Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice 



Q - Who is Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice?

A - Established in 2002, Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice is a program which provides medical and emotional support for the terminal patient and his/her family in Brazoria County. We have a thrift shop to help support the care of patients in the county, as well as helping our neighbors in need.

Q - Where is hospice?

A - The home of the patient or his family is the primary place for hospice care. If the patient experiences a crisis in pain or symptom management, he/she may be hospitalized for brief periods of time. Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice has an arrangement with a hospital to provide inpatient hospice care.

Q - What is hospice?

A - Hospice as a strictly clinical designation means the patient has been given 6 months (or less) to live.

However, beyond purely clinical terms, none of us can predict the inevitability of any future outcome. Therefore, we place a special focus on the power of choice and the preservation of life and the quality of life in every possible way.

Hospice care s designed to be palliative - this means that its chief objective is to alleviate pain and provide comfort and serenity at the end of life.

Every life is unique and special; the end of life can be a time of profound awareness and contentment, or a time of intense fear and sadness. Sometimes it is a combination of both.

The job of any hospice provider is to prepare and nurture the patient with ultimate love and dedication at this crucial time.

The actual care, involves a a robust and interdisiiplinary approach, including the promise of confidential comfort, care compassion and counseling.

You see, Hospice is not "a place," but a philosophy of care.

This care may be provided in several different settings, depending upon the will of the patient:

  • In-home Care: Many patients desire to live at home and be cared for at home during their final months of life.
  • In-patient Care: If pain and symptoms cannot be managed at home, a patient may be admitted to an approved contracted nursing facility.

The "Heart" of Hospice Care

At its very core, Hospice is about respecting a person's right of self determination. Every individual has a right to choose how they would like to spend the last chapter of their life.

The fole of the Hospice provider is to help honor that choice by providing the requisite care to both the patient and the family, including:

  • The right to have their specific needs considered on an individual basis.
  • The right to maintain their dignity and sense of autonomy.
  • The right to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.
  • The right to actively participate in decision making and care planning.
  • The right to remain in the location of their own choosing.
  • Post-Life Care and Services

    Everyone experiences the loss of a loved one differently. Grieving is a process that can take time, and it is the job of the Hospice provider to navigate these vicissitudes together with the family.

    The first step of the healing process is adjusting to the new reality. A good Hospice provider will have a specialized "Bereavement Program" which places emphasis on proving comfort and guidance during this challenging time.

    In some instances, counseling begins prior to the end of life and while the hospice patient still has the ability to participate. Other times, the grievng family simply needs a shoulder to cry on and help with saying a proper goodbye. In many instances, families requre help with resolving unfinished business and conflicting emotions.

    First and foremost, the hospice provider should offer trained and sympathetic listeners.

    There are at least several factors that can influence a person's response to bereavement:

  • His or her relationship with the deceased.
  • The supporting role of the family in the care of the patient.
  • Reaction to any previous loss and their remembrance of that event.
  • The length of the illness.
  • The particular disposition of the individual and their emotional expression.
  • Overall health and particular lifestyle
  • In the final analysis, it is always important to remember that hospice care starts before death but doesn't end with death.

    Instead, families need the emotional support to cope with grief in order to properly heal.

    Q - Which doctor will take care of the patient?

    A - The referring physician may choose to maintain control of the care of the patient. This is the most common arrangement. If the patient is to be admitted to the inpatient unit of the hospital and the referring physician does not have admitting privileges there, the medical director will take responsibility for the inpatient care and return the patient to his doctor on discharge from the hospital.

    Q - What is the hospice team?

    A - A team made up of representatives from a variety of disciplines provides hospice care. These include:

  • The Registered Nurse (RN) is the team leader and performs the initial assessment. She/he monitors the patient's condition, reporting changes and problems to the physician. She/he teaches the family how to care for the patient and performs skilled nursing tasks.
  • After the initial assessment, a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) may perform many of the same tasks as the RN.
  • The Medical Social Worker provides psychosocial support for the patient, family and the hospice staff. She/he also assists with community referrals and financial concerns.
  • The Home Health Aid provides personal care of the patient such as bathing, changing the linens, the shampoo, etc.
  • The patient's personal minister generally provides Clergy Services. However, arrangements can be made for spiritual counseling, if needed, by volunteer chaplains.
  • Hospice Volunteers help patients and families, just as a friend might, by assisting with household tasks, running errands, telephoning or visiting.
  • The Medical Director serves as consultant to staff and referring physicians, attends team meetings and oversees the medical aspects of the hospice program.
  • Q - Who is eligible for hospice care?

    A - To be admitted to the hospice program, a patient must meet the following criteria:

  • The patient must have a diagnosis of terminal cancer. A non cancer diagnosis will be considered on a case by case basis following consultation between the attending physician and the medical director.
  • The patient must be certified as having a life expectancy of six months or less. All definitive therapy must be over.
  • The patient and his/her family must be aware of the diagnosis and prognosis.
  • The patient must reside in Brazoria County.
  • The patient must have a consistently available relative or friend who can capably provide total patient care between hospice team visits.
  • Q - When should a patient be referred to hospice?

    A - When the patient has six months or less to live, all attempts to cure have been abandoned and the patient/family has been told of the prognosis, then the patient should be referred to hospice.

    It is best not to wait until death is imminent since the team will not have time to establish rapport or intervene effectively. It takes several visits for the family to get to know the staff and trust their advice and counseling.

    It is not necessary for the patient/family to be accepting of the prognosis for referral to hospice to be made. Frequently denial and anger are appropriate coping mechanisms for persons dealing with such stress. The hospice team will respect the wishes of the patient/family in how they view the illness.

    Q - What is the admission procedure?

    A - Anyone may make the initial request for service by calling 979-297-3775. The patient, a family member or physician may make contact. The admissions RN will record the vital information and contact the patient's physician for orders and permission to admit the patient to the hospice program.

    An initial visit is usually made within twenty four hours of the referral. At that time, the patient's condition and needs are assessed. The RN will explain services, discuss how other team members will be visiting and answer any questions.

    Q - Who Pays for Hospice care?

    A - Medicare, Medicaid and some private insurance pay for the care given by the hospice team. If a patient does not have any payment source, he/she may pay all or part of the bill, personally. No one is denied service because of an inability to pay.

    Q - How can I help?

    A - There are many ways to help Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice.

  • One is to tell people about our program so that everyone who needs hospice care will have the opportunity to receive it.
  • Another way to help is to volunteer. Volunteers are people just like you who receive special training to learn to become effective in helping families in crisis. No experience is necessary. Some volunteers work in the office, helping with clerical tasks. Others assist in special projects. Some are teachers and consultants for staff and volunteers. While still others operate the thrift shop. There are many ways to get involved. If you think you might like to volunteer, call 979-297-3775 and ask for the volunteer department.
  • A third way to assist Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice is financially. Money is always needed to pay for indigent care and to buy medicine and supplies, which are not obtainable through other resources. All donations are put to good use on behalf of our patients. Many people choose to designate Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice in the obituary to receive donations in lieu of flowers. Suggested wording is "In lieu of flowers, send donations to Helping Hands and Hearts Hospice, 103 Circle Way Suite 100, Lake Jackson, Texas, 77566".
  • Still another way to help is to visit our Thrift Shop (458 Plantation <H-E-B Shopping Center> Lake Jackson, TX 77566 to either purchase or donate items. All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt is available upon request.
  • In order to carry out this difficult task, we need your help in all these ways. Providing quality physical and emotional assistance to the terminally ill is our mission.

    Page Last Updated: 06-Jan-2016