Who Is Involved In A Patient’s Hospice Care?

Who Is Involved In A Patient’s Hospice Care?

Hospice of the Shoals has an expert team of experienced and compassionate professionals whose mission is to provide the highest quality of care for our patients and their families. We are an all-inclusive end-of-life care provider which includes medical, psycho-social, spiritual, bereavement, and volunteer services.The Hospice Interdisciplinary Team works directly with patients, families, and the patient’s primary physician to develop and implement individualized Plans of Care. Patient and family goals are one of the most important components of hospice care and will be included in our goal-focused Plan of Care.


Care usually begins with a phone call. If you call our office you will be greeted by a friendly, respectful, well-trained, and accommodating person to direct your call to whom it needs to go. You will either be greeted by one of our many helpful volunteers or by an employee. Regardless, your call is always important to us and will be treated as such. All of our staff is well trained and immediately available to you in order to answer any questions you may have about our care. Upon receiving referrals, our admissions team responds very quickly to meet the needs of the patient.


Once we receive a referral from the patient’s primary physician, the admission nurse will usually be the first person a patient and/or family will come in contact with. Admissions nurses will provide information about the mission and goals of hospice care, services provided, delivery and options of care, answer all questions, and discuss ways in which Hospice of the Shoals will support you through this journey. During the initial consultation, the Admissions RN will ask questions required by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance companies, get consents signed, and obtain information about patient and family needs.


Hospice of the Shoals Registered Nurses have the knowledge and experience of managing symptoms caused by advanced illness. Patients will be assigned a primary nurse who will direct all care under the guidance of the primary physician and medical director. Our nurses visit regularly, up to 7 days a week as needed and stay in contact with each patient and/or caregiver frequently so that everyone has the information they need to adequately care for the patient.


Our Medical Directors are the only Board Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Physicians in our service area. They maintain overall responsibility for the hospice program. Medical Directors work with patients, families, attending physicians, and the entire Hospice Interdisciplinary Team to ensure that safe and effective care is delivered. They often serve as a liaison between Hospice of the Shoals and the patient’s primary physician or as the patient’s attending physician to ensure the continuity and quality of care. Hospice of the Shoals Medical Directors make home visits themselves on a scheduled and as needed basis, instead of contracting with Nurse Practitioners. We feel that our patients get more continuity of care when the Medical Director can visualize, assess, and communicate with the patient/caregiver himself. Comments from patients and/or family members reinforce the importance and appreciation of home visits by our Medical Directors.


Hospice of the Shoals Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) assist with personal care and activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, linen changes, light meal preparation, and light housekeeping based on each patient’s individual Plan of Care. Our CNAs make a visit up to 5 days a week, depending on the needs of each patient.


Social Workers at Hospice of the Shoals provide support, information, and education to patients, caregivers, and family members. They have in-depth knowledge about practical and psycho-social matters that are often magnified during a loved one’s illness. They often assist in directing families to agencies and institutions that would benefit their individual needs and provide information regarding the availability of resources in our community.


Hospice of the Shoals employs a full-time Spiritual Counselor to meet spiritual needs of our patients and families when requested. Our Spiritual Counselor provides guidance and support reflecting each person’s spiritual beliefs and personal needs. He listens, prays with, reads to, and provides conversation with our patients, caregivers,and family members. He also may act as a liaison to the patient and family Clergy upon your request. You will receive a phone call from our Spiritual Counselor upon being admitted to Hospice of the Shoals care and will have the opportunity to accept or refuse this service. If you refuse this service at the time of admission and you change your mind during our care, the RN or Social Worker will communicate with the Spiritual Counselor and the counselor will contact you.


Upon being admitted to Hospice of the Shoals, you will receive a call from our Volunteer Coordinator offering our volunteer services. During the call, the Volunteer Coordinator will obtain information about patient/family needs and coordinate the care with our many wonderful and dedicated volunteers. If you need a volunteer upon admission or at any time we are in your home, the Volunteer Coordinator will make arrangements for a volunteer to come.


Hospice of the Shoals volunteers play a very important role on the hospice care team. They are at the very core of hospice care, providing assistance and companionship to patients and families. These specially trained individuals give their time and energy in order to lighten the stress placed on caregivers. They often run small errands, read to patients, and/or provide short sitting services. Our Volunteer Coordinator will call and will work with families in order to help meet their individual needs.


Hospice of the Shoals provides bereavement services following the death of a loved one to caregivers and families for 13 months. The Bereavement Counselor also provides:

  • Individual and family counseling
  • Support groups
  • Phone support
  • Education and support to the community, schools, workplace, and healthcare professionals


Physical, Speech, and Occupational Therapies are provided upon a physician’s order.