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Frequently Asked Questions

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. Although the length of a palliative home health visit is similar to hospice, the visit frequency is much more often in hospice.

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.

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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 to patients is the 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.

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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.

What types of Advanced Directives are there?

A Medical Power of Attorney for Health Care 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. There is another type of advanced directive called a “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.

A Do Not Resuscitate or DNR order is a written order from a doctor or expressed in a living will that states that resuscitation should not be attempted if a person suffers a cardiac or respiratory arrest. A DNR is commonly done 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.

NOTE: Advanced Directives are not necessary for a patient to receive AIM Palliative Home Health.

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

For more information about the services provided by AIM, ask your physician, your health care professional or call the AIM office located in your area. A complete list of locations is shown on the Locations page of this website.

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