Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient's pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life. Hospice care prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering.
Hospice care costs are covered by Medicare (through the Medicare Hospice Benefit), Medicaid (in most states), and The Veteran’s Health Administration.
Once you have chosen a hospice, the first step is to call and set up an initial assessment of the patient’s needs. The call can be made by a family member, the patient, the doctor, or someone at the hospital. A member of the hospice’s nursing staff will ask for initial information on the phone and then visit the patient in order to make a detailed assessment of their condition.
During this visit, the hospice will:
The hospice will then discuss with you whether hospice care is the most appropriate choice for you or your loved one.
You can directly contact us at Shores Hospice by sending us an email, calling our phone number, or using the form on the contact us page linked below.
Here are some common signs that it is time to consider hospice:
In deciding whether hospice care at home is right for you or your family member, you should think about these questions:
Making this decision will require open discussions with the patient, if he or she can participate in a discussion, but certainly within the family. Take the time to think this decision through, but try not to wait until the very last minute.
Patients with a terminal illness receive hospice care and services in the location that is most appropriate for them. Options include the following:
Most people receive hospice care through the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Medicaid and the Veteran’s Health Administration follow the Medicare benefit model.
The services that the Medicare Hospice Benefit covers are:
Keep two things clearly in mind:
The services provided depend on what the patient and the family need. Which services a patient receives and how often services are received are based on the needs of each patient and family. The services that are provided can be adjusted as the situation of the patient and family change over time. When patients decide to receive hospice care, the hospice talks with them about what their personalized care involves.
Some hospices provide additional services beyond those covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit or other insurance. Examples are special types of chemotherapy and radiation that do not cure a disease, but help to ease symptoms (this is called “palliative” chemotherapy and radiation). If there is a service that you think you or your family member needs, ask your hospice nurse or doctor about getting it.
Seeking hospice care is not an admission of defeat. When you consider hospice care, you are acknowledging that the patient and family need and deserve a special kind of care and support to help them function as well as possible, despite a very serious illness and a great deal of sadness.
The decision to choose hospice care requires open discussion within the family and with the patient’s doctor. The person who first senses that the patient needs a different kind of care should raise the issue. Don’t wait for the doctor or someone else to bring it up. Raise the idea of hospice when you think it is appropriate so that you or your family member gets the benefits of this specialized care for the maximum period of time possible.
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