The Benefits of Hospice in Assisted Living Facilities
Your assisted living facility (ALF) is home to your residents, a place where they have formed relationships with peers and staff, where they know the traditions and day-to-day schedules, where the faces and spaces are familiar. This is where they want to be.
However, when your residents have had several acute care encounters and other challenges associated with activities of daily living, it may be time to consider hospice.
VITAS offers a full range of services and solutions to assisted living facilities, including individualized care plans, regular team visits by our hospice experts, educational programs, and ongoing grief and bereavement support for your residents/staff. With direct access to clinicians 24/7 via our Care Connection Center, we support your facility’s commitment to aging in place for your residents.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our ALF nurses and aides take care of our residents. How would hospice offer anything different?
For your residents in decline, VITAS hospice services and staff members can augment the care they are receiving from your staff.
Our services range from regular visits by an RN to chats with a chaplain to visits with a volunteer who has time to do whatever the resident chooses. The VITAS hospice team creates and carries out a unique plan of care specifically designed to improve each resident's quality of life.
How can VITAS help curb ED utilization and high-risk rehospitalizations?
By transitioning your ALF's high- and rising-risk residents to VITAS, we can provide expert, high-acuity care that minimizes the risk of return visits to the hospital or emergency department. We bring hospice care to your resident.
With hospice services, your resident doesn’t leave home. They continue to age in place. Since the resident elects to receive palliative care and a physician has certified the resident has a prognosis of six months or less, the need for a higher level of care is diminished.
The goal is to keep the resident comfortably at home, in their assisted living community, surrounded by the faces and routines they know.
What services would VITAS be able to offer my resident to keep them here in the community?
By partnering with VITAS, you are enhancing the services you offer to your residents at the end of life, and improving the skills and the knowledge of your staff in general.
VITAS offers customized education for your staff members.
Our staff is always looking for new ideas, and they require professional education. Can VITAS help?
VITAS provides nearly 70 continuing education presentations at no cost.
VITAS staff understands the needs of residents and their families who are coping with end-of-life concerns. Ask a VITAS staff member about educational opportunities.
When we see a resident declining, we want to discuss options with their family. How do we begin?
As your partner in care, VITAS can provide conversation starters that families can share.
Ultimately, having the conversation in an appropriate, sensitive way can become one of the most profoundly satisfying experiences of a healthcare professional’s career.
Broaching end-of-life discussions with residents is a skill that can be learned, much like history-taking or physical examination. When performed skillfully, these conversations can strengthen physician-resident relationships and increase the likelihood that residents will choose appropriate treatment options, such as hospice.
Even before hospice is considered, a VITAS physician is available for a consultation. Our physicians have the time to listen to the concerns of the resident and family, describe the progression of the advanced disease, explain care options and outline a realistic plan of care. You are informed of the outcome, and we maintain communication with resident and family.
Numerous printed materials, online resources and how-to documents can help professionals handle the “it’s-time-for-hospice” conversation. Start by downloading the family discussion guide at HospiceCanHelp.com.
Sickness and death are hard on our staff. We get to know and love our residents. How can hospice help?
We offer grief and bereavement support, memorials and education to help residents and staff mourn and cope with the loss
Hospice recognizes the strain a death has on the community in which a resident has lived, in the same way that hospice recognizes the impact of a loved one’s death on family members.
We continue caring for a resident’s loved ones by providing grief and bereavement support for up to 13 months after a death.
Likewise, memorial services and lessons in “taking care of me” help staff members and other residents mourn and recover from the death of someone they cared for and cared about.
How does VITAS’ clinical expertise keep residents in my facility?
One of the goals of hospice care is to keep the resident in place, and our coordinated services accomplish that.
VITAS offers unsurpassed modalities of care across all four levels of hospice care: routine home care, Intensive Comfort Care® (continuous care), inpatient care and respite care.
How can VITAS help us maintain our competitive advantage?
VITAS is proud to offer a wide array of specialized care programs and benefits.
- Veterans programs
- Alzheimer’s/dementia programs
- COPD program
- Multilingual staff
- Jewish accreditation
- Paw Pals® pet visits
- Music therapy
- Massage therapy
- “Living memorials” to honor a resident’s life
- Anticipatory grief support during the illness
- Bereavement support groups for families
- Memory Bears
Check with your VITAS representative to see what programs are available in your area.
What is VITAS' approach to pain management?
At VITAS, managing residents’ pain is the utmost objective.
As a hospice and palliative care pioneer, our organization has developed effective pain management protocols that are customized for the individual resident—which is critical in an assisted living setting. In addition to addressing physical and medical issues, our interdisciplinary approach addresses spiritual and emotional needs as well.
Will my community lose revenue if a resident elects hospice care?
Your resident will continue to pay their normal fees to the community. The extra services hospice provides, such as medications, supplies, and durable medical equipment related to terminal illness, can help preserve the resident's funds so they may be able to continue to pay for care in your community and reside there as long as possible.
Your assisted living community is home to your residents, and where they want to be. Like our assisted living partners, VITAS supports an aging-in-place approach to care. We have the expertise, the staff and the specialized services to keep your residents at home—out of emergency rooms, hospitals and nursing homes—as they approach the end of life. Your resident will stay home and continue to pay their normal fees to the community.