Metropolitan Houston, The Woodlands, Spring Texas
Metropolitan Houston, The Woodlands, Spring Texas
From our offices in Spring, TX, Avatar provides hospice care (also known as palliative care) for patients with advanced illness and for their families. Hospice is the philosophy that people facing advanced terminal disease should have every opportunity to enjoy life to the fullest and to have dignity and comfort in every day of life. Hospice is also a healthcare program wherein patients in the advanced stages of terminal disease receive as much care as possible in the comfort of home, and this care focuses on symptom management, supporting the family, comfort, quality of life, and dignity.
Avatar provides hospice for The Woodlands and the entire metropolitan Houston area as a Joint Commission Accredited, Medicare-certified provider. We are members of both the Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice and the Texas & New Mexico Hospice Organization. Our team includes more than 150 caring professionals, many bi-lingual, and all ready to provide comprehensive, coordinate, compassionate and responsive service.
How We Help
Nursing: Nurses provide a wide variety of hands-on medical care and skilled teaching. This may include advanced pain control, other symptom management, nutritional intervention, and more.
Aides: Trained and experienced homecare aides provide personal care including bathing, changing linens, light housework, and more.
Caregiver Training: With the right support, family usually wants to be involved in the care of a loved-one with advanced illness. Our nurses and aides take the time to train family caregivers in all skills important to the care of the loved one. This may include managing home infusion, watching for signs and symptoms, how to help a person walk safely, how to change bed linens with a loved one still in the bed, and a very wide variety of skills as needed by the family.
Care Planning: Avatar's hospice nurses or social workers can help with care planning issues such as managing insurance benefits, power of attorney forms, DNR orders, and other concerns.
Pastoral Counselor: When desired by a patient, Avatar can send a pastoral counselor to help both patients and family with emotional and spiritual support.
Therapy Services: Speech, occupational, and physical therapy can visit a hospice patient's home as needed to help with adaptive equipment, feeding challenges, and other issues.
Volunteers: Trained volunteers serve as an invaluable part of the hospice team. They can help with companionship, emotional support, and support with household chores, so that patients and family can better focus on their quality time together.
If you are interested in volunteering to help families in hospice, please contact us for more information. You can also download our flyer about becoming a hospice volunteer: Download PDF.
Quality of Life: When doctors are offering a prognosis of six months or less, research consistently shows that home hospice care delivers a higher family-rated quality of life than other healthcare routes.
Improved Symptom Control: Hospice specializes in enhanced control of serious symptoms in advanced disease. Research demonstrates that home hospice services do a better job of controlling most symptoms than other care settings including the hospital and nursing home.
Comfort and Convenience: During advanced illness, without hospice, trips to the emergency room, hospital admissions, and nursing home admissions can be frequent. Home hospice nursing enables patients to spend more time in the privacy and comfort of home in the company of loved ones.
Length of Life: People often assume that when curative treatment ends, life must shorten. When your doctor's prognosis is six months or less, research actually demonstrates that hospice services tend to increase length of life by days to months - while also increasing family-rated quality of life scores. It turns out that symptom control and emotional support can give patients more strength and endurance than usual care or aggressive curative treatments - when the timing is right.
Improved Bereavement Status: Hospice care offers important emotional support for both patient and family. Additionally, home hospice allows family caregivers to participate in the care of a loved one, but with enough support so that quality time can be spent with the loved one as well. Research demonstrates that this type of support improves the emotional health of spouses during and after bereavement.
Improved Medicare Coverage: Because Avatar Home Health Agency is Medicare-certified, Medicare will pay 100% of charges from Avatar for hospice care. As you might expect, this includes the services of nurses, therapists, social workers, aides, and the supplies they use when delivering care. However, Avatar can also include in the Medicare-covered charges medical equipment, medical supplies, and medication as long as it is related to the hospice diagnosis. Medicare will pay 100% of Avatar's charges for all of this with no copay, no deductible, and no cost sharing to a hospice patient or family.
When to Start
While the trend is that doctors are becoming more proactive about this aspect of patient education, past surveys suggest strongly that different doctors handle this type of information differently. Families should not assume that their doctor will initiate conversations about end-of-life care or end-of-life decision-making in a timely fashion. You need to be proactive about starting conversations with doctors to discuss whether you want to know your prognosis and about questions surrounding hospice care. Families can also schedule a no-cost, no-obligation appointment with a Avatar hospice advisor. We can meet in our office, in your home, at your doctor's office, or even at your hospital room.
Under Medicare program criteria, hospice is an option when a doctor gives a prognosis of six months or less. A prognosis is only an educated guess based on a patient's current condition and the normal course of a disease. Every patient's experience with a disease will be his or her individual experience, and choices in care become personal decisions based on a number of personal factors. When people choose hospice, it is usually because the rigors of curative treatments are no longer worth the outcomes in the patient's estimation and / or because the doctor(s) have explained that the best course of action is to focus on symptom control.
Research suggests that patients and families are most satisfied with their overall care (including the care from their doctors and hospitals) when hospice is in the home for three months or longer. Research also suggests that three weeks is the minimum length of hospice care for patients and families to begin to experience the full benefit of emotional support and guidance. However, at any point that a person has gone home to live out an advanced disease, Avatar Home Health Agency should be there to help, even if that is a short time.