KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – After a series of short hospital stays, former President Jimmy Carter has entered home hospice care. Following this news, we looked into hospice care and what resources are available in our area.

Heather Wilkerson is the Director of Nursing at Sacred Ground Hospice House

“Hospice is end-of-life care. It is a way to get the most out of the end of life,” she said.

When a person’s life expectancy is six months or less a doctor can recommend that the patient receive hospice care.

“Everywhere that is room and board for a hospice patient is usually a private pay situation, but the hospice itself is covered by their Medicare,” Wilkerson explained. “So the hospice services are available in the home or if that’s not an option, then you can come here with hospice.”

Hospice can be done in-home or at a place like Sacred Ground Hospice House which is one of several hospice facilities in Knoxville.

“We work with our local hospice agencies,” she added. “They provide the skilled piece of hospice, and we get to do the caregiving piece.”

Wilkerson said she knows that it can be a difficult time for loved ones, which is why they work to make the experience as easy as possible by helping to take care of the fine details.

“We work with our social workers, we work with nurses, we have a great team that surrounds the patient with holistic care.”

Hospice care is meant to allow both patients and those they love the ability to spend quality time together no matter how long that time may be.

Wilkerson said, “whether it is a fit for our facility or a better fit somewhere else, I am happy to navigate that with you because I know that, that is a huge struggle,” she said. “I would say a lot of the calls I take are just that, ‘what’s next?’ I’m happy to walk anybody through that.”

Sacred Ground Hospice House depends on volunteers to help keep its facility running. If you would like to find out how you may be able to help you can click here.