while you remain your patient’s attending physician, or
• Managing the care for your terminally ill patient
Our levels of care can assist you and your patient through the final two years of a terminal illness.
Austin Palliative Care – Austin Palliative Care is a group of physicians and nurse practitioners, many board-certified in palliative medicine, who specialize in assisting you and your patients with pain and symptom management, information sharing and advance care planning, psychosocial and spiritual support, and coordination of care. Patients who receive palliative care services generally report better pain control, increased satisfaction with medical care, and increased quality of life. Both patients and families benefit from a transition period (when possible) between curative and comfort-oriented care. This program is appropriate for patients with a serious illness who are struggling with symptoms or decision-making. Palliative care can be initiated at any time in a serious illness while the patients are seeking curative treatment.
Hospice care is for patients when the focus of treatment shifts to comfort care and the patient may have a life expectancy of six months or less.
Hospice care offers:
• Routine home care – provided in your patient’s home, independent or assisted living facility or long term care facility. Interdisciplinary care, supplies, durable medical equipment and medications related to the patient’s hospice diagnosis are provided.
• Inpatient care – provided at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House when symptoms cannot be managed at home.
• Respite care – provided for up to five days in approved health-care facilities when caregivers cannot temporarily care for the patient at home.
• Continuous care – continuous bedside nursing care provided during a medical crisis to allow a patient to remain at home.
• Bereavement support – provided for families for up to 13 months following a loved one’s death.
Your patient is eligible for hospice care if, in your best estimate, the patient may have a life expectancy of six months or less, if the disease runs its expected course. Of course, many diseases are hard to prognosticate; for this reason, Medicare does not penalize the referring physician even if a patient lives longer. Hospice care can be extended beyond six months as long as the patient continues to have a prognosis of six months or less if the disease follows its normal course from the time of the most recent reassessment. Hospice Austin physicians are experts in determining prognosis and navigating Medicare guidelines.
Both the patient and the family benefit most from hospice care when they are able to access the full range of services. This is done best when the hospice team has months or weeks, rather than days, to address their needs.
Your patient may be eligible for hospice care if he or she exhibits one or more of the following:
• The focus of treatment shifts to comfort care
• The patient, in your best judgment, has a prognosis of six months or less if the disease runs its normal course
• There is a loss of function/physical decline
• There is a history of frequent hospitalizations or ER visits
• Your patient needs help in most activities of daily living
• There are multiple co-morbidities
• Your patient has lost weight without trying
• Your patient’s pain and symptoms require close monitoring
• When the patient and family need additional physical and/or emotional support.
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Debility unspecified (failure to thrive)
Pulmonary fibrosis (emphysema)
Any other disease with an estimated prognosis of six months or less
Hospice Austin cares for any patient who qualifies for our services regardless of complexity of disease, cost of their care, or their ability to pay. Please contact us at (512) 342-4700, fax (512) 343-7117, or refer a patient online.