Frequently Asked Questions
For further guidance, feel free to ask the following questions of any hospice program:
Q: How long has the hospice program been in existence?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. was founded in 1983 and has the longest record of continuous service of any hospice organization in Louisiana.
Q: Is the hospice a locally based program or part of some larger organization?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. was established in Lafayette, Louisiana, and maintains its administrative office here. While other hospice programs may have a regional office in Lafayette or a nearby city, many of them have corporate headquarters out of state.
Q: To what extent are physicians involved in patient care?
A: With over 23 physicians representing 14 medical specialties, Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. features the largest medical staff of any hospice in Louisiana. Physicians visit every patient at home or in hospital or nursing home at the time of admission and are also available to make follow-up visits to patients as needed or desired. A physician is available to hospice staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Q: Do the hospice physicians serve on a paid or volunteer basis?
A: Over 23 members of the Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. medical staff serve on a volunteer basis because they view caring for patients in the final stages of life as a ministry or form of service to the community rather than as a business.
Q: Do I have to give up my regular physician if I choose hospice care?
A: Although Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. maintains a staff of physicians, a hospice patient is not required to change doctors. Any Louisiana licensed physician can be the primary physician if he or she wishes to continue caring for the hospice patient.
Q: How experienced are the nurses in providing hospice care?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has 24 registered nurses 14 of whom are certified in hospice and palliative nursing. Many of them have 15 or more years of experience in hospice care.
Q: What help can I expect with direction to resources outside of the hospice program?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. features a team of seven licensed clinical social workers. In addition to helping patients and family members cope with the emotional challenges involved in facing the end of life for themselves or someone they love, the hospice social workers are skilled in identifying and connecting patients and their families with services of other community organizations. For example, they can help with wills and estate planning, funeral arrangements, financial assistance for medications, meals for homebound senior citizens and arrange for sitters.
Q: Is the hospice mission or profit driven?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. is the only non-profit hospice in its nine-parish service area. Care is provided with primary attention to the needs of patients and their families rather than to the financial interests of corporate investors or shareholders.
Q: Will my patient or I be admitted even if we have no payment source?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. accepts all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Out of its indigent patient fund, supported by private donations, allocations from the United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign, and grants from the Hospice Foundation of Acadiana, Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. covers the cost of professional services, medications, durable medical equipment, and emergency assistance for patients without a payment source.
Q: Will care under hospice be terminated if my patient or I am still alive after six months?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. follows the Medicare Hospice Benefit, which allows re-certification after a six-month period based on the patient continuing to meet hospice eligibility criteria.
Q: Can I expect regular in-person visits from the hospice chaplain?
A: The pastoral care staff of Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. includes a Catholic deacon, a Catholic lay chaplain, and a Protestant minister, as well as a team of specially selected and trained pastoral care volunteers. They visit as often as the patient and/or family requests.
Q: Does the hospice program provide a volunteer to visit patients or assist the family with errands?
A: The volunteer corps of Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. includes more than 350 individuals from throughout Acadiana who share with us a belief in the right of each person to spend one’s final days in peace and comfort and to die with dignity at home. They are trained and specially selected for duty in the areas of direct patient care, pastoral care, and bereavement care.
Q: Will the hospice staff be available if a need arises at night or on the weekend?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has professional staff regularly scheduled to respond to calls from patients or family members and to make visits at night and on weekends. In addition, physicians are available to the professional staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Q: Can the hospice program still manage my care or that of my family member if I need to go to the hospital?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. is a partner with several hospitals throughout the area in managing the inpatient hospice units in those facilities. Under hospice care, the patient may be hospitalized to control symptoms or to provide respite care for the family if necessary.
Q: How inclusive is the program of bereavement care?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has two full-time bereavement counselors who are nationally certified and who specialize in grief therapy. They offer a comprehensive program of individual counseling, support groups, workshops, and letter programs at no cost to family members.
Q: What is the hospice program’s general reputation in the community?
A: Since its founding in 1983, Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has been fortunate to receive tremendous support from the communities it serves in the form of financial contributions, volunteer time, and general good will. In addition, it was selected as the Outstanding Non-Profit Agency in Acadiana by the Better Business Bureau twice and the Number One Volunteer Agency in Acadiana for 11 consecutive years. Also, Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. was chosen in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 as the Best Non-Profit Agency of the Year in the Times of Acadiana readers poll.
Q: Will the hospice program force the patient to stop current medications or other treatments?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. assesses patients individually and makes recommendations to ensure medications are effective. Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has an extensive list of approved medications in accordance with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. In addition, patients on feeding tubes and IV’s, as well as those receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or dialysis can be admitted if appropriate for hospice care.
Q: Does the hospice have an on-going program to monitor the quality of care provided to its patients?
A: Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has in place several measures of quality care. One example of such measure is the Family Satisfaction Survey, sent to the primary care giver approximately one month after the patient’s death. That survey helps us determine — among other factors — our rate of success in managing the patient’s pain and discomforting symptoms, educating the family members in the care of their patient, and preparing the family emotionally for the death of their patient. Another measure is a survey completed by family members in the bereavement program. That survey helps us determine how well we have helped family members cope with their loss after the patient’s death.