Hospice care is a type of medical care provided to individuals who have a terminal illness and have decided to forgo curative treatment in favor of comfort care. It is designed to help patients and their families manage symptoms and provide emotional and spiritual support.
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Why Hospice Care Holds a Special Place in Our Hearts
To help explain why the Hospice Foundation is so special and why we believe that more patients should know about its great services, I want to share a personal story with you…
When my grandmother was dying a few years ago. She had aged in place for nearly 20 years after becoming a widow. As the years passed, we were able to provide her with more and more assistance as needed. First, just relying on family members who accompanied her to doctors’ appointments, helped maintain her condo, and prepared meals on occasion. Then, we started outsourcing support as her needs progressed; hiring a cleaning lady, bath aide, and regular visits from assisted living nurses.
It was only in her last year of life that she decided she was ready to move into a nursing home, but as her health deteriorated further, family members agreed that she would be more comfortable spending her last weeks at home. For our family, and for most families, however, this can be a daunting undertaking. A decision made with love, of course, but one that can weigh heavily on caretakers in terms of time, energy, and the skills needed to take care of a dying person in a safe, healthy, and dignified way.
That is where the Hospice Foundation steps in. It is a specialized care network designed to reduce the burden on nursing home facilities and hospitals by supporting those caring for terminally ill loved ones. Hospice staff and volunteers helped us track medications, manage pain, bathe and care for my grandmother on an as-needed basis, even during the night so that we could get some rest. For us, it was vital assistance that made it possible my grandmother to die peacefully in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by her family.
“When a patient is no longer able or willing to treat their life-limiting illness, their priorities change. What’s important at that point is to find a way to experience the best quality of life. Many find that hospice is the right choice for them, or their loved one. Hospice is designed to meet the specific needs of families during the end-of-life journey.”– Karen Rubel, President and CEO of Nathan Adelson Hospice in Nevada
Though it’s a great service, for so many reasons, it’s also one of the most misunderstood branches of healthcare.
Related article: Demand for Home Care and Hospice Increase as Baby Boomer Age.
What Most Patients Don’t Know about Hospice Care
Hospice Assembles a Team that Families Can’t Manage Alone
A patient who is nearing the end of their life and their family may have a complicated range of physical, emotional, spiritual, and medical requirements. This organization has discovered that a interdisciplinary team of qualified specialists with experience in end-of-life care is the most effective method to handle all of these many demands. Most families wouldn’t be able to put together and manage such a team, therefore Hospice handles it instead. They assemble qualified specialists who collaborate directly with patients to enhance care at every level.
Hospice Is Not a Place; It’s a Philosophy of Care Delivered Almost Anywhere
Some people may not know that hospice care can be provided in various settings, including in patients’ homes, hospital facilities, hospice centers, and nursing homes. The choice of setting depends on the patient’s needs and preferences, the family’s exigencies for support, as well as the availability of services in the area.
When ailing, most individuals, including those who are terminally ill, would rather stay at home if given the option. Because of this, hospice care is primarily provided at home. For hospice patients, this might be their own home, a loved one’s home, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. When in-patient care is required, such as when pain or other symptoms cannot be properly managed at home, the patient may be admitted to a hospice in-patient facility. Then, once the patient is stabilized, hospice provides secure transportation back home.
Once a plan of care is created, the hospice team organizes ongoing in-home nursing visits, assistance with personal care, and groups for emotional, social, and spiritual support. They make sure that home medical equipment and supplies, such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, nebulizer, and more, are provided along with prescriptions for pain relief and comfort.
Hospice Increases the Quality of Time with Your Loved One
In general, hospice professionals work to make healthcare for the terminally ill as convenient and safe as possible. As a result, family members have more energy and opportunities to spend quality time with their loved one. Hospice aims to make patients as physically comfortable as possible in order for them to make the most of the time that remains.
It Provides Guidance through Expected and Unexpected Issues
The end-of-life journey, however, impacts more than just the physical body; it affects all areas of a person’s life, as well as their family. Patients, and those who care for them, face new challenges which can trigger fear, anxiety, or depression. That’s why the psychological, social, and spiritual support coordinated by Hospice is so special. Within the hospice network, patients also have access to professionals who can help with resolve practical hardships too, like financial strain, job-related problems, or legal issues.
Hospice care is less expensive for patients compared to other types of treatment. Why? Hospice care services really cost less to provide for Medicare and other insurers than continuous medical care does. Because of this, a lot of insurance provide complete coverage for hospice treatments.
Hospice care is covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans, and is available to individuals regardless of their ability to pay. In a regular situation, government programs including Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), as well as private health and long-term care insurance, pay around 85% of the expenses associated with end-of-life care.
Hospice costs are paid for in the following manner: Medicare – 85.4%; Medicaid – 5%; managed care or private insurance – 6.9%; other (including charity and out of pocket) – 2.7%.
PatientCalls Provides Cost-Effective Call Answering & Dispatch for Hospice Teams
Find out how our medical answering service hospice teams manage their workload more efficiently and ensure that patients receive prompt and appropriate care.
Learn more about our dispatch and call center services specifically for home healthcare and hospice services.