Compassionate Care Western North Carolina is a not-for-profit health care agency offering a special kind of care, often called hospice. It emphasizes quality over length of life. It enables patients to better manage their symptoms while alert and pain-free, and they can spend their final days in dignity, at home, in a long-term care facility, or in the hospital. Both patients and their families are included in the decision-making process, and both are given emotional support. Bereavement counseling is also available to family members after the death of a loved one.

Hospice is built on the principles of comfort, dignity, choice and control, and it’s provided without regard to age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability or ability to pay.

Frequently Asked Questions

A person is eligible for hospice care when:

  • They have a serious illness
  • They have completed all curative treatment for that illness.
  • Their doctor and the Hospice Medical Director determine their life expectancy is six months or less

The interdisciplinary team consists of the medical director, nurse, social worker, chaplain, volunteer, volunteer manager and CNAs. Continuity of care is the team’s major focus and they meet at least every two weeks to share ideas about how to provide the best care possible for each patient and family.

Patients often prefer the familiarity of living at home, surrounded by family, friends and family pets and hospice is geared toward helping people stay at home. Needed equipment and supplies are offered, as well as the assistance of the hospice team. Sometimes it is impossible for a patient to stay at home and in those cases the family may opt for an adult foster care or nursing home placement. In most cases, hospice can still provide care and support to the patient and family with adjustments made according to the care situation.

If the care provider at home needs a break, hospice offers respite care in a nursing home or hospital for short periods.

  • A diagnosed terminal illness with life expectancy of six months or less
  • An acceptance of the concept of palliative care
  • Definite and definable needs
  • A committed primary caregiver
  • An attending physician who supports hospice
  • Residence within the hospice service area
  • Acceptance of services by the interdisciplinary team

Benefits of Hospice Care

Unfortunately, many people think of hospice as a crisis service for the last few days of life. They avoid conversation about it as long as possible because they think that electing hospice means giving up hope. But arranging for hospice services early provides a wealth of benefits, both for patient and their families, and it’s why we often hear families say they wish they had contacted us sooner.

By electing hospice early patients can ensure their wishes are known and followed from the start of care through the end of life. And they are reassured knowing it is their right to revoke hospice care at any time and for any reason, including to seek aggressive treatment or simply because it’s their preference.

  • A personal team of doctors, nurses, CNAs, social workers and counselors coordinating all aspects of the patient experience
  • Services provided at home, or in any post-acute, long-term care setting
  • Pain, symptom and medication management, reducing patient discomfort, hospitalizations and trips to the doctor and ER
  • Clinical, social and spiritual support, lowering patient stress and improving quality of life
  • The primary care doctor can still be involved and even serve as the patient’s hospice doctor
  • Help with advanced directives and encouragement to establish goals and set personal milestones, like, “I want to be there for my daughter’s birthday next month”
  • Clinical, social and spiritual assistance to help better navigate a seemingly overwhelming situation
  • Professionals coordinating care can reduce the expense of medication, equipment and supplies needed by a terminally ill patient
  • Additional planning time affords more opportunities for family gatherings, coming together and closure
  • Understanding what to expect and being able to ask questions reduces the fear of the unknown
  • Planning assistance with funeral and financial matters can reduce stress and conflict
  • Actively participating in the care of a loved one helps reduce the feelings of loss and regret
  • Knowing that a loved one is comfortable, and that their wishes and directives are clear
  • By electing hospice early on, families receive respite and caregiver support, develop trust in their hospice caregivers and benefit from bereavement counselors after their loved one’s passing