Healthcare Provider Resources
Our commitment to you, your patients and their loved ones
Here to support you
Caring for seriously ill and medically complex patients often presents many challenges. Our team is here to assist with symptom management, disease progression education, emotional and spiritual support, and caregiver resources and guidance. Recognizing that every individual has unique needs and care preferences, we are here to collaborate with you to honor and respect patient wishes while supporting their loved ones.
We help care for those with life-limiting illness
- Any life-limiting illness with a terminal prognosis of 6 months or less
- Care is focused on improving quality of life, symptom management and comfort
- Patients and their loved ones receive comprehensive psychosocial, emotional and spiritual care from an interdisciplinary team available on a 24/7 basis
- Care provided anywhere home is -- a private residence, nursing home, assisted living facility, or group home
- Grief support is provided for loved ones for 13 months after experiencing a loss
- We provide durable medical equipment, supplies and medications related to the terminal illness
- Our services are covered in full by Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurances
Patient assessment - common triggers to refer to hospice
- Terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less
- Complex symptom management needs
- Increased pain associated with disease progression
- Weight loss of more than 10 lbs in the past month
- Chronic infections or wounds that are not healing
- Cognitive and functional decline associated with disease progression
- 3 or more visits to an ER/Urgent Care in past 6 months
If you have any doubt about hospice eligibility, please contact us.
Home Connections - home-based palliative care for adults
Home Connections is a home-based palliative care program for adults residing in a private residence or assisted living community in Erie County. The goal of the program is to improve symptom management and to enhance quality of life for those struggling with serious illness. Palliative care is provided in collaboration with the primary physician, specialists and other healthcare agencies.
- Case management for adult patients and families facing serious illness
- Ongoing collaboration with primary care physician and specialists
- Our trained palliative care team includes: RN case manager, NP, social worker, palliative care medical director oversight and volunteers
- 24/7 RN availability and collaboration to help with patient surveillance
- Can be introduced during any stage of illness (does not require a “terminal” diagnosis)
- Can be provided alongside curative treatments
- Acuity based visit frequency to increase support when needed
- Additional layer of support for symptom management
- Assistance with education on disease progression, goals of care discussions and advance directive completion
- Emotional support and linkage to community resources
- Goal is to help patients remain home and reduce avoidable ER visits and hospital stays
- Covered by many Highmark (BlueCross and BlueShield), Independent Health plans and all Univera plans. Services are also available on self-pay basis
Patient assessment - triggers to refer to home based palliative care
- Symptom burden from disease and/or treatments
- Frequent ER visits or hospitalizations
- Uncontrolled symptoms
- Chronic progressive disease
- Psychosocial/emotional issues related to the stress of illness
- Complex medical decision making associated with a new diagnosis or disease progression
Learn more about the differences between hospice care and palliative care
Essential Care for Children - home-based palliative care for children
Essential Care for Children offers home-based palliative care focused on addressing medical, psychosocial, spiritual and practical needs to improve quality of life for a child and family facing serious illness. Our interdisciplinary team works closely with the child’s pediatrician and specialists to improve symptom management and to help children thrive at home.
- Case management for children and families facing serious illness
- Offered during any stage of illness (does not require a “terminal” diagnosis) • Continued pursuit of curative treatment(s)
- Our team includes specially trained nurses, social workers, spiritual care counselors, expressive therapists and volunteers
- Pediatrician and specialists remain involved
- Goals of care discussions and disease education provided
- Linkage to support services and community resources
- 24/7 RN on call support and collaboration to reduce utilization of the ER and hospitalization
Grief and loss support
The hospice benefit includes bereavement support for loved ones for 13 months after a loss of a loved one in hospice care.
The Wilson Support Center also provides sensitive and compassionate complimentary grief resources, support and education to meet the needs of the WNY community. Resources are available to anyone experiencing grief or loss, including children and adults.
Common questions about hospice care and palliative care
Yes, you can. Primary attending physicians continue to bill Medicare Part B and other carriers for the patient’s regular office visits or for all covered services. Billing codes are also available for care-plan oversight, so reimbursement can be obtained for telephone calls to nurses, as well.
The hospice interdisciplinary team makes regular visits to the patient’s home based on the individual needs of the patient and family caregivers. In addition, a hospice Registered Nurse and other team members are available via telephone 24/7 to provide guidance and support, or make in-person visits to address needs, regardless of where the patient calls home. When a hospice patient is receiving care in a private residence, a loved one is commonly the primary caregiver. Our team works closely with family members to educate and guide them. Additionally, the hospice team provides care and support to hospice patients and staff members working in long-term care facilities.
If a patient is enrolled in one of our home-based palliative care programs, the primary care physician and all other healthcare providers remain involved in care. Our team will offer an additional layer of support offering case management, care coordination and symptom management.
Patients enrolled in hospice care may select the physician to oversee and attend to their care. This can be the primary care physician, a specialist or a hospice physician.
We are here to assist in determining medical eligibility.
Refer a patient online and we will review and contact you.
Our home-based palliative care programs do not include home health aide services; however, patients enrolled in hospice care are eligible to receive assistance with personal care, pending the needs of the patient.
Palliative care or hospice care may be an option, regardless of the diagnosis.
Hospice eligibility requires a life-liming, terminal diagnosis of 6 months if the disease follows its natural course.
Home-based palliative care is available at any age or any stage of a serious illness, when care decisions are complex and additional symptom management will assist in enhancing quality of life. Palliative care patients are often pursuing curative treatment.
Many palliative care and hospice care patients have chronic diseases such as:
- COPD/Cardio-pulmonary disease
- Congestive heart disease
- Liver or renal disease
- Neurological disease (non-Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, and Huntington’s disease
Refer a patient
We are here to collaborate and support you in caring for your patients and caregivers faced with serious illness or life-limiting illness.
If you are ready to refer your patient to Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo, the process is simple. We need:
- Patient’s insurance
- Personal information
- A few details regarding the patient’s diagnosis