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Hospice Care

Posted by Andrew Byers | Jul 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

What is Hospice Care? 

Hospice care can be very difficult for families to come to terms with, but can be a beneficial care option for those caring for a terminally ill loved one. The purpose of hospice care is to provide comfort and quality of life for a terminally ill person. Hospice care can allow the patient to remain at home and can provide ways to alleviate pain and make the person more comfortable. It is a great option for those who are seriously ill, who have exhausted their treatment possibilities, or who do not wish to continue treatment for a terminal illness.

How is Hospice care obtained?

In order to be placed under hospice care, normally a patient must receive a prognosis from two doctors that the patient has six months or less to live. Since there is no way to be sure how long a patient will live, the patient must continue to qualify every 60 to 90 days.What are the benefits of Hospice care?

A hospice team will work with other healthcare professionals, including the doctors a patient already has, to coordinate and provide treatment and care. Support for families and caregivers is another benefit of hospice care. The team can help train caregivers to provide care to a loved one. Medical equipment and medications related to the illness will be provided for those in hospice care.

The hospice team comes to the patient wherever they may live. Hospice provides different levels of care including home care, but can also extend to in-patient care in a hospital's hospice unit.

Respite care is a benefit of hospice care for the family and caregiver. Caregivers are provided through the hospice program so that caregivers can go on vacation, rest, or take care of other matters. Hospice care addresses not only the physical needs of the patient, but also the spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being of the patient receiving hospice care. Hospice care offers bereavement follow-up and support for families as well.

How is Hospice care paid for?

Terminally ill patients do not normally have to pay for hospice care. Most hospice patients have their care paid for through Medicare and the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Veterans are eligible for hospice benefits provided through the Veteran's Health Administration, and these benefits are also similar to the Medicare Hospice Benefit. Health insurance may cover some hospice benefits. This can vary among insurers, so it is important to check qualifications and coverage. If the patient has no other way to pay for hospice care, it may be provided on a sliding scale or free of charge.

Hospice care is a beneficial option for helping families care for a terminally ill loved one. Hospice patients are usually able to stay in their homes and receive care there to keep them comfortable and manage their pain. However, in some cases, patients may move to nursing homes to receive hospice care or may already be residents of a nursing home when they need to transition to hospice care. This occurs when the person needs a great deal of assistance with the activities of living, which may include custodial nursing home care or the need to be in a protective environment where care is available 24 hours per day. When one is already in a nursing home or needs to move to a nursing home, while Medicare will continue to pay for the hospice care, Medicare does not pay for room and board at the nursing home or custodial nursing home care. As such, the patient will either need to pay the nursing home at their private pay rate, which is $8,300 or more per month in the Oakland County, Michigan area in 2018, or qualify for Medicaid to help pay for their care, if the person does not have sufficient income or assets to pay for their care, or their assets would be seriously depleted in a short period of time.

If you have any questions about something you have read or would like additional information, please feel free to contact us.

About the Author

Andrew Byers

Andrew Byers' elder law practice focuses on the legal needs of older clients and their families, and works with a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the goals and objectives of the older client. Under this holistic approach, I handle estate and longevity planning issues and counsel cli...

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