When a client with a life-limiting illness or condition decides that curative measures are no longer effective, appropriate or desirable, hospice care becomes a compassionate, dignified and beneficial option for end-of-life care.
When possible, our client receives hospice care in his or her own home with family and loved ones providing any needed companion care. However, we provide our services wherever our client may live including independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities and residential assisted living homes (also called group homes).
In association with our client’s primary physician, if any, and our Medical Director, we provide a specially trained, highly skilled and very experienced team of healthcare professionals to assist our client, his/her caregivers and family. Each of our team members visits our clients on a regular basis and guides them, their families and caregivers through the process of the end stage of life.
Our client’s primary physician continues in that function, if that is our client’s desire. The primary physician continues to provide care and also consults with our Medical Director and hospice team on hospice care issues.
Our Medical Director, who is a Doctor of Internal Medicine, follows each client’s care closely and is kept informed about our client’s current condition by team members and her visits to our client. Our Medical Director assists in the development of our client’s plan of care and approves any changes made to the plan. The Medical Director also prescribes the appropriate medications used for pain and symptom control, as well as for our client’s emotional well-being. In many cases, our clients ask to use our Medical Director as their attending physician and we are happy to accommodate such requests. Approximately 75% of our clients use our Medical Director as their attending physician.
One of our registered nurses, acting as our client’s case manager, makes regularly scheduled, personal visits to our clients at least twice each week and more, if necessary, to provide expert pain management and symptom control care. Our case managers also provide training to the primary caregivers so they can care for our client properly and safely. The case manager keeps the primary physician, our Medical Director and the family informed about our client’s condition.
Another major element of the case manager’s responsibilities is to provide counseling for our client, his or her family and caregivers. Counseling helps those involved gain a better understanding of the ways to cope with and relieve the emotional stresses of dealing with the end stage of life. Counseling helps everyone work together to ensure our client has the highest possible quality of life during each day of the end stage process.
Our licensed medical social workers provide assistance with practical and financial concerns as well as emotional support, counseling and bereavement follow-up. They evaluate the need for volunteers and other community support services that may be needed by our client and facilitate communication between our client and community agencies. They will visit 2 to 3 times each month and more, if necessary.
Our chaplains provide counseling and non-denominational spiritual support to clients and families, and also serve as a liaison between them and their religious community. They offer support ranging from crisis intervention to private and group grief support. Chaplains also can assist with memorial services and funeral arrangements. They will visit 2 to 3 times each month and more, if necessary.
Our Certified Nurse Aides provide personal care and assistance with the activities of daily living, such as feeding, bathing and hands-on care. They also perform limited household services to maintain a safe and sanitary environment in the areas of the home most used by our clients. Our CNAs typically will visit 3 to 5 times each week or more, depending on the needs and desires of our clients.
Our trained volunteers provide a number of important services. Volunteers offer direct client support, companionship and practical, caring help. Volunteers can assist the primary caregivers by sitting with our client to provide the caregivers respite from the sometimes overwhelming task of being available around the clock for a loved one. Volunteers also assist us with clerical and administrative tasks in our office. If you are interested in volunteering, please read our page on Volunteers & Volunteering.
Our hospice care services are available on a 24/7/365 basis. We stand side-by-side with our clients, their families during their entire stay under our hospice care.
Specifically, we provide:
- prescription medications for control of pain and symptoms related to the hospice diagnosis
- medical equipment and supplies necessary to promote and maintain client comfort
- medical care focused on maintaining client comfort
- assistance with personal care and activities of daily living
- coordination of community resources to assist our client and family with non-medical concerns
- assistance by trained volunteers to provide companionship, emotional support and help as possible in other ways as requested by our client and family
- assistance in coping with spiritual questions and concerns at the end of life, either directly by our team or by coordinating our services with our client’s and family’s spiritual advisors
We remain available to the surviving family and loved ones for bereavement support. Medicare requires that hospice agencies provide support for at least one year after the death of our client. We place no time limit on bereavement support. We will be with you as long as you need us.
We should also describe what the typical hospice experience is like. Many people assume hospice and hospice care are gloomy and sad experiences.
However, most of our clients and their families and caregivers, find the hospice experience generally to be a relaxed, warm, friendly and upbeat process. In almost every case the hospice team quite literally becomes part of the family. The bond of trust and affection becomes that close.
We promote an atmosphere which is warm and caring and we encourage you to treat us as you do your own family. You won’t see any white lab coats or clipboards. We’ll be dressed in business casual clothes…..except maybe at Halloween, Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo and other times when we may be in the mood to dress up and bring food and beverages to celebrate the occasion with our clients and their families. We also like to join our clients, families and caregivers in remembering and celebrating special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Autumn Journey Hospice
5347 Spring Valley Road
Dallas, TX 75254