If you have a question about The Carpenter Health Network, feel free to contact us or browse the Frequently Asked Questions using the categories on the left.

St. Joseph Hospice

Where can hospice services be provided?

Hospice can be provided wherever the person is residing, such as: their home, a nursing home, an assisted living community, a hospital, or hospice.

How much will hospice services cost?

Medicare beneficiaries pay little or nothing for hospice, and most insurance plans, HMOs, and managed care plans include hospice coverage.

How long can hospice care be provided?

Hospice patients and families can receive care for six months or longer, depending on the course of the illness.

Does choosing hospice mean giving up?

Hospice focuses on living; living as fully as possibly up until the end of life and aggressively managing symptoms such as pain. With hospice care, the focus changes from trying to cure the underlying disease to treating the symptoms caused by the disease, so that the patient is comfortable.

Can hospice care prolong the life of someone diagnosed with a terminal illness?

Hospice and palliative care may prolong the lives of some terminally ill patients. In a 2007 study, the mean survival was 29 days longer for hospice patients than for non-hospice patients. In other words, patients who chose hospice care lived an average of one month longer than similar patients who did not choose hospice care. Longer lengths of survival were found in four of the six disease categories studied. The largest difference in survival between the hospice and non-hospice cohorts was observed in congestive heart failure patients where the mean survival period jumped from 321 days to 402 days. The mean survival period was also significantly longer for hospice patients with lung cancer (39 days) and pancreatic cancer (21 days), while marginally significant for colon cancer (33 days). Source: Connor S.R., Pyenson B., Fitch K., Spence C., Iwasaki K. Comparing hospice and non-hospice patient survival among patients who die within a three year window. Pain Symptom Management; 2007 March; 33(3):238-46.

Does hospice require switching doctors?

The primary doctor can continue to follow and be involved in the patient’s care. The Carpenter Health Network has physicians who are board-certified in hospice and palliative care, who are available to assist the primary physician in the care of the patient.

Is hospice care only for those diagnosed with cancer?

No. Hospice services are available for anyone who has a life-limiting illness. People who suffer from heart disease, dementia, stroke, lung disease, liver failure and renal failure may be eligible. Over fifty percent of hospice patients have illnesses other than cancer.

Is hospice the same as traditional home health (THH)?

No. The focus of THH is rehabilitative, while the focus of hospice is comfort care and the enhancement of quality of life. Hospice provides volunteers, chaplains (spiritual care counselors), around-the-clock clock bedside care (continuous care), and up to 13 months of bereavement services. THH does not provide these services. THH visits are usually 1-2 times per week where hospice visits can average 4-5 times per week.

Is hospice the same as palliative home health (PHH)?

No. PHH combines the medical model of THH and the psychosocial model of hospice and is provided to those patients who wish to continue curative treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation, and dialysis. PHH visits are performed by palliative care trained staff, visit duration is much the same as hospice, and cases are reviewed weekly by a palliative care team, just like hospice. The main difference between hospice and PHH is the frequency of visits. While hospice staff may see a patient 4-5 times per week, PHH visits, though longer in duration, are more similar to THH (1-2 times per week). Hospice also offers around-the-clock bedside care (continuous care), if needed. For more information about PHH, visit AIM Home Health.

Does hospice provide much in the way of services?

Besides our most important asset, our staff, hospice also provides medications, equipment (such as oxygen), and supplies related to symptom management of the terminal illness.

Is it possible that there’s no hospice agency in my area?

Less than one percent of Medicare beneficiaries live in an area where hospice is not available.

Are hospice services for the patient only?

Hospice provides support to the patient, family members, and caregivers. Up to 13 months of bereavement services such as telephone calls, cards, and memorial services are available to loved ones.

What criterion is necessary to be admitted to hospice service?

To qualify for hospice care, the following conditions must be met: 1) Two physicians must agree that the patient has an estimated life expectancy of six months or less, if the illness runs its normal course; 2) The patient and family desire palliative care; 3) A physician has been identified to coordinate care of the patient and the patient must reside in agency’s service area.

What are some of the diagnoses of patients who receive hospice care?

Diagnoses may include: cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; heart disease; dementia (Alzheimer’s); end stage renal disease; stroke; end stage liver disease; failure to thrive; unspecified debility; Lou Gehrig’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; and AIDS.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of a terminal patient that would be appropriate for hospice?

Signs and symptoms may include:  patient not eating or drinking well enough to sustain weight; weight loss of 10% or more in 6 months or less; recurrent infections in last 6 months; frequent hospitalizations in last 6 months; patient or family refuses artificial nutrition and hydration methods; patient refuses hospitalization or other aggressive treatments; patient has optimal treatment, but continues to exacerbate; and a significant decline in overall health due to multiple medical and function problems.

What is an advanced directive?

An Advanced Directive is a document that provides a person the opportunity to give directions about future medical care. It can also serve as a legal document designating another individual (proxy or health agent) to make decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions yourself. This document will express your wishes if you become incapacitated. It covers your specific preferences for the kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want. It contains how you want people to treat you, and what you want your loved ones to know. NOTE: Advanced Directives are not necessary for a patient to receive AIM Palliative Home Health.

What types of advanced directives are there?
  • A Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care: This type of advanced directive allows you to name an individual to make health care decisions when you are not able to do so. This person may also be referred to as a proxy or health care agent.
  • Living Will: A living will specifies whether you would like to be kept on artificial life support if you become permanently unconscious or dying and unable to speak for yourself.
  • Do Not Resuscitate/DNR Order: A DNR order exists in a written order from a doctor or in a living will, and states that resuscitation should not be attempted if a person suffers a cardiac or respiratory arrest. A DNR order is commonly created when a person who has an inevitably fatal illness wishes to have a more natural death without painful or invasive medical procedures that will not reverse the outcome of the terminal illness.
  • LaPOST document: Created with input from health care and legal professionals across the state and approved in 2010 by the Louisiana Legislature as Act 954, the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) document is a best-practice model for patients with serious, advanced illnesses to state their preferences for end-of-life treatment in a physician's order. Learn more about LaPOST at http://www.lhcqf.org/.
How does hospice manage pain?

Hospice physicians and nurses are experts at pain and symptom control. They are continually developing new protocols for keeping patients comfortable, alert, and as independent as possible. Nurses trained specifically in palliative care know which medications and combinations provide the best results for each patient.

What is home health care?

Home health care refers to any type of medical care that is provided to the patient in their home. Home health care usually includes assisting persons who are recovering from illness, injury or surgery; those who are disabled or chronically ill; persons diagnosed with a terminal illness who wish to continue curative treatments such as dialysis, chemotherapy, or radiation; and those who require therapeutic treatment and/or assistance with the essential activities of daily living (ADLs).

What is a home health agency?

A home health agency (HHA) is an organization that provides services, including skilled nursing care and home care aide services, as well as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and medical social services. If you use a home health agency, the agency will hire and supervise the clinical staff that comes into your home. The agency assumes full liability for all care and is responsible for all employee taxes and benefits.

What is a “needs assessment”?

If home health care is deemed necessary by a physician, your home health agency will conduct a “needs assessment,” which is a detailed evaluation of your situation that confirms the need for services ordered and identifies any other beneficial services. The assessment is usually made by a registered nurse and helps the agency tailor a care plan to meet your needs. After reviewing it with you and before finalizing the plan, the agency advises your physician of its assessment and presents the plan for his/her approval. The plan outlines details, including treatment goals, the specific services and level of care that will be provided, and any medical equipment and supplies that may be required.

What is a Medicare certified home health agency?

A Medicare certified home health agency has met federal requirements for patient care management, called Conditions of Participation, set forth in federal regulations. These agencies can therefore provide home health services that are eligible for reimbursement by Medicare.

Will Medicare pay for my home health care needs?

Home health care is covered under the Part A Medicare benefit. Medicare will help pay for your home health care if: 1) You are homebound; 2) You need skilled nursing or skilled therapy services on an intermittent basis (less than seven days a week), or skilled therapy on a part-time basis (less than eight hours a day); 3) Your physician certifies your need for care; and 4) You receive care from a Medicare certified home health agency.

How does home care differ from home health care?

While home care can be used to describe both medical and non-medical care, typically home care refers to non-medical care such as companionship/homemaking services or personal care services, while home health care refers to the provision of skilled nursing care and other care such as speech, physical, or occupational therapy.

Why choose home health care?

Home health care is delivered in the home and permits the patient to live independently in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Home health care is particularly important in times of illness or recuperation, when families desire to be near one another for support and can provide an alternative to premature admission to a long-term care facility. Since most people would prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, home health care can provide a level of service that is customizable to the client’s needs. Because care is provided in the home, many risks, such as infection, are eliminated or minimized, thus promoting quicker and safer healing. Patients at home can remain active in their customary daily routines while receiving one-on-one care and attention, monitored by their own physician. Home care is less expensive than other forms of care and is the preferred form of care. National studies have shown that 95% of consumers age 75 and older prefer to stay in their home for as long as possible.

Can I choose the home health care provider I would like to use?

Yes. Patients have the right to choose the provider they desire according to each individual’s Bill of Rights.

How do I arrange for home health care services?

Home health care services are usually recommended by your physician or by a social worker or discharge planner at the hospital if you are being discharged from a hospital stay. These individuals will generally initiate your referral to a recommended agency; however, the patient has the right to request an agency of their choosing. You may contact a home health agency at any time and ask for assistance in starting services. To request initiation of home health care services with STAT Home Health, contact the office in your area.

In what areas are STAT Home Health services available?

In Louisiana, STAT Home Health serves a 50-mile radius surrounding each of our provider number offices which are located in Alexandria, Breaux Bridge, LaPlace, and Sibley. In order to ensure maximum reach into our service areas, we also operate satellite offices throughout the state within these areas as well. Our Pensacola office provides service to Region 1 (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa & Walton Counties).  Our Southeast Texas offices cover areas surrounding Bellaire, League City, Huntsville, and Houston. For a complete listing of our offices, visit our Locations page.

What if I have a problem during the night or on a weekend?

STAT Home Health provides on-call clinical staff 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

What is the difference between traditional home health and AIM Palliative Home Health?

Traditional home health service is offered to those with brief illness or debilitating circumstances that are not considered terminal. Palliative home health is provided to patients facing terminal illness who wish to continue life-extending or curative treatment, or need more time to explore options. The AIM team is better prepared to handle the needs of patients facing terminal illness because they are experienced in providing services to palliative care and hospice patients. This team is also available to transition with the patient into hospice care if and when that decision is made. Patients and family members have the comfort in knowing their caregivers will not change.

Because palliative home health combines the medical model of traditional home health and the psychosocial model of hospice, visits are often longer in duration; however the frequency of visits follows the traditional home health model (typically 1-2 visits per week) than the hospice model (up to 4-5 visits per week).

What is a chronic or advanced illness?

Chronic illnesses are medical conditions that are persistent or develop slowly over time which can cause long-term changes in the body. Some examples of chronic illnesses are cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, HIV, and diseases of the heart, kidney, lung, and liver. This includes congestive heart failure, COPD, renal failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and any end-stage disease.

Sometimes a chronic illness advances to something more serious and a patient may require the expertise of trained medical personnel who specialize in palliative care. Palliative care (also called “comfort care”) is any form of medical care or treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms. It focuses on the pain, symptom, and stress of serious illness. Palliative care may be provided at any time during a chronic illness and may be given at the same time as curative treatment.

Who can benefit from the services of AIM Palliative Home Health?

Anyone with a terminal illness needing time and information to make an informed decision and set goals will benefit, especially:

  • Dialysis patients who plan to continue dialysis treatments
  • Cancer patients who plan to continue radiation treatments
  • Cancer patients who plan to continue chemotherapy treatments
  • Advanced heart disease patients who want to explore options
  • Advanced COPD patients who want to explore options
  • Alzheimer’s patients needing prolonged evaluation and family education
What type of healthcare professionals make up the AIM Team?

All members of the AIM Team are trained to provide services to palliative care and hospice patients, so they have a unique understanding of the needs of those facing a terminal illness. Team members include:

  • Board-certified hospice and palliative care physicians
  • Registered/licensed practical nurses
  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Social workers
  • Chaplains

Though palliative home health visits are less frequent than hospice visits, the patient and family are provided similar services as those received by a hospice patient from the same qualified and compassionate staff, while they continue to see curative treatments. The bond between the patient/family and their healthcare providers is a strong one that is built on trust and confidence. With the AIM program, if at some point the patient and family decide to utilize the services of hospice care, they have the comfort of knowing that their team of healthcare providers will remain the same.

Can AIM Palliative Home Health serve nursing home patients?

No. Home health does not extend coverage into nursing homes. However, if the patient transitions into the hospice model of palliative care, the AIM Team may transition with the patient into hospice. Once in hospice, palliative services are available within the nursing home.

An important benefit of AIM Palliative Home Health to patients is its ability to exist as an alternative to nursing homes. Home health may serve patients in assisted living and independent living. Often patients are able to delay or avoid nursing home placement with enhanced services of palliative home health while living at home, or in assisted living or independent living centers.

Who can I call for more information about AIM Palliative Home Health?

For more information about the services provided by AIM, ask your physician, or your health care professional, or call the AIM office located in your area. View our Locations page for more information.

Who are the members of the hospice team?

A hospice coordinator or director, physicians (medical director), nurses, chaplains, social workers, volunteers, dietitians, certified nursing assistants, counselors, pharmacists, and therapists (physical, occupational, etc.).

What are some of the services volunteers provide?

Volunteers may help patients and families directly with chores and companionship. Support is a very important part of being a hospice volunteer. For more information, see our Volunteer Services page.

How can I become a hospice volunteer?

See our volunteer services page, and contact the hospice office in your area for more information on becoming a volunteer. You may be required to attend an interview and complete a training program.

What are the criteria for receiving care at home from Homedica’s Medical House Calls team?

The patient has limited mobility and it’s a hardship to transport him/herself to the doctor’s office.

Will my insurance cover the cost of visits by Medical House Calls?

Medicare and most major insurance companies cover the majority of the cost of the home visit.

Who provides care during a visit by Medical House Calls?

Medical care is provided by a team comprised of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

What services can a nurse practitioner and physician assistant provide?

Most major chronic illnesses can be treated and monitored without leaving your home. Services provided can include X-rays, EKG, ultrasounds, and labs. We can give various injections, including flu, joint, and other routine medications.

How can a Medical House Calls visit be initiated?

Contact the Homedica office at 225-766-4133.

Do you accept residents admitted directly from home?

Absolutely. However, there are a few documents we will need to be completed by a physician first. We will need a history and physical, current chest X-ray, and TB test results.

When I am ready to be discharged from the hospital, can I choose my own nursing home?

You may go to any nursing home or long-term care facility of your choice. We always encourage families to actually tour a nursing facility first. If you feel that Capitol House is right for you, we welcome you to the family. Please view our Facilities page for more information and to take a virtual tour of Capitol House.

What are the visiting hours?

Capitol House is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We ask that family and friends take into consideration the hours that their loved ones are normally awake and visit during that time. We also understand that at times families feel the need to come and check on their loved ones late at night or early in the morning. Please feel free to come and visit. To visit Capitol House after 8:00 p.m., come to front east entrance and push the intercom for admittance.

Are private rooms available?

Capitol House does have a limited number of private rooms. Please contact our Social Services department at 225-275-0474 for private room availability.

If a room is not available at Capitol House when I am ready, may I transfer at a later date?

Yes, you may transfer to Capitol House from your home, hospital, or from another nursing home as soon as a room is available. Please continually stay in contact with us for your planned date of arrival so we can have your room accommodated to your requests and staff familiar with and ready to meet your individual needs.

What do the rooms look like?

Each room comes with a manual or electric hospital bed, night stand, bed side table, and closet space or armoire with drawers. Each room shares a vanity and commode with the adjoining room. 

Can I bring my own furniture?

Yes, you may bring anything that will make you more comfortable and fit safely in your room.

What type of wound care is available?

For those residents who need special wound care or preventative maintenance, we provide dedicated wound care nurses 7 days week. Our Monday-Friday wound care nurses are highly trained and experienced to treat, manage, and heal wounds. They help establish a wound healing program that the weekend wound care nurses can follow. We have an excellent reputation and success in our wound healing rate in our facility.

What kind of therapy is provided at Capitol House?

Capitol House provides licensed occupational, speech, respiratory, and physical therapists to meet the needs of our residents. We strongly believe in the “quality of life” and provide support and rehabilitative services to promote such. Our programs are broad enough to meet the needs of our entire population, while also giving a great deal of individual attention to each resident. 

What is ventilator management?

Capitol House Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is the only nursing facility in Baton Rouge that provides a respiratory unit dedicated to ventilator management. Capitol House provides a skilled level of care for patients who require long-term respiratory dependence on sophisticated technology in settings other than the acute care hospital.

We provide highly technical skilled respiratory services and nursing care to meet the intense level of respiratory needs for the ventilator dependent residents 24/7. We provide quality specialty care for patients requiring a longer acute care recovery period. We specialize in the treatment of complex, acute, and chronic conditions due to catastrophic illness or severe injury. 

These specialized needs are performed by a staff of respiratory therapists, nurses, social workers, etc., under the supervision of a qualified physician and interdisciplinary team at Capitol House. Respiratory therapists, nurses, and CNAs are on staff at Capitol House 24/7.

What other services are available?

Capitol House is more than a nursing facility. Our residents call it home. Input from every department goes into the individualized plan of care for each resident. Nursing, social services, recreation, diet, and therapy are considered when establishing the most effective way to care for that resident.

Capitol House provides rehabilitation services, 24 hour nursing services, ventilator management, aggressive wound care treatment/healing, a progressive and productive activities program, nutritional services, sand a skilled care unit. We are sensitive to the individual needs of each resident; their comfort and happiness comes first. Capitol House is licensed by the State of Louisiana, Medicaid/Medicare certified, and has met and satisfied all state standards.

What activities are available?

Capitol House offers a wide range of activities. We have bingo, pokeno, and other activities like arts and crafts and resident outings. Church services are given three times a week and we also have movie/popcorn day on Fridays. We offer a very enthusiastic group exercise seven days a week. This 10am gathering has a tremendous amount of participation and is led by our restorative nursing staff. Please contact our Activities Coordinator, Betty Long, for more information at 225-275-0474.

Is transportation available for patients?

Capitol House has its own van for transporting residents to appointments when the family is not able to. We have to schedule these trips in advance to make sure that all appointments can be met. We also use the van for sightseeing trips, shopping, and various activities and outings.

Does Capitol House care for special dietary needs?

The staff at Capitol House includes a registered dietician to ensure that the nutritional needs of each resident are met. Upon admission, each resident receives a nutritional and dietary assessment. This will outline any special needs as well as identify any particular food likes and dislikes. Meals are delicious and well-balanced, and served in our spacious and attractive dining hall.

Is Capitol House near public transport?

Yes, the Capitol Area Transit System operates on Florida Boulevard on weekdays and weekends. Our stop on the Capitol Area Transit System is located directly across from the facility.

Is Capitol House near shops?

Absolutely. Capitol House Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is located on Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Florida Boulevard is one of the most diverse streets in Baton Rouge, with the Mall of Cortana and Wal-Mart located only 3 miles from Capitol House. We are only about 2 miles from the I-12 interstate which will provide you easy access across and around the Baton Rouge area.