Hospice Care

 

Many people find themselves wondering, “What is hospice?” This special type of care focuses on providing physical, emotional and spiritual support to patients who are in the final stage of life. This concept of care benefits the patient and their loved ones by providing symptom management as needed and allowing the entire family to focus on enjoying quality time together.

Hospice is a common choice for many patients who are suffering from a serious or terminal disease and either no longer respond to curative treatments or elect not to continue receiving them. It is crucial to have realistic, open conversations with your loved one and their doctor(s) to determine their goals and when hospice might be the right choice. Unfortunately, the common trend in the United States is that patients, family members and even health care professionals tend to hesitate when it comes to choosing hospice.

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Find Hospice Care

To find hospice care near you, search the AgingCare.com Hospice Directory. A Care Advisor will assist your family with finding hospice services. This service is provided free of charge.

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Hospice Services

A patient’s comfort and quality of life are the top priorities in hospice care, and these goals can be addressed with many techniques and in a number of different settings. This type of care can be provided in any place that a patient considers “home,” including a private residence, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and inpatient hospice houses. Not only do these services provide patients with relief from often intensive treatments, but they also provide respite for caregivers and family members. Loved ones are able to enjoy their time with the patient rather than focusing on meeting all of their daily care needs.

The 4 Levels of Hospice Care:

Services are provided in your loved one’s “home.” Hospice employees will visit on a regular basis depending on the patient’s needs and prescribed plan of care to provide nursing care, support and education. This could be daily, semiweekly, weekly, etc.

If a patient is experiencing difficulty managing their symptoms, they may receive up to 24 hours of care per day in their home setting. This option provides more frequent monitoring, usually by an RN, LPN, and/or a home health aide.

This can be provided to patients located anywhere in a hospital or another inpatient health care facility while their care needs exceed the abilities of both regular and continuous home care services. Hospice employees will work with facility staff to make sure care goals are met.

When family members or caregivers need a break from providing care or must see to other responsibilities, patients may temporarily stay in an inpatient setting to continue receiving hospice care.

Cost of Hospice Care

  • Hospice providers and organizations are funded through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursements, private contributions, fundraising events, and other supplements in order to alleviate patient and family costs as much as possible. Below are the most common forms of payment that families use for hospice services.
  • Medicare – If your loved one is eligible for Medicare, many aspects of their hospice care are probably covered. Just make sure they are receiving services through a provider that is certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Medicaid – Care is covered for eligible patients by most state Medicaid programs as long as the provider is certified by CMS. Keep in mind that these social health care programs vary from state to state, so coverage may differ.
  • Private Insurance – Most private insurance policies cover some sort of hospice benefit, allowing the patient to incur minimal out-of-pocket costs. Since there are many different plans available, coverage may vary.
  • TRICARE – This program provides health benefits for military personnel and veterans and covers hospice for these groups. However, TRICARE will only cover care provided by CMS-certified hospices.
  • Private Pay – If the above options are not available, the patient or their family may need to pay for care out-of-pocket.
  • Charitable Care – By law, no person can be refused hospice care because they are unable to pay. Local hospice providers may use grants, donations, and other sources to help fund care for patients who do not have insurance coverage or the ability to pay out-of-pocket.

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