Our Journey – How We Started and How We Work
The Palliativteam Hochtaunus began providing specialised palliative care and holistic support services to the Hochtaunus district in July 2013. Prior to this, palliative care for patients in the Hochtaunuskreis region was managed by teams based in the neighboring towns of Frankfurt, Wetterau and the Main-Taunus.
Legislation supports provision of a dedicated palliative team for every 250,000 inhabitants. Of patients with serious or life-limiting illnesses, only 10-20% requires ‘specialised outpatient palliative care’ (SAPV) to relieve suffering from complex symptoms in order to improve quality of life. The remaining 80-90% of patients with serious or life-limiting illnesses receive general outpatient palliative care (AAPV) delivered by their family doctor or patient services team along side hospice volunteers.
The Palliativteam Hochtaunus is an independent holistic team founded by Dr. Elisabeth Lohmann and Dr. Robert Gaertner. Our team works closely with the main Hochtaunus Hospital and with other clinics in the region. However, our team members are not directly employed by the hospital or clinics.
This independence gives us greater freedom in implementing holistic support for patients and their family members, as well as the ability to create a good work-life balance for our team members.
Our palliative care services start once a prescription has been issued. When issued by a hospital, the prescription is usually for a seven day period to ensure a smooth hospital-to-home transition. In most cases though, a family doctor, generalist or specialist physician usually prescribes palliative care services. In this case, services are generally prescribed for a period of three to four weeks, which can be renewed as the situation requires. Once a patient’s condition stabilizes, palliative care services are usually suspended.
Our palliative care support services are both in addition to and complimentary to ongoing care provided by generalists, specialists, nurses and hospice volunteers.
Legislation in 2007 established that health insurance providers cover the cost of specialised palliative care services for all of their subscribers requiring these services. For privately insured individuals needing palliative care, private health insurance providers reserve the right to review provision of services on case-by-case basis, but generally ensure benefits equal to or beyond those provided by statutory health insurance providers.
In relation to our work, health insurance funds finance two key professional categories within our team -- palliative care givers and palliative care physicians. Other services integral to our holistic support – including psychological support, homeopathy and pastoral support – do not receive any public or health insurance financing. We rely entirely on private donations to support provision of these very important services.
Should you wish to support our work at Palliativteam Hochtaunus, we would be grateful for all donations. Your support will enable us to continue providing much needed specialised palliative care and holistic support services throughout the Hochtaunus district.
Please feel free to contact us for further information, or with any questions you may have.