Hospice is not just for patients with cancer. In the early days of hospice, cancer was the primary diagnosis being treated. The good news is that Medicare now recognizes that hospice care can benefit individuals facing other terminal diagnoses as well. Although cancer remains the most common diagnosis, heart and circulatory diagnoses come in second, with dementia coming in a close third.
Comfort of home
Hospice is not a place, but a philosophy of care that involves the patient’s entire support system. Most patients are cared for in their home, or the place they call home, surrounded by the people and things they love. The care team comes to you — in your home, along with the equipment needed, medications and supplies, all covered under the hospice benefit. If inpatient care is needed, many offer inpatient centers. These centers are designed for short-term management of uncontrolled symptoms that cannot be handled in another setting, and for respite when a caregiver needs a break.
Little to no out of pocket expense
Most hospice patients do not have any out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare Part A covers up to 100% of the cost of hospice care related to a hospice-eligible patient’s illness with no deductible or copayment. Private or employer-provided health coverage can vary. Check with your insurance provider for details about hospice eligibility, coverage, and out-of-pocket expenses. Medicaid provides hospice coverage, but it varies by state.
Hospice care does not end with the passing of the patient.
Bereavement or grief support is an important part of hospice. A hospice care in Maryland facility
offers families a full year of bereavement support after the death of a family member. They also help with funeral arrangements and other issues that arise after death.
To be eligible for hospice, a physician must certify that you might have six months or less to live, should your condition progress as expected. Although hospice is intended as a six-month Medicare or insurance benefit, the length of care may be less or more, depending on the patient’s condition. Patients and families often benefit the most when they receive the support and guidance hospice provides for weeks or months; hospice makes the greatest difference when patients are enrolled early. When families turn their attention to their loved one’s quality of life, they can stop worrying about making it to medical appointments and focus on making memories. The team of hospice professionals helps make the individual more comfortable while also helping loved ones prepare for their loss.
Level of care
There are four general levels of hospice care. Routine Home Care where the patient receives hospice care at the place he/she resides. Continuous Home Care where the patient receives hospice care from a licensed nurse on a continuous basis at home for brief periods only as necessary to maintain the terminally ill patient at home. General Inpatient Care, the patient receives general inpatient care in an inpatient facility for pain control or acute or complex symptom management. And, Inpatient Respite Care, the patient receives care in an approved facility on a short-term basis to provide respite for the caregiver.