LECOM Health Visiting Nurse Association of Erie County

Are you, a family member or friend residing in Erie County, PA, facing an end-of-life situation? Are you looking for Hospice information for yourself or someone you care about? Find out if Hospice is the answer for your loved one or yourself by answering these simple questions…

Have you or your loved one…

1. Started needing help from others with two or more of the following:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Getting out of bed
  • Walking
  • Eating

2. Started feeling weaker or more tired?

3. Been hospitalized or gone to the emergency room several times in the past six months?

4. Been making more frequent phone calls to your physicians?

5. Started taking medication to lessen physical pain?

6. Started spending most of the day in a chair or bed?

7. Fallen several times over the past six months?

8. Experienced unexplained weight loss so that clothes are noticeably looser?

9. Noticed a shortness of breath, even while resting?

10. Been told by a doctor that life expectancy is limited?

If you have answered YES to any of these questions, there’s a good chance that Hospice is the right answer for you or your loved one. . .and VNA Hospice can help.

Contact us online or CALL for immediate response, (814) 454-2831.

How can VNA Hospice help?

Hospice is a philosophy of care that provides pain and symptom management when cure is no longer an option. Hospice is a set of services, like a safety net, surrounding patients and their families with experts in the fields of pain and symptom management, in physical, emotional and psychological care, spiritual support and grief support. The VNA Hospice Team collaborates closely with the patient’s own physician to create a plan of care which is driven by the needs and wishes of the patient, family and loved ones. Hospice is a compassionate, patient and caregiver centered approach to medical care and support at the end of life. The focus is maintaining dignity, increasing quality of life and providing comfort, including pain and symptom control. Hospice recognizes that every person’s experience will be different. The VNA Hospice Team creates a plan of care according to the individual needs and wishes of each patient and in coordination with the patient’s own physician. It is the mission of hospice staff to walk side-by-side with patients and offer support, not only for any physical symptoms, but for emotional and spiritual needs as well. This support extends to family members and caregivers, as hospice helps them cope with their own unique emotional and spiritual concerns.

Hospice isn’t just for people who have cancer. Hospice benefits are available to all patients with a limited life expectancy. The patient must choose to elect hospice, and the patient’s eligibility must be certified by a physician. Other diagnoses/conditions may qualify a person for hospice care including: ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Adult Failure to Thrive Cancer Chronic Degenerative Neurologic Disease Dementia End Stage Decline & Debility Heart Disease HIV/AIDS Huntington’s Disease Kidney Disease Liver Disease Non-Specific Terminal Illness Parkinson’s Disease Pulmonary Disease Stroke or Coma

nurse-and-volNow is the best time to learn more about hospice care and ask questions about what to expect. Although end-of-life care may be difficult to discuss, it is best for loved ones and family members to share their wishes long before it becomes a concern. This can greatly reduce stress when the time for hospice becomes apparent. By having these discussions in advance, uncomfortable situations can be avoided. Instead, educated decisions can be made that include the advice and input of loved ones. Anyone can inquire about hospice services. You or your loved one may call VNA Hospice and request services. VNA Hospice staff will then contact the patient’s physician to determine if a referral to hospice is appropriate. Another way to inquire about hospice is to talk with your physician, and he or she can make a referral to hospice. VNA Hospice can begin as soon as a ‘referral’ is made by the person’s doctor. VNA Hospice staff will then contact the person referred and set up an initial meeting to review the services to be offered, and to sign the necessary consent forms for care to begin.

denise1VNA Hospice services are provided by a team of Hospice-trained professionals including: Medical Director who oversees pain medication and other comfort care Registered Nurses who check medication and the patient’s condition, communicate with the patient’s doctor and educate family/caregivers Medical Social Workers who provide emotional support to the patient and family/caregivers Specialized Therapists who help patients adapt to new limitations, including: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy Pastoral Care Counselor who provides spiritual support for patient and family/caregivers if requested Nutritionist who provides counseling on diet Home Health Aides who provide personal care and comfort Volunteers who offer companionship, run errands or provide respite for caregivers Grief/Bereavement Counselor who provides support and counseling, conducts support groups and periodic check-ins during the first thirteen months after death VNA Hospice team members work closely with your doctor to provide care for the patient, family and caregivers.

sam2Hospice services are generally covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Medicaid HMO’s and most private insurances. Those services include visits from hospice team members and the medications, medical supplies and medical equipment related to the terminal illness. Also covered may be short term in-patient care for crisis management or respite care. Contact VNA for more information.

Our Medical Director works with your personal physician and our VNA Hospice team to develop a plan of care that is right for each patient’s individual situation and needs. Your doctor will continue to be involved in your care throughout the course of hospice care. VNA Hospice team members work closely with your physician to provide care for the patient, family and caregivers.

Hospice is available in your place of residence—your home, a retirement center, assisted living or nursing facility. When the patient’s care cannot be managed in the home, VNA Hospice can make arrangements with area facilities where family members and friends are encouraged to remain involved in the care of their loved one. The VNA Hospice Team works with each care facility to provide compassionate and quality end-of-life care to complement the services already provided by the facility’s staff.

grandmaVNA Hospice provides care for caregivers and family members as well as patients. Our Hospice team, including specially trained volunteers, is available to help with the education, training and respite of caregivers. Families who need extra assistance with caring for the day-to-day needs of their loved ones are directed to private duty agencies. The VNA Hospice program is designed to support and teach caregivers, and to work closely with other agencies.

Caregiver’s Bill of Rights and A Caregiver’s Guide

The VNA Hospice Team is expert at pain and symptom control. They work continually to find protocols for keeping patients comfortable and as alert and independent as possible. They work closely with each patient’s doctor to determine which medications will provide the best results.


family-largeHospice made the loss of our father an easier transition due to the educational material and the support of everyone who helped.”
Daughter of Hospice patient

“My Dad passed away in January. Without the support of VNA Hospice I don’t know how we would have managed. Our Hospice team was terrific. They were like family to all of us. Words cannot express our thanks for all their help. You “guys” are the best!”
Son of Hospice patient

“Although we only had Hospice care for four days, their support and help got me through the most difficult time of my life. Our VNA Hospice Nurse was there for me when I needed her the most. I will always be grateful for her care and understanding.”
Wife of Hospice patient

“I know I have said thank you before, but I just can’t say it enough. VNA is a wonderful organization. We could not have taken care of my mother without all of your help. You are very special people.”
Daughter of Hospice patient

“The Hospice team was very helpful during the last stage of our father’s life by explaining what we were seeing. They were also helpful in contacting individuals after his death (i.e., church, funeral home). Thank you for caring for our father and family!”
Daughter of Hospice patient

“Your initial response was fast and helpful. Every VNA Hospice person was excellent. Also, the interface with Sunrise (assisted living facility) staff was smooth and professional. I love you all for the care you gave to Mother.”
Daughter of Hospice patient

“We could not have felt more comfortable or more pleased with VNA Hospice Services. Everyone was so kind to my Mother and to us, and so caring—we were truly blessed to have you. And we shall always remember how peacefully she died because of you. Thank you so much for everything you did. We have recommended you to all of our family and friends.”
Daughter of Hospice patient

“The love and care of my brother from Hospice was beyond our expectation. We could not have made it without them.”
Sister of Hospice patient senior-thinking

Thinking About Hospice

senior-thinkingContact us or call for immediate response (800) 441-6821 or (814) 454-2831.