Hospice care can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it may be necessary to properly care for sick or aging loved ones. The time surrounding the end of one’s life can be riddled with strong emotions and hard choices for the sick and their loved ones, but hospice care is designed to provide palliative care while helping patients and their families make the most of the time they have left. Take a step toward having more peace of mind for the future and learn now who benefits from this type of care, common features of this service, and how to choose the right hospice provider.
Who Needs Hospice Care?
Hospice care is primarily geared toward individuals suffering severe illnesses or health complications that are estimated to result in a life expectancy of six months or less. A referral from a physician is required and the focus of this service is typically palliative care, which helps provide relief from extreme illness related symptoms. The ultimate goal is to make patients comfortable while optimizing their quality of life for their remaining days.
Historically, the conditions most commonly associated with hospice care have included:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Pulmonary Disease
- Respiratory Disease
No matter the diagnosis, a strategic hospice care plan should help patients and their loved ones deal with the physical, emotional, and even spiritual needs surrounding end of life issues.
Common Features Of Hospice Care
Companies that provide hospice care usually do so in two ways.
In Home Patient Care
As individuals near the end of life, many choose to spend their remaining time in the comfort and peace of their very own home. This may allow patients to be surrounded by their personal belongings and happy memories as well as feel as though they have some control over a situation that they largely have no control over.
In Patient Care
In some unique situations, in home patient care may not be possible. This may be typical of patients that require close around the clock monitoring for management of multiple conditions or extreme pain.
Patients may utilize only one of these types of care or could need both with the progression of time. The specific type of care a patient requires is usually a joint determination made by healthcare providers, caregivers, and the patient themselves when appropriate.
However, most hospice providers do not limit their services to in home or in patient care as they are designed to see patients and their loved ones through this difficult journey with empathy and compassion from start to finish. To that end, some of the other common services provided by hospice care companies can include:
Patient Care Coordination
Even when undergoing hospice care, patients typically still require medical or end of life related appointments such as visits from medical professionals or faith leaders. A hospice provider should be able to help the patient and family coordinate those activities.
Taking care of a loved one that is ill can take a toll. Respite care is a service in which an individual from the healthcare field steps in to care for the hospice patient, thereby providing temporary relief to a caregiver.
The challenges and strong emotions surrounding the passing of a loved one can be difficult to process. A reputable hospice provider will also provide bereavement services to a patient’s loved ones via trained counselors or support groups.
How Hospice Care Works
For the hospice care process to begin, the health provider must have the proper physician referrals in place. From this point forward, the hospice team usually acts as a liaison between the patient’s regular physician and the hospice physician to gain a complete profile of the patient’s health condition and needs.
Depending on the result of this collaboration as well as the patient’s and caregivers’ wishes, the following steps may also be a part of the hospice plan:
Scheduling of Appointments
Any medical or end of life related visits will be scheduled in advance. This may include visits from medical professionals, spiritual leaders, and hospice team members throughout the duration of the patient’s care.
Delivery of Equipment and Supplies
Home based hospice care can require certain pieces of medical equipment such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, and monitors. Supply deliveries could include adult diapers, bed pans, shower chairs, skin care products, gloves, and more.
As an individual’s health condition is continuously evaluated, new medications may be required and delivery to the home can usually be arranged.
Paying For Hospice Care
For most individuals, insurance coverage will determine how hospice care is paid for. Patients primarily use Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance with Medicare being the most common.
However, if a patient or family for some reason does not have any of the above coverage, they should still reach out to a reputable hospice provider to see what other options may be available to them. It is crucial that patients nearing the end of life get the care they both need and deserve.
Although hospice care is for individuals nearing the end of life, a proper provider should put together a care plan that helps patients still live as full a life as possible, all the way up until the end. If you or a loved one are ill and are nearing the end of life, please reach out to Senior Estate Concierge so we can help you find the best provider for your specific needs.